Sunday, October 5, 2008

This is My Opinion

Before reading this comment please understand that I have great respect for ALL, and if I seem blunt it is only because I wish to address the heart of the issue directly. Please understand that I'm not trying to hurt anyone. I just see a need to bring this issue back down to simple logic.

For me the simple end-all to the marriage argument is this: The egg is fertilized by the sperm.

The issue of government recognition of same-sex "marriages" is not one of civil rights, but rather one of legislative perspective.

First of all, let's clarify something: Marriage is different from Mating. Marriage is a religious institution. Mating is a natural phenomenon. Marriage was based on religious tenets at its inception. Mating is part of human nature, and is presumably instinctual. The right to mate is certainly inalienable. The issue is not whether individuals have the right to mate, it is whether government should continue to protect and support traditional marriage.

We must not lose sight of the fact that any legislation to benefit and protect marriage is legislation to benefit and protect government by investing in the promotion and protection of a beneficial religious institution. All governments have built in checks and balances, and the promotion of marriage is one of them.

The Government's Perspective:
Because the sperm fertilizes the egg, children cannot possibly be naturally created by a same sex couple. No amount of intimacy between two men or two women could possibly cause an egg to be fertilized. This is not an affront, but simple logic.

The ultimate goal of marriage, as it has been understood unilaterally for thousands of years, is to create children and provide a secure upbringing for them. The security of the married individuals has always been secondary to procreation.

The creation of children is paramount to the security and progress of government. Government, therefore, recognized marriage and provided incentives to promote marriage and the natural procreation of taxpayers.

From a legislative perspective, it is assumed that no government regulations need be applied for the creation of children in a marriage. Any benefits allowed to married couples are predicated on the assumption that marriages will most likely produce new (potentially voting and taxpaying) citizens for the government free of charge, and provide safe, stable homes for them to learn and grow in. It is assumed that children born into a marriage will likely become healthy, stable, rationally-minded individuals capable of giving back to their communities, at little or no cost to the government. Thus it is in the government's best interest to promote and invest in the religious institution of marriage. (This issue could also lead to a discussion on the roles and responsibilities of government relative to the individual. More on that in another forum.)

While same sex unions may provide emotional and financial security for the individuals involved, (and I do not in any way discount the importance of these,) they do not provide any degree of security for government. No new taxpayers are naturally produced by same sex unions.

Any arguments for or against same-sex "marriages" have arisen solely out of confusion on the innate purpose of Marriage.


I see no need for government to recognize same sex unions as "marriages". Government does protect the civil rights of citizens. Citizens have the right to live with and interact with whomever they wish. There is no federal law intended to qualify a homosexual individual as any different from any other individual. Marriage is a religious institution sponsored and adopted by government. Mating is a natural phenomenon that provides emotional, and often financial security for individuals. We must not confuse the two!

Religion's Perspective:

I am not familiar enough with the basic doctrines of any faith other than Christianity, and cannot therefore speak for other religions.

On the religious significance of Marriage, these tenets are, with few exceptions, generally upheld by Christian organizations:
-That God has ordained it
-That it is sacred
-That it protects the family - the basic unit of society
-That it is a covenant relationship under which man and woman are to procreate
-That it is to provide a secure upbringing for children born into that marriage
-That it is to provide for security and fidelity between a man and a woman
-That it requires the sacrifice of individual desires for the common good of the family

Homosexual individuals must understand that these principles are as dear to most christians as gender identity and sexual orientation are to homosexuals. Marriage constitutes one of the core doctrines of Christianity. To alter these tenets is to alter a sacred institution.

They must also understand that most Christian churches believe that homosexual conduct is morally wrong and offensive to God. By Christian doctrine Homosexual individuals are not inherently offensive or dangerous in any way. Christians already feel that their morals are compromised because homosexual conduct is perfectly legal. Christians do, however, recognize that this is a basic human right - the right to act in accordance with one's own conscience. Marriage as a sacred institution, however, is not necessarily a basic human right.

In the mind of most Christians, we have already come to a great compromise - Any individual can do as he pleases, as long as the action does not limit or violate another individual's human rights. Government already protects the right of homosexuals to do whatever they want together. It also protects the right of religions to define their own doctrines. Government recognition of same-sex unions as "marriages" would represent a great over-stepping of boundaries. Any government regulation or definition of religious institutions represents a compromise of religious freedom.

Religion must retain the right to define marriage. This is not an issue of hate or tyranny, or of civil rights or government involvement. It is an issue of respect for what is sacred to others. Let religions keep their sacred rites to themselves.


Spencer Clarke Ohlendorf said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Spencer Clarke Ohlendorf said...

Hey Ben, great post. I especially like the distinction between mating and marriage. Can't say that I would have thought of that approach, but valid none the less!
Lookin' forward to more commentary and posting.

JRid said...

Logical and well-supported. Thank you for your input. I like how you mentioned that basically the government redefining marriage is telling churches to redefine their doctrine, even though the doctrine of marriage predates any government.

kangajuice said...

I appreciate your efforts to use logic in your arguments. However, your logic is flawed.

You state at very outset that the "simple end-all to the marriage argument is this: the egg is fertilized by the sperm" This logic is not sound for the following reasons: If there is a necessary link between marriage and procreation, strange consequences would follow. A state could and, to be consistent, should prohibit marriage in which one or both partners are sterile or impotent. If procreation is the essential goal of marriage, why should postmenopausal women be allowed to marry? Surely, discrimination against sterile, impotent, or aged couples would be unacceptable to citizens of many different perspectives. Furthermore, what about couples who simply choose not have childeren despite being perfectly capable? These examples show that the crux of your argument, that marriage is defined the way it is because "the sperm fertilizes the egg" is gross oversimplification of a complex institution that serves many purposes that are as important as, if not more important than, procreation. These include interpersonal commitment, religious or moral expression, sexual satisfaction, and the legal entitlements associated with spousehood. You argue that these things are "secondary to procreation," in a marriage. If elderly, sterile, or impotent couples cannot be denied the right to marry because of a traditional link between marriage and procreation, neither can lesbian or gay couples be denied the right for that type of reason.

I challenge you to leave this post up if not only to inspire more reasoned debate, then beacuse you say you will only delete comments that appear to be intentionally offensive. I do not think I was ever offensive, however if I did offend anyone, it was certainly not intentionally.

The Mathews said...

Of course I'll post your comment. I welcome reasoned and intelligent conversation on the matter, and I respect and admire your candor and your grasp of logic. I don't find your commentary offensive in the least, but informed, intuitive and respectful.

To begin, I remind readers that I have no problem with legal unions between any parties, so long as their union is for the betterment of society. I have no doubt that this is the primary goal of most couples, regardless of their gender, creed, orientation, etc.

I should point out that government recognition of marriage, as human society has practiced for centuries, is not a recognition that all marriages should necessarily produce children. It recognizes a greater potential return on an investment. If one man plus one woman may result in multiple new citizens without a great deal of effort or investment on the part of government, it follows that a self-serving government should promote such unions.

I agree that oversimplification of a complex issue is almost never a good idea. In this case, however, I've found that far too many people are wrapped up in the complexities of the issue, where the greatest effect of its outcome will be felt by those who experience it in its simplest terms: The children.

I firmly believe that children have the right to be born into families, and raised by a mother and a father who are commited to giving each child the perspective it needs to live a just and productive life. That person then has an obligation to protect that right, and to provide it for others. This was the point of marriage to begin with - to provide a safe place where society can refresh itself with each generation. Does it work perfectly? Of course not. Almost nothing ever does. It has, however, proven over centuries to provide the greatest possible chance (and I can't emphasize enough - CHANCE) that individuals with the power to think and act for themselves in a just and rational manner will emerge. The idea that the egg fertilizes the sperm is simply nature's way of saying, "This is the pattern - This is the way Planet Earth has sustained itself for millions of years."

Children who are raised to believe they must constantly protect themselves and their own rights will create a world concerned with the preservation of individual rights. Children who live in a world where their greatest concern is the good of humankind will create a world concerned with the protection of the greater mankind - the good of the species rather than the good of the individual.

Of course marriage also serves to protect the rights of the couple. I maintain that these social needs, however vital to the sanity of humankind, are still secondary to the greatest and basest of all social needs - that of procreation.

Government support of marriage is simply government support of the most cost-efficient form of procreation. More taxpayers=more taxes=more power to protect taxpayers.

"Seek and ye shall find" means you get what you're looking for. If you're looking for logical flaws you'll find them. If you're looking out for yourself, you'll find only yourself. If you're looking for understanding you'll find it. If you're looking for answers you'll find them. If you're looking for the good of the whole, you'll find it.

kangajuice said...

Thank you for permitting my first comment and for your quick, considerate response. I look forward to any future response you may give.

In your response to me as well is your oringal post you argue that government has a interest in protecting traditinal marriage. To summarize you say that government should protect traditional marriage because "more taxpers=more taxes". I appreciate your effort to disconnect the government's reasons from religion's reasons for not permitting same sex marriage, however, the logic is again flawed for this reason: Whether or not homosexuals can marry in no way affects the number of heterosexual couples (and there for children) in the world. Unless you assume homosexuals will, since they are given no other option, simply switch to being heterosexuals and therefore be able to procreate. I'm sure will agree that this scenario is not possible.

You later go on to state that "The idea that the egg fertilizes the sperm is simply nature's way of saying, 'This is the pattern - This is the way Planet Earth has sustained itself for millions of years.'" This argument seems to neglect the fact that homosexuality has been around just as long as humanity. And that despite this the 3%-5% of the population that is gay has not posed any threat to humanity at all. Indeed, when you think about it this way, homosexuality predates by several million years any government or religion.

The Mathews said...

Once again, I very much appreciate your respectful manner, and I hope you always feel the same about mine.

After reading my post and our comments again carefully I think I see one point where our two minds are not connecting: My original intent in posting this blog. My post has two basic divisions: The first is an attempt to explain in simple terms why the federal government has endorsed marriage, and the second, an attempt to explain Christianity's perspective on the matter. Neither of these sections is intended to convince the reader of what any government's role should be with regards to marriage. My intent is to add what understanding I can of how things are, so that readers can go and properly reason and discuss what should be.

That said, I agree that the number of homosexual couples does not likely have any affect on the number of children born. That doesn't change the fact, however, that government's interest in marriage has been primarily for its own support and not for the support of any right to marriage. Whether marriage should or should not be legislated as a civil right is another issue entirely, and not one I intended to discuss in this forum.

Additionally, I don't believe that nature's pattern of sexual reproduction has any logical connection to either the history or the demographics of homosexuality. Indeed these two elements are vital to the understanding of homosexuality, as well as to any argument for or against it. It is of course true that homosexuality and even asexuality exists in many species. This fact, however, explains something that is, in the same way that my original post attempts to explain what is. What should be is, again, for another discussion.

If I attempted to argue that homosexual unions are a bad idea simply because "the sperm fertilizes the egg" (and by the way I just realized that I reversed the sperm and egg in my previous comment... oops! Eggs fertilizing sperm? What? Haha...) , my logic would indeed be fatally flawed and I wouldn't have a leg to stand on. Whether homosexual unions should be is not worth arguing, because homosexual unions are, and as you've rightly put, are not necessarily harmful to society. Whether one homosexual couple is together does not affect whether another heterosexual couple is together. It is a beautiful thing that one human being may find love and companionship in another human being, and that those two human beings may support and care for one another. These relationships of support, love, and trust are, again, absolutely vital.

I hope this helps to dispel any confusion on what I originally intended to point out; That 1) government endorses marriage as a social institution because of its innate reproductive capacity, 2) that Christianity supports marriage as a vital religious tenet which we believe to be introduced directly by God, and 3) that, given these two facts, any government attempt to redefine marriage represents a breach in government's role as a protector of the religious freedom of the people.

kangajuice said...

I will focus on your last paragraph:

I have no issue with number 1 except that I think it could be amended to include the other, non reproductive reasons for marriage I describe in my first post. I also have no issue with number 2. With number 3 I do have to disagree and here is my reason why:

Government is not trying to redefine marriage for Christians or any other religion as you say. Government is only trying to redefine marriage for itself.

There are countless laws that benefit people who meet the government's current definition of marriage. For example, the rights of spouses to inherit belongings after a death, the various tax rights associated with married status such as being able to file jointly or give tax free gifts, the right to not have to testify against your spouse, the right for hospital visitations, etc.

For all of these rights, the government needs a definition of what it is to be married, so it knows who can claim the rights.

If it uses an Abrahamic definition of marriage, wouldn't the govenment be excluding the other multitudes of religions which it is obligated to treat equally?

What about religions that have no marital institution at all, such as Buddhism? Surely for government to define marrige for them as a religious institution using the Abrahamic model would be, as you say, "a breach in government's role as a protector of the religious freedom of the people." It would be imposing a definition upon them.

My point is this: How one religion defines marriage has no bearing whatsoever on another religion's definition. But the government is obligated to recognize them ALL. How does the government's current recognition of athiest or atheisms definition of marriage affect the Christian definition of marriage or Christian marriages? It clearly does not. So how in the world would the homosexual definition of marriage affect the Christian definition of marriage or Christian marraiges at all?

All of this proves that by recognizing same sex marriage government is NOT trying to redefine marriage for any religion. Every religion is still allowed to define marraige however it wants. If gay marriage is eventually a governmentally recognized definition of marraige, neither the Catholics, Jews, Islamists, Athiests, Protestants, nor you or I need to recognize it. Nor should we have to.

The gay rights movement is simply trying to expand government's definition of marriage to include them so that they may benefit from all the things government offers its married couples.

Imagine if this country had an athesitic majority, and the government did not recognize Christian marriages and so did not grant them the right certain benefits. You may feel that this situaltion is grosely unfair. You may think, "I pay my taxes. My definition of marriage does not affect their definition at all, so why shold they take offense? They can define marriage how they like and I'll define marriage how I like, and we can both live together happily despite that difference." This is the same type of injustice the gay community feels right now.

I set out with the intention of showing how the way government currently restricts marriage to an Abrahamic model is fundamentally unfair to all the other beliefs the government is obligated to protect equally. And that setting out to broaden its definition of marriage does not in any way change the definition of marriage to any religious group. All it does is change the definition of marriage for government itself. In doing so it would not be "a breach in government's role as a protector of the religious freedom of the people" Rather, it would fix a breach in government's obligation to treat all its citizens equally.

The gay community wants the right to get a marriage liscense and marry in a court if they want to. They do not want the right to marry in your church or force your church to recognize their marriage. There is a big difference.