Throckmorton opposes gay marriage, and I presume you do as well; I’m still struggling with the question. You also indicate that you feel the government should get out of the marriage business. The latter is not a realistic expectation. Somebody has to keep score, on a consistent and unbiased basis, so that the legal aspects of such unions, whether perpetuated or ultimately dissolved, are universally applied and protected. However, beyond that, the government has no legitimate role in the marriage game. The church should be the arbiter, and should set the rules by which those who would marry must play.
Now, I know many insist that to allow gays to marry would threaten the traditional concept of marriage, i.e., a union between a man and a woman. The argument usually goes on to suggest that gay marriages would ultimately destroy the American family. Hogwash! Why should it be so that two gays forming the nucleus of a family should be all that threatening to others? The evidence which is developing with more and more homosexual marriages and civil unions reveals just the opposite. Such families are positive, contributing members of the communities within which they are domiciled, and their children are as well adjusted and happy as those of more traditional families.
Bob, a few thoughts. One, as to government getting out of the marriage business, you could very possibly be correct about “someone needing to keep score”. I’m not convinced you’re right—heck, I’m not convinced that my idea is even all that sound; it’s more of a “feeler”, truthfully—but I’ll point up only two things, and then move on. First, government getting into the issuing of marriage licenses is, interestingly enough, of relatively recent vintage in this country. For most of our history, the government did not issue such licenses! There were other ways of “keeping score”. Second, there are millions of people today who live together in unsanctioned arrangements. I’d argue, at this point at least, that to do such constitutes something less than God’s will, on this basis: the societally-accepted standard for marriage involves getting a legally-issued marriage license, and absent a compelling reason to act in defiance of the government (and there might well be some; see below), a person entering a non-sanctioned arrangement flouts the appropriate governmental authority in his life. To be sure, the Christian answers first, not to any human government, but to God; when/if the choice comes down to obeying God or obeying man, the Christian has to obey God, and I am compelled to encourage such and to practice it myself. But the point is that there are millions of quasi-marriages that aren’t on any governmental rosters.
Two, on to “gay marriage”, which I put in quotes because I believe that such cannot exist, at least in the eyes of God—which I’ll get to in due course. I am one of the folks who believes as you describe (with the word “hogwash”!), but my rationale needs some explanation, which I’ll offer now. The issue with regard to “gay marriage” is not one of “equal rights”; I say that not because you raise the issue (you didn’t), but to contrast it with the real question, which is this: what is the very definition of “marriage”? This is what the whole ball of wax is about. My argument, then, is simple: if the very definition of marriage itself is altered, then my marriage is thereby cheapened. That may strike you as preposterous, but allow me to explain.
When I married my wife some 28 years ago—and signed a marriage license—I wasn’t interested in acquiring some new “right”; never even crossed my mind (well, except for certain marital prerogatives that the Bible doesn’t extend to the unmarried, if you catch my drift). I never gave one thought to getting some state benefits; I’d have looked at you as if you had a third eye if you’d said, “you’re signing that marriage license so that you can get benefits from the state” (which by the way, is the first/foremost argument advanced by “gay marriage” advocates: “equal” rights—that fact alone ought to make the proposition suspect, but I digress). I did it because that’s what married people did; as I suggested earlier, with no thought being given to redefining marriage, it was just what folks did, same as when you were married. “Gay marriage”, though, changes the entire equation, the entire understanding of marriage. It is said by its advocates, “isn’t marriage about two people who love each other”, to which the answer is, of course, “no!” There are all sorts of people whom I love, whom I neither can, nor would want to, marry. Marriage is about one man and one woman, unrelated by blood and unmarried to another person (and maybe another qualifier or two) committing themselves to each other for life. Disclaimer: yes, some of us heterosexuals have sorely messed it up—but that’s a sorry argument for changing its very definition. This arrangement has not only the blessing of any/every major faith group in the world, but with rare exception, is the historical premise upon which marriage is founded. I didn’t sign up for anything other, or for anything less.
And then along come folks who want to redefine marriage itself, in an historically-unprecedented way. Incidentally, there is more historical support for polygamy, far more, than for “gay marriage”. In fact, there is no logical barrier, once we’ve removed the one-man/one-woman definition of marriage, for denying polygamists, or “group marriage” advocates, the same “right” to redefine marriage as they see fit. That seems so self-evident to me that it’s hardly worth arguing; how you gonna turn away a polygamist? And so what we have will be the continued erosion of the very definition of marriage to an increasing state of meaninglessness, the redefining of marriage to include “gay marriage” being only the first step down this slippery slope. That is why I believe that “gay marriage” poses a threat to my marriage, and to yours as well. “So you’re married? Fine. To whom? Man? Woman? Men? Women? All of the above? Any animals involved? How ’bout a geranium?” OK, last couple are deliberate silliness, but you get my point.
I don’t know what evidence you’re referring to in your final statement; I won’t attempt to refute it. I would argue that there are certain inevitably bad consequences to such. For instance, will my children be subjected to intense ridicule should they attempt to “hold the line” against this aberration? Will they face civil, even potentially criminal, repercussions for holding to the established viewpoint of Scripture? We would agree that racists deserve the scorn of society, as racism is an egregious evil. Is it difficult to see those who hold to the traditional view of marriage becoming the objects of similar scorn? Now granted, that alone isn’t sufficient reason to disapprove of “gay marriage”, but to suggest the likelihood of such happening, as I do, is to begin to make the case that not all will be well in Mudville if we just acquiesce and give our approval to the normalization of the formation of homosexual-led families, etc.