“I’m gay, and I oppose same-sex marriage.” Can there be sensible alternatives in the gay-rights discussion?

8 Mar

From Doug Mainwaring (clip):

I wholeheartedly support civil unions for gay and lesbian couples, but I am opposed to same-sex marriage. Because activists have made marriage, rather than civil unions, their goal, I am viewed by many as a self-loathing, traitorous gay. So be it. I prefer to think of myself as a reasoning, intellectually honest human being.

The notion of same-sex marriage is implausible, yet political correctness has made stating the obvious a risky business. Genderless marriage is not marriage at all. It is something else entirely.

Opposition to same-sex marriage is characterized in the media, at best, as clinging to “old-fashioned” religious beliefs and traditions, and at worst, as homophobia and hatred.

I’ve always been careful to avoid using religion or appeals to tradition as I’ve approached this topic. And with good reason: Neither religion nor tradition has played a significant role in forming my stance. But reason and experience certainly have.


One day as I turned to climb the stairs I saw my sixteen-year-old son walk past his mom as she sat reading in the living room. As he did, he paused and stooped down to kiss her and give her a hug, and then continued on. With two dads in the house, this little moment of warmth and tenderness would never have occurred. My varsity-track-and-football-playing son and I can give each other a bear hug or a pat on the back, but the kiss thing is never going to happen. To be fully formed, children need to be free to generously receive from and express affection to parents of both genders. Genderless marriages deny this fullness.

There are perhaps a hundred different things, small and large, that are negotiated between parents and kids every week. Moms and dads interact differently with their children. To give kids two moms or two dads is to withhold from them someone whom they desperately need and deserve in order to be whole and happy. It is to permanently etch “deprivation” on their hearts.


We are in the middle of a fierce battle that is no longer about rights. It is about a single word, “marriage.”

 Two men or two women together is, in truth, nothing like a man and a woman creating a life and a family together. Same-sex relationships are certainly very legitimate, rewarding pursuits, leading to happiness for many, but they are wholly different in experience and nature.
Gay and lesbian activists, and more importantly, the progressives urging them on, seek to redefine marriage in order to achieve an ideological agenda that ultimately seeks to undefine families as nothing more than one of an array of equally desirable “social units,” and thus open the door to the increase of government’s role in our lives.
And while same-sex marriage proponents suggest that the government should perhaps just stay out of their private lives, the fact is, now that children are being engineered for gay and lesbian couples, a process that involves multiple other adults who have potential legal custody claims on these children, the potential for government’s involvement in these same-sex marriage households is staggering.
Solomon only had to split the baby in two. In the future, judges may have to decide how to split children into three, four, or five equal pieces. In Florida, a judge recently ordered that the birth certificate of a child must show a total of three parents–a lesbian couple and a gay man (the sperm-providing hairdresser of one of the lesbian moms). Expect much more of this to come.
Statists see great value in slowly chipping away at the bedrock of American culture: faith and family life. The more that traditional families are weakened in our daily experience by our laws, the more that government is able to freely insert itself into our lives in an authoritarian way. And it will.
Mark Regnerus, a sociologist at the University of Texas at Austin, recently said, “I think you can have social stability without many intact families, but it’s going to be really expensive and it’s going to look very ‘Huxley-Brave New World-ish.’ So [the intact family is] not only the optimal scenario … but it’s the cheapest. How often in life do you get the best and the cheapest in the same package?”
Marriage is not an elastic term. It is immutable. It offers the very best for children and society. We should not adulterate nor mutilate its definition, thereby denying its riches to current and future generations.
Note: I don’t necessarily agree with all that was said here, but just wanted to show that (as we have actually seen rather well in France), the promotion and protection of gay-rights need not require all laws to become utterly gender-blind, nor must they be totally neutral to or indifferent between family structures or sexual arrangements, especially when the interests of children are at stake.

5 Responses to ““I’m gay, and I oppose same-sex marriage.” Can there be sensible alternatives in the gay-rights discussion?”

  1. Marija March 15, 2013 at 7:42 am #

    How are we to reconcile that some/many? religious people are okay with civil unions but want “marriage” to be for a man and a woman with the fact that SSM proponents see civil unions as equivalent to “separate but equal” for blacks?


    • thereformedmind March 16, 2013 at 1:05 pm #

      It’s not really too hard to reconcile, for the following reasons:

      1. Gender is not the same as race. A society that (aims to) structure laws without reference to race makes sense, can be clearly justified, but doing so without reference to gender is ludicrous and unhealthy. Men and women are different, and no where is that distinction more well attested and well protected than with respect to the family, the most important social institution in society.

      2. One can quite sensibly support legal benefits for the “significant other” as an individual private good without insisting that society harm itself by becoming gender blind in our marriage and family laws, laws that are concerned with the common good. One set of laws (civil unions) speak to individual private allowances and the other (marriage) speaks to community public goods. No legal preference for the traditional family in our laws would be suicidal, and has shown itself to be wherever its tried.


    • thereformedmind March 16, 2013 at 1:17 pm #

      There are several on both sides who recognize this subtle but profound difference, but their faces/voices rarely get much attention (not polarizing enough for the media). The French debate on this issue is a good example of how one can debate SSM without lumping every family-law issue into one.


    • thereformedmind March 16, 2013 at 1:20 pm #

      SSM supporters will not persuade me simply be pointing out that a law discriminates. Our family law does that all the time. For instance, in adoption law, the law prefers/discriminates between different family arranegments and sexual unions (married couples over cohabitors, undivorced over divorced). Does that mean that we are treating the undivorced or cohabitors as second-class citizens?


  2. JT March 28, 2013 at 8:39 pm #

    For quite some time, I’ve been a bit perplexed by the idea that the only (or perhaps primary) difference that exists between people is their gender. The idea that tenderness that they type of tenderness witnessed between the son and mother in the example above is shared between many fathers and sons. I would suggest that the difference is primarily the socialization within the individual family unit.

    The differences between any two people are significant without regard to gender. You refer to genderless marriage, but I don’t think you can have a genderless marriage as long as there are people involved. You just don’t have a two-gender marriage.

    I fear that you use the activist brush stroke a bit broadly. And while there may be individuals that are hell-bent on socially engineering all the straight people right out of their sacred unions, that is certainly not the concern of the majority of those supporting same-sex unions. (And frankly, I don’t even understand why the accusation of the rabid activist exists.)

    Just some random thoughts. I’ll be interested in your reply


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