The Wounding of Marriage
By Eric Colvin
Once upon a time, there was a being with both male and female natures who offended the gods. As punishment, the being was divided into male and female halves, and ever since, man and woman must find their missing half and when they do, they are re-bound in marriage. This is a story of the Ancient Greeks that was passed down by Plato. In the first book of the Bible, Genesis, God said “It is not good for a man to be alone,” and he created woman as man’s companion. Both of these examples show that marriage is one of the oldest institutions of human society, and yet it is turning into one of the biggest debates in America in a long time.
The debate over legalizing homosexual marriage is not easy to cover in one brief article, and yet I will try to do it justice here. I write this article to begin to explain the conservative opinion on the issue, and I do not intend to insult or offend anyone, yet I’m sure that I will. Please take no offense at my statements, I am not attacking any one person, and I realize that I run the risk of being labeled politically incorrect, narrow minded, or a bigot. It is a risk I am willing to take.
I believe that marriage is a sacred institution between a man and a woman. Simple as that. My personal beliefs stem from my faith in the Bible as God’s Holy word, but that is not the only source of opposition to homosexual marriage. Marriage as a social institution is something that predates our laws and our Constitution, and this issue is not something that will be solved by a constitutional amendment. When Alexis de Tocqueville visited the United States in the mid 1800s he said “There is certainly no country in the world where the tie of marriage is more respected than in America, or where conjugal happiness is more highly or worthily appreciated.” Now the picture of marriage in the United States is in jeopardy of falling apart forever.
The first court case dealing with homosexual marriage was Baker v. Nelson in 1971 in the state of Minnesota. The court ruled against homosexual marriage, saying “The institution of marriage as a union of a man and woman, uniquely involving the procreation and rearing of children within a family, is as old as the book of Genesis.” Today the courts sound different in the language that they use and some of the decisions that they reach.
Advocates of homosexual marriage frequently use the argument that the state of heterosexual marriage today is not good, and I agree that marriage does have its flaws. Co-habitation, an increasingly high divorce rate, adultery, and children born out of wedlock are all some of the things hurting traditional marriage today, and it is very sad that these are all problems. But I have never heard of a church supporting these things, and so the church will not support gay marriage. For the government to openly condone gay marriage would just be adding another wound to traditional marriage. Marriage is something ordained by God and should remain sacred. In Genesis, God said “a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” If the government were to allow gay marriage, marriage would cease to exist as this sacred union; without basing your vows on a higher authority, what good are those vows?
There has been a lot of research already on this subject. Dr. Allan C. Carlson, Ph.D., a scholar on marriage, speaks about how traditional marriage is good for society, adults, and children. Using the books Why Marriage Matters by Glenn Stanton, The Case for Marriage by Linda J. Waite and Maggie Gallagher, and The Family Portrait by Bridget Maher, he was able to outline some conclusions about the benefits of traditional marriage. Adults overall in a traditional marriage are healthier, happier, safer, wealthier, and longer lived. Children are healthier in mind, body, and spirit, more successful in school and life, and less likely to use drugs or become an alcoholic or criminal. Traditional marriage reduces public welfare costs, raises government revenues, and produces a more engaged citizenry. I would encourage anyone interested to read those books, seeing as how they are written by people probably much smarter and better educated than I, and much better writers.
It is helpful in discussing this issue to look at the Scandinavian countries, specifically Sweden and Norway, where gay marriage is legal. Now in those countries the majority of children are born out of wedlock. Stanley Kurtz of the Hoover Institute did a study and found that “Same-sex marriage has locked in and reinforced an existing Scandinavian trend toward the separation of marriage and parenthood.” Basically, homosexual marriage has contributed to the decline of traditional marriage. Peter Sprigg, the Director for the Center for Marriage and Family Studies, quotes studies that show that homosexual relationships, even “committed” ones, are not nearly as faithful as heterosexual ones.
Often advocates of homosexual marriage compare their inability to be married to the oppression of African-Americans, and specifically to past laws against interracial marriage, but that is just not true. Laws against interracial marriage were just plain racist laws, and allowing interracial marriage does not change the fundamental makeup of marriage, which requires a man and a woman.
One of the most important issues with this debate is that of raising children. Allowing homosexual marriage would make it more permissible for homosexuals to adopt children. Research has shown that children need both a father and a mother. In an article called “Keep it all in the Family,” scholars Paul Nathanson and Katherine Young list five functions of marriage. These are to foster the bonding between men and women, foster the birth and rearing of children, foster the bonding between men and children, foster some form of healthy masculine identity, and foster the transformation of adolescents into sexually responsible adults. What is also interesting about this article is that Paul Nathanson is a homosexual, and yet he says “Legalizing same sex marriage is a bad idea.”
I realize in this article that I jump around a lot, but my intent was just to highlight some key points. To conclude, every person has the right to be married, but there are some logical limitations. You cannot marry a child, a blood relative, someone already married, and someone of the same sex. These restrictions apply equally to everyone; there is not any discrimination here. Marriage is struggling to survive in America, and it has changed a lot over the past century, and I will admit that I am scared about the direction it is headed in our country. It is not too late to save marriage. Let Salisbury University be the place where the revival of logic and common sense begins.