Saturday, May 19, 2012

One More Item

I recently received this from someone I know. The question was put to him on a popular political satire show (which I won’t name) last week over North Carolina’s vote to clearly define marriage in its original form. Given the talk show host and his loud, self-professed hatred for religion in general and Christianity in particular, the intent was to ridicule the viewpoint. The result of my friend's appearance has been a deluge of hate mail ... and, apparently, not one single attempt to dismantle his argument. Since he said so clearly what I believe and answered (again) the question, "Why does it matter?", I asked him if I could use it. Here is the content:
Question: Dr. Smith*, based on your expertise in ethics and public policy, what is the harm in letting homosexuals get married? Isn’t this just a matter of equality?

Answer: Homosexuals can already marry the same as everyone else, and what the other side wants is to radically redefine marriage in a way that is different from what others have.

The other side is trying to frame this as a matter of equality, and if it truly is about equal treatment before the law, then they will and should win. But this amendment does not deny equality and rather concerns treating gays the same as everyone else by not redefining marriage in a way that is different from what others have now.

Equality is not relevant to this amendment unless marriage has already been radically redefined as merely a way to affirm private feelings. This amendment favors and upholds real equality by not changing what marriage means in a way that would make all existing marriage laws terribly unfair.

If marriage is radically redefined as being just a way of affirming private feelings of loving attraction, then equality will require allowing people who love dogs to marry dogs, and people who love ice-cream to marry ice-cream. It will require more than just allowing same-sex couples to marry merely because they have equally strong feelings of loving attraction.

Marriage is a procreationally structured social institution, and the public interest in having laws upholding marriage has nothing to do with affirming private feelings and everything to do with maintaining the one social institution on which social stability and intergenerational social survival most depend.

Unless or until marriage is radically redefined, gay relationships are not in the same relational category as the sort of relationships with which marriage laws are concerned. They are not relationally the same as marriage relationships. And that is why this amendment has nothing to do with equality.

The harm in legalizing same-sex marriage is that doing so will radically change marriage in a way that denies all fixed structure. It will deinstitutionalize marriage as a social institution. And that will harm everyone by threatening social stability and intergenerational social survival.
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* "Dr. Smith" is an alias; the person is real. I gave him an alias because he already has enough venom being sent his way and I don't want to add to it. "Dr. Smith" is, in fact, an author and Senior Professor of Christian Ethics at a prestigious seminary and a Research Institute Fellow for the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission from a leading Christian denomination.

3 comments:

Marshall Art said...

SSM proponents willfully deny the ramifications of their demands. The support of traditional marriage is an argument that doesn't depend upon arguments against homosexual behaviors. One can argue for the defense of marriage as it has been known for generations by simply attesting to the point of why it received the support of the state in the first place. Most of the arguments still maintain their validity.

Stan said...

What is deeply disturbing is the hatred with which they disagree with those who disagree with them. There is no apparent attempt at answering the arguments and concerns. It is simply a hate response. Ultimately, you can't defend against someone who is willing to give his life to kill people. Ultimately, you cannot argue against people who are unwilling to address the arguments. That's where it usually ends.

Marshall Art said...

"Ultimately, you cannot argue against people who are unwilling to address the arguments."

Well, that's it in a nutshell, isn't it? It's the most common problem. Easier to demonize than to address the arguments. Easier to play victim than to fill the holes of their arguments.