A Letter to a Christian,
I have recently had some conversations with several Christian friends about the notion of same-sex marriage and I thought I would examine this in further detail. I have heard them say that it is not a matter of discrimination, because people who are gay or lesbian have an equal right to marry somebody of the opposite sex, and therefore its equal. They have stated that they are in favor of same-sex couples receiving economic benefits and other benefits that are awarded to married couples, but don’t think it should be called marriage. And finally, they believe it has long-term ramifications on society and will have adverse effects on society over time- it will erode us, morally speaking. I will touch each one of these concerns:
Marriage is equal because everybody can marry somebody of the opposite sex:
When examining something from a perspective of equality we don’t always look at the action itself, but we sometimes look at the end result- to see if it produced equality. For example, it could be argued that if we removed everything that was designed for ADA compliance then everything would be equal. Everybody would have an equal means of mobility. This would be true, but the end result would not be equal as not every person would be were they wanted to be. So to ensure equality in the end result, they make adjustments for peoples with disabilities. In the situation of marriage, the desired result is to be in a committed and loving relationship with a partner of whom you have chosen to share a life with and perhaps raise a family with. So we need to, as a society, allow and enable all people to equally have this opportunity in whatever means feels natural to their agency, in hopes it produces an equal end result.
Allow marriage benefits, but don’t call it marriage:
This notion is rather silly and I am not sure how anybody could truly feel this represents equality. However, there was this period in American history after a court decision that ordered that equal education was provided for African Americans, but because white people did not want intermingling of the races, they created colored schools. These schools had to be equal but separate from the white schools. This was commonplace in America until the Supreme Court decided that equal but separate was a violation of the 14th amendment. Giving same-sex couples all the legal benefits of marriage but not calling it marriage, perhaps calling it something else- like a same-sex partnership. This is creating conditions that are equal but separate. This does not create equality. This is inherently unconstitutional and unequal.
It will erode the morality of society:
Marriage, in of itself, has no moral consideration and it is merely a state of affairs. It is amoral, similar to other rites of passage like turning 18. So determining if a marriage is morally permissible, we need to look at the motivation behind a persons desire to marry. There is no evidence to suggest that same-sex marriages are immorally motivated, categorically speaking. There are people who marry for money, green card and other immoral reasons, but there is no reason or evidence to support the claim that same-sex couples marry for unethical motives. There were people who thought giving African Americans freedom would erode society, there were also people who thought that allowing women to vote would erode society. Morality and ideology are not written down in some high plane, they are the collective ideas of all the people. If We The People decide that same-sex marriage is morally acceptable, then it is. Just like that. There is not some dude who runs up a hill and checks some ancient tablet to see if something is permissible. Morality is dynamic and it is the will of the people. So its only immoral, if you choose for it to be. But that doesn’t make you right. The only erosion of society occurring here is bigotry masked in religious principle with utter disregard for the true tenants of Christianity. As Nietzsche says, there has only been one Christian in history and his name was Jesus Christ; anybody who claims to be one, is only a perverse abomination of what Christianity is supposed to be about (Nietzsche, 2010). Jesus represented love and compassion for all people, equally.
- Nietzsche, F. W., & Mencken, H. L. (2010). The Antichrist. Waiheke Island: Floating Press.