CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

A review of Same-Sex Marriage: Putting Every Household at Risk. By Mathew Staver.

May 9, 2005

Broadman & Holman, 2004.

The debate about same-sex marriage, notes Staver, is really a debate about marriage itself. The debate seeks to overturn millennia of accumulated wisdom on the nature of marriage. And in so doing, it may overturn the very fabric of society which has been built on marriage and family.

Marriage is not simply a private relationship. It is a social good and a public institution. Societies have always given benefits to marriage because marriage gives benefits to society. For a society to disown its own birthright in upholding heterosexual marriage, is in effect to say that it does not care about the community, it does not care about couples, and it especially does not care about children.

Staver here simply repeats the obvious: marriage has always been about a man and a woman. And it has always been about the possibility of procreation. Societies have a lot at stake when it comes to the next generation. In order to survive, societies must ensure that each new generation carries forth its values, it virtues and its visions. And no one can better ensure this than a child’s mother and father.

But in separating children from a mother and a father, societies are committing social suicide. The truth is, children need a mother and a father, full stop. The evidence is by now as overwhelming as it is familiar. Yet restating the obvious has become the order of the day. And Staver does a good job of marshalling the evidence.

The values of two-parent families, the risks of the homosexual lifestyle, the differences between heterosexual and homosexual relationships are all detailed here. Evidence, not emotion, should channel this debate, and Staver provides copiously footnoted documentation on all these points.

He has detailed chapters, for example, on why sexual preference is not a civil right. And he shows how sexuality-based lifestyles are not on a par with the immutable characteristics of race, color, or national origin. While governments are obliged to show respect to all people, they are not obliged to recognize and sanction any and every behavior and lifestyle choice.

He also highlights the dangers of granted special rights based on sexual preference. He notes that vilification legislation and hate crime laws are increasingly including sexual orientation in the list of protected characteristics. This puts many groups at risk, especially religious bodies who should have the right to speak out on behaviors they regard as unwelcome.

In the US the judiciary is in many cases penalizing and punishing those who simply wish to stand up for family and faith values. Churches and families are being forced to embrace a lifestyle that is at odds with their cherished beliefs.

Staver rightly notes that this debate is the flash point of the culture wars. And the stakes are high. As the saying goes, the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. And many homosexual activists have been clear as to why they want marriage and adoption rights. As one lesbian put it, “Whoever captures the kids owns the future”.

This battle is about competing visions of the future, of society, of family and of gender. The consequences are thus pronounced indeed. Do we as a society put the wants of adults ahead of our children and the greater community? The truth is, there are many good reasons for societies to prefer heterosexual marriage.

Staver closes by offering some ways forward. A Constitutional Amendment to guarantee marriage as between a man and a woman is one of the proposals. Other possibilities are canvassed. But as Staver notes, this is too important an issue to not get involved, or to put up the white flag. We owe it to our children to take a stand for marriage, and this book provides us with information to do just that.

[632 words]

14 Responses to A review of Same-Sex Marriage: Putting Every Household at Risk. By Mathew Staver.

  • There is no inherent moral difference between heterosexual relationships and gay relationships. That’s why they shouldn’t be treated any differently.

    You quote *one* lesbian (unnamed, of course), and claim that she speaks for the entire gay community. That’s not very philosophically rigorous.

    If you ask me why gay couples want marriage and adoption rights, I’d say this:

    – because many gay relationships truly reflect the love and commitment of heterosexual relationships, and thereby they qualify for marriage

    – because many gay couples dearly want children, to love and nurture them, and create a strong and healthy next generation

    Many of the posts on this site seem to paint gay people a certain way, relying of prejudice and generalisations. It just doesn’t stand up in reality.

    For example, I’m a typical (at least I think so) 22 year old gay man. I never go clubbing (I find bars to be pretentious and boring). I have one partner, and have been with him for 3½ years. We went to school together. I’ve never been to Mardi Gras and never plan to. I live at home with my (married) parents and I have a very tight-nit family life. I get sick of accusations that I am “destroying the family” and “destroying marriage”. Why would I want to do that? I love my family, and respect my parents’ marriage. I would like to get married myself one day.

    Am I surprised at these attacks on me? No, because I know that attacking a minority group is too easy. Any coward can do it. It takes guts to actually stand up for gay people and proclaim their dignity and worth. That’s something I’ve never seen from fundamentalist Christians. Jesus would be ashamed.

    John Kloprogge, North Croydon

  • John, can you tell me just what is fundamentally wrong with committing theft? Can any theft, no matter how small, really be justified? What is fundamentally wrong with murder? In fact, in the evolutionary scene, murder is a virtue! Survival of the fittest is what brings out the best in the species!
    I do not believe the universe came about by evolution (another argument altogether). God is the one to whom we are answerable, because He is our Creator and Lawgiver. It is from Him where our standards of marriage, living etc. come from. If your standards and values are not from God, who states clearly that any sex outside of the man – woman marriage relationship is wrong, then where do your standards and values come from? By what basis do you argue that ‘There is no inherent moral difference between heterosexual relationships and gay relationships’? And how can you accuse me of being in the wrong for standing up for the standards and values placed by God, if your values are so relative? Am I really being unloving and hateful because I stand against something that is not only going to hinder people’s relationship with God, but is detrimental to their own lives, and indeed society in general?
    Yes, I will stand up for what I believe is right! If I know that a house is burning down, yes, I will warn the occupants to get out, no matter how naive or ignorant they are. It is not because I am unloving that I warn them, indeed, it is because I really do love them!
    In fact, it is not just gay people, it is all people who have sinned against God. The Bible tells us ‘All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’. We all need to examine our own lives, and repent of the sin we have committed. God did not send His Son Jesus to die for us so that we could continue to be enslaved to sin. No! He sent His Son so that we can be set free from sin! This is the Good News!

    David Clay, Melbourne

  • Thanks John

    You complain that I mention only one un-named lesbian who is against marriage. The truth is, I can not only name her, and give the source of the quote, but I can produce many more as well. Indeed, there are many to choose from, both from here and overseas.

    And they come mainly from the same source you should be quite familiar with, the homosexual press. Indeed, you would be fully aware that there is a huge split in the homosexual community over this issue, and perhaps most homosexuals are against the idea of marriage, and/or would certainly want to redefine it so it is not too restrictive. Again, I have all of that fully documented, as would you, since I draw upon the same sources that are available to you. So please stop pretending that I am just making all this up.

    Thus I am afraid you are in the minority on this one. Most of your colleagues would beg to differ. And most societies are not about to overturn millennia of accumulated wisdom on the nature of marriage because you demand that they do.

    In the same way, if three women, or four men, claim a loving, long-term, committed and consensual love for each other, governments have no reason to recognize and promote those sorts of relationships either.

    And children are not just objects of adult wants; they are more than mere commodities. Children deserve the very best that can be given them, and that is a mother and father, not several dads, not a committee, not a football team. Of course elsewhere I fully document these claims, that children’s interests are best served in the context of a biological, heterosexual two-parent family.

    And Jesus would not be ashamed for standing up for what is right. He certainly would never condone homosexual relationships, or adultery, or fornication, nor any other type of human sexuality, outside of heterosexual marriage. He was fully aligned with his father’s stated viewpoint on this subject.

    By the way, I am glad you a not into the clubbing scene. But many, if not most, of your colleagues would be. Promiscuity, be it heterosexual, or homosexual, is always a dead-end street.

    Regards
    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • John, just as you have the right to choose your lifestyle, a child must be protected especially if the child is unable to voice his rights. Sounds like you lead a healthy lifestyle, good for you however with regard to family and marriage, it can only be heterosexual relationship. God created a man and a woman with very distinct physical and hormonal features to complement each other for procreation. If homosexuality is acceptable, He would have created two males or two females. It is selfish of homosexuals to think that they can provide the ideal environment for the upbringing of children. Yes, you may be commited and loving but the child will be utterly confused at having either two mums or two dads and to see one of them acting in a manner that contradicts the gender.
    God created us to be who we are, be proud and stand up for your calling as a father for a male and a mother for a female. Any deviation is opposing nature and that is why so many are bearing the consequences. The poor kid has no chance to say no to homosexuality so don’t impose on them and raise another confused and lost generation.
    Jesus died to set us free, you have a choice to be set free from this bondage and embrace your natural self, rise up and be counted as a man of God, a role model for the future generation

    regards

    Jessie Ho, Perth

  • Hi Jessie,

    Homosexuality is natural, if the animal world is anything to go by. Recent studies of bonobos, penguins, dolphins – virtually every mammal on the planet – show that homosexuality is universal and natural for a small but enduring part of the population.

    I lead a perfectly free, happy, meaningful life as it is. But your psychological need to impose your Christian lifestyle on everyone speaks volumes of your personal emptiness.

    I know my “natural self” because I know what I think and feel. You can never know what I think or feel. Therefore it is futile for you to dictate to me what is my “natural self”.

    Children are best raised by love and support. Bodily appendages don’t equate with good parenting skills.

    Regards, John Kloprogge, Croydon VIC

  • Thanks John

    But in your far-fetched attempt to justify your lifestyle, you make several major errors. First, to argue that homosexuality in not natural is not to say that we never observe homosexual behaviour, either in humans or animals. Such activities do occur in nature, but that is a different matter from the fact that male and female bodies are not designed by nature to engage in same-sex activity, nor are mammals. In that sense it is most unnatural.

    From a biblical perspective, we believe we live in a fallen world, so all kinds of behaviours which may in fact be wrong or immoral can be observed in nature. So that tells us little about the morality of such activities.

    Second, it may surprise some, but human beings are different from animals. If we were nothing more than animals, then anything would go, and we would stop all discussion of right and wrong. Some may think they are just animals, but I believe we are image-bearers of God, and are special in all the created order. So I do not base my morality on what animals do.

    Also, you are on shaky ground when you argue: animals do x, therefore humans can (and should) do x. Some mammals eat their own young. Are you suggesting we should too?

    And the research on this question does find various types of coupling in the animal world, but it is often in the context of expressing dominance and submission. And almost all of this behaviour is temporary and limited. We do not know of long-term homosexual bonding in the animal world, only in the human.

    So please spare us this juvenile justification for your lifestyle. You are closer to the mark when you talk about how you feel. For that is what your morality is based on: if it feels good, do it. As we have discussed before, your ethics is ultimately subjective, based on your own preferences. That must always be the case when we reject objective moral law, and an objective moral law giver.

    As to imposing one’s Christian lifestyle, it is called engaging in public debate on a blog site. I let you push your agenda here John, so why can’t Jessie share what is of importance? And it is about truth claims. If Christianity is true, then every Christian must do all they can to share the truth about both God’s love and judgment before it is too late.

    Finally, a child is best raised by his or her own mother and father. Biological parents offer the best for a child, not a radical social experiment, and its never ending combinations (e.g., the story of a guy with “four mums” in the June 18, 2007 Sydney Morning Herald.)

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Again, Bill, you misrepresent me.

    I never argued that ‘homosexuality is natural, therefore it is moral’. Nature by no means gives us a clear moral guide. So your second, third and fourth paragraphs attack a straw man, rather than address my point.

    What I said was, it’s wrong to argue that ‘homosexuality is unnatural, therefore it is wrong’. The premise is false, and the conclusion doesn’t follow.

    Indeed, most animal coupling – heterosexual and homosexual – in the animal world is based on dominance and submission. But there are also examples of long-term bonding, both of heterosexual and homosexual couples. Homosexuality is natural.

    My post was not an attempt to ‘justify my lifestyle’: I don’t need to justify my relationship, because there is simply nothing wrong with it. I have never heard a credible argument against it.

    As I said, my morality is based on my conscience, not on what I feel like doing. I don’t bash, steal, etc., even if I have fleeting desires at times to do so. If my morality is based on what I feel like doing, explain why I restrain myself.

    The Bible is hardly an ‘objective moral law giver’. There are endless interpretations of the Bible, and many people just choose the interpretation they like. You’ve chosen literalism because it reaffirms your own prejudices and allows you to do what you want.

    Regards, John Kloprogge, Croydon VIC

  • Thanks John

    But you are still stuck in subjectivism, this time going by your own conscience. While God’s moral law is revealed through conscience, because of the fall, our consciences have become unreliable. Presumably Hitler and others also felt OK by their consciences. So conscience in and of itself is not sufficient. We need objective moral standards, not just subjective ones.

    As to the issue of Biblical interpretation, I hate to keep pointing out your many inconsistencies, but there you go again John. In earlier posts you insisted you were not a postmodernist. Yet a central tenet of PoMo is deconstructionism, which argues, among another things, that authorial intent can never be known. We are left only with interpretation, and no sure word about anything. Sounds just like you John. So which is it? Are you into PoMo one day, and out of it the next?

    And the only reason you restrain yourself is because of the grace of God operating in your life, not your own inherent goodness. But as long as people reject God, they will seek to usurp his place, taking all the credit for any goodness they produce, all the while denying the very source of it.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • John
    I visited the Tarong Park Zoo in Sydney and whilst I was there a chipanze defecated into his hand and threw the faeces at the observers.
    I was told that this was “natural” behaviour for a chimpanze, he was just following his instincts.
    From your argument this entitles me to do the same thing but I must ask doesn’t community ethics and law prevent me from following such behaviour.
    Yes it may be natural and all of the chimpanze family have this trait but this does not give me the right to counter given rules as to lifestyle.
    Jim Sturla

  • Hi Bill,

    You’ve failed to address my claims that: (a) homosexuality is natural, (b) naturalness doesn’t determine what is right anyway, or (c) there is no credible argument against homosexuality. But we’ll move on.

    Indeed, conscience is at times unreliable. Prejudice is a good example of where conscience fails us. That’s why we should keep it in check by asking ‘What causes harm’: this is the ultimate, objective basis for morality.

    Unlike postmodernists, I do not think ‘any interpretation goes’ regarding the Bible. Rather, I think every interpretation is unreliable. Your decision to take a literal interpretation is subject to your own prejudices. Even if God wrote the Bible, you have no sure-fire way of knowing your interpretation is correct.

    You say the ‘Grace of God’ explains why I restrain myself from doing what’s wrong. This is quite revealing: if non-Christians can do good (by the Grace of God), and Christians can do evil (because of the fall), haven’t you just shown that belief in God is not necessary for morality?

    Instead of inventing an elaborate (albeit convenient) theory of a God of morality, I suggest we go with the simplest explanation: I refrain from doing certain things because I choose to, based on my ethical deliberations of what causes harm. All your mysticism is poetic, but unnecessary.

    Regards, John Kloprogge, Croydon VIC

  • Thanks John

    But you are still well and truly stuck in the abyss of postmodernism. You might as well argue that no two people can read the same newspaper or the same road traffic rules book in the same why, so why bother, let’s just throw them all out. We will only always have conflicting opinions and interpretations, you suggest. That is called deconstuctionism, and you are up to your neck in it.

    As to God’s grace, the truth is, if it were not for his grace, the world would be filled with 6 billion Hitlers and Stalins. Sin is greatly in check now, but without God and his grace, we would all be off the rails. The effects of the fall are overcome only in one way: by casting ourselves on Christ, receiving his forgiveness, and being empowered by his spirit. Such an arrangement brings substantial change, change we cannot bring about by ourselves. That is why Christians consistently have higher rates of freedom from drug dependency, or from the homosexual lifestyle, for that matter.

    And you say your morality is based on avoiding “what causes harm”. John, homosexuality causes harm. As the National Centre in HIV Social Research, the National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research, and numerous other bodies have consistently shown, year in and year out, around 85 per cent of all new cases of HIV continue to be due to male homosexual activity.

    With all due respect, John, it is time you stopped lying to us and to yourself. Cigarette smoking is almost always harmful and reduces one’s lifespan. We know that without a doubt from the medical and scientific research. Homosexual activity is almost always harmful and reduces one’s lifespan. We know that without a doubt from the medical and scientific research.

    It seems everyone knows it except you and those who choose to blind themselves to the truth, in order to justify their lifestyle.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • I know where the homosexuals are coming from. They believe a man can understand a man better, and a woman a woman. To a degree they are correct. But it is in that struggle to understand the opposite sex perhaps that we become humane especially in marriage. But the other aspect in marriage is God Almighty. It is actually his design and not ours. He sensed Adam’s loneliness and made Eve. He brought them together. And He married them to each other and declared them one. By design God is intricately involved in that relationship because he is the Ruler by definition and the Creator of Marriage. Leviticus 18:22 reads, “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.” Now that is God talking. To the homosexual that is a hard thing because that is their desire. But God can help anyone and help them with their desire. And God has not forgotten the homosexual community. But to have a God centered marriage one must do it God’s way with God at the center. If I was to talk to the homosexual community I would talk about Augustine who overcome a lot of his passionate desires through deep Bible study. God bless your journey.
    Frank Sherwin

  • Following First Circuit Court of Appeals decision: Are courts going to repeal the law of gravity next? There are some things that just obviously make sense, no matter what some judge may proclaim.
    Ron Swaren

  • Life is about Actions and Consequences, which then determines if a person’s a-c-t-i-o-n-s (B-e-h-a-v-i-o-r in particular) are correct or incorrect… the results of the B-e-h-a-v-i-o-r.

    And homosexuality time and time again proves to be a highly detrimental B-e-h-a-v-i-o-r, which needs to be corrected, not glamorized nor rights given to it.

    Here are just a few examples of the detrimental results of the homosexual B-e-h-a-v-i-o-r.

    – Dr. Selma Dritz in the New England Journal of Medicine: “Oral and anal intercourse present physicians with surgical as well as medical problems, ranging from anal fissures and impaction of foreign bodies in the rectum to major diagnostic dilemmas.”
    * Reference: Dritz SK. “Medical Aspects of Homosexuality.” The New England Journal of Medicine, 1980; Vol. 302 No. 8 (463-464).

    – “Study: Gay Men Are Twice as Likely to Have Cancer”, Yahoo story, By MEREDITH MELNICK Meredith Melnick– Tue May 10, 10:05 pm ET

    – Lesbian sex is linked to higher risks of bacterial vaginosis, HPV specifically genital warts—squamous intraepithelial lesions, trichomoniasis, syphilis, and Herpes simplex virus (HSV), and cervical cancer even among women who have had no prior sex with men. In addition, women who have sex with women have a higher risk of HIV/Aids due to the fact that many of identified lesbians have had sex with bisexual men much more so than a hetero woman has. Transmission also occurs through vaginal and cervical secretions between lesbian women.

    * Reference: Women Who Have Sex with Women (WSW), Centers for Disease Control, 2006 (MMWR August 4, 2006 / Vol. 55 / No. RR–11). Retrieved on January 9, 2009.
    * Frenkl, Tara Lee, Potts, Jeannette (February 2008). “Sexually Transmitted Infections”, Urologic Clinics of North America, 35 (1) p. 33–46.

    – In The Gay Report, by Jay and Young, homosexual researchers surveyed the sex habits of homosexuals, Traditional Values reported. The result shows that:
    · 99% had engaged in oral sex
    · 91% had engaged in anal intercourse
    · 83% engaged in rimming (mouth to anus contact)
    · 22% had fisted their sex partners
    · 23% admitted to golden showers (urinating on a sex partner)
    · 76% admitted to group or public sex
    · 4% admitted ingesting feces
    These behaviors are the seedbed for a whole variety of serious intestinal parasites, viruses, and bacteria known collectively as “Gay Bowel Syndrome.”

    -Dr. Stephen E. Goldstone, the medical director of Gay Health.com says that 68% of HIV-positive and 45% of HIV-negative homosexual men have abnormal or precancerous anal cells, noted Traditional Values.

    -Medical experts and scientists believe that the increased number of sexually transmitted diseases (STD) cases is the result of an increase in risky sexual practices by a growing number of gay men. One in five gay men were found to have HIV, according to a study released by the CDC in 2010.

    Latest… STDs continue on the increase in San Francisco for the 6th year in a row!
    Reference: Article “California: San Francisco sees Spike in STDs”, from HIV/AIDS Resource for Gay Men website, U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, February 13, 2012.

    “MSM have higher HIV and other STI rates than do women and heterosexual men”, Reference: Article from HIV/AIDS Resource for Gay Men website, U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, May 29, 2012.

    “Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM)1represent approximately 2% of the US population, yet are the population most severely affected by HIV”, Reference, article “ HIV Among Gay and Bisexual Men”, from website HIV/AIDS Resource for Gay Men website, U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, May 18, 2012.

    “Atlanta researchers found a high rate of HIV in gay male couples who thought both partners were HIV-negative”, Reference, article “Gay couples at Risk”, from website HIV/AIDS Resource for Gay Men website, U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, November/December 2011.

    “HIV risk for lesbian, bisexual, and other women who have sex with women:
    June 2009!!!!
    www.gmhc.org/files/editor/file/GMHC_lap_whitepaper_0609.pdf

    More studies on the risks of lesbian sex summarized here:

    “Studies are coming out now that are finding that “lesbian” sex is linked to higher risks and spread of bacterial vaginosis, HPV specifically genital warts—squamous intraepithelial lesions, trichomoniasis, syphilis, and Herpes simplex virus (HSV), and cervical cancer even among women who have had no prior sex with men.
    They also show that women who have sex with women have a higher risk of HIV/Aids due to the fact that they are finding that most of identified lesbian have had sex with bisexual men much more so than a hetero woman has. Transmission also occurs through vaginal and cervical secretions between lesbian women.”
    * References:
    ^ Women Who Have Sex with Women (WSW), Centers for Disease Control, 2006
    (MMWR August 4, 2006 / Vol. 55 / No. RR–11). Retrieved on January 9, 2009.
    ^ Frenkl, Tara Lee, Potts, Jeannette (February 2008).
    “Sexually Transmitted Infections”, Urologic Clinics of North America, 35 (1) p. 33–46.
    ^ King, p. 226.
    ^ Risser, Jan M.H., Risser, William L., Risser, Amanda (December 2008). “Epidemiology of Infections in Women”, Infectious Disease Clinics of North America, 22 (4), p. 581–599.
    ^ King, p.229.
    ^ Zimmerman, 360.
    ^ HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report: Cases of HIV Infection and AIDS in the United States and Dependent Areas, 2006. Centers for Disease Control. Retrieved on January 9, 2009.

    There is a lot, lot, and lot more, but as for the result of these previous studies, it is simple.

    Homosexual men for example, have anal sex as their main sex act, and the colon is NOT prepare to fight viruses as the vagina does with all its acidity. Furthermore, the colon is designed by nature to absorb as much material as it can, so when a penis is introduced in it with all its “wonderful” viruses and bacteria traveling on it, the colon simply does what it does best, it tries to adsorb all of it…. hence the person is more likely to get infections, viruses, cancer causing agents, etc.

    The same with Fellatio, the mouth is the beginning of the digestion process, and gay men and lesbians indulge heavily in it, so the introduction of viruses, germs and cancer causing agents into a person is more likely in these cases.

    Action and consequences… that is what the opposition against homosexuality has always been all about, the bad consequences to the individuals and society that particular B-e-h-a-v-i-o-r. causes on everyone… because yes, YOU too are affected!, That irresponsible reckless sexual B-e-h-a-v-i-o-r results in medical problems/complications, plus diseases being passes around/spread upon the population, increasing the Health Care cost for everyone! …so when your Health Coverage BILL increases come in the mail d-o n-o-t complain… with “acceptance” of homosexuality, you asked for it!

    Enough said!
    Luis T Puig

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