CultureWatch

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

“Homosexual Marriage” and Childless Heterosexual Couples

Aug 13, 2017

We are now in the midst of yet another battle over real marriage versus fake marriage, and as is always the case, the other side seeks to make its case by copious amounts of falsehoods, misinformation, straw men and red herrings. It seems to simply make things up as it goes along.

It will toss out the most reckless of charges, the most baseless of accusations, and the most illogical of claims. I have dealt with them time and time again. Let me look at one common objection thrown our way by the militants as we seek to defend marriage from its total makeover and destruction.

ssm 41We regularly make the argument that heterosexual marriage is fundamentally about the best interests of children. That is because every child has the basic human right of having his or her own biological mother and father, and to be raised by them.

The mountains of social science research on this is irrefutable. Children do best, all things considered, when raised by their own mum and dad, preferably a mum and dad who are married. However the homosexual activists will object. They will try to argue that if you deny marriage for homosexuals because they cannot reproduce, what about all the heterosexual couples who do not have children?

Marriage isn’t just about having children they will claim. Now this might sound like a good argument, but with a bit of reflection it becomes clear that it isn’t at all. Heterosexual marriage is certainly always open to at least the possibility of children, even though for various reasons not all marriages will result in children.

Peter Spriggs offers this insight on the relationship between marriage and reproduction: He asks us to simply turn the question around. That is, instead of asking “whether actual reproduction is essential to marriage, ask this: If marriage never had anything to do with reproduction, would there be any reason for the government to be involved in regulating or rewarding it?”

The simple truth is, governments do not determine who your best friends should be. But when the possibility of children arises, then governments and societies are quite concerned indeed and take an active role in it. As another commentator puts it,

“Marriage’s main purpose is to make sure that any child born has two responsible parents, a mother and a father who are committed to the child and committed to each other. To achieve this goal, it has never been necessary, and it would never be possible, for society to require that each and every married couple bear a child!”

Bear in mind this elementary truth: Sterility is the exception to the rule for heterosexual couples, while it is the norm for homosexual couples. A couple is not required to have babies when getting married, but it remains the generally expected norm.

Some couples cannot have children. Some don’t want them. But heterosexuality makes procreation possible, while homosexuality makes it impossible. By way of analogy, the fact that a book can lie on a shelf unread does not make it anything other than a book. The purpose or function of a book is to be read, but it does not become less than a book if it is not read.

Nature’s purpose or function for human sexuality is procreation. The fact that not every sexual act results in procreation does not take away this essential feature. As one American law professor notes, “Homosexual sex is never procreation; male-female sex (even in sterile couples) is always potentially and at least symbolically procreative in kind.”

George Girgis and Ryan Anderson offer another analogy here which is worth quoting at length:

A baseball team has its characteristic structure largely because of its orientation to winning games; it involves developing and sharing one’s athletic skills in the way best suited for honorably winning (among other things, with assiduous practice and good sportsmanship). But such development and sharing are possible and inherently valuable for teammates even when they lose their games.
Just so, marriage has its characteristic structure largely because of its orientation to procreation; it involves developing and sharing one’s body and whole self in the way best suited for honorable parenthood – among other things, permanently and exclusively. But such development and sharing, including the bodily union of the generative act, are possible and inherently valuable for spouses even when they do not conceive children.
Therefore, people who can unite bodily can be spouses without children, just as people who can practice baseball can be teammates without victories on the field. Although marriage is a social practice that has its basic structure by nature whereas baseball is wholly conventional, the analogy highlights a crucial point: Infertile couples and winless baseball teams both meet the basic requirements for participating in the practice (conjugal union; practicing and playing the game) and retain their basic orientation to the fulfillment of that practice (bearing and rearing children; winning games), even if that fulfillment is never reached.
On the other hand, same‐sex partnerships, whatever their moral status, cannot be marriages because they lack any essential orientation to children: They cannot be sealed by the generative act. Indeed, in the common law tradition, only coitus (not anal or oral sex even between legally wed spouses) has been recognized as consummating a marriage.

And even some homosexuals themselves realise how important a mother and a father are to children, and therefore oppose same-sex marriage. Let me cite just one example here: Irish homosexual Richard Waghorne. A big part of his argument against homosexual marriage has to do with the well-being of children. He writes:

Marriage is vital as a framework within which children can be brought up by a man and woman. Not all marriages, of course, involve child-raising. And there are also, for that matter, same-sex couples already raising children. But the reality is that marriages tend towards child-raising and same-sex partnerships do not.
I am conscious of this when considering my own circle of friends, quite a few of whom have recently married or will soon do so in the future. Many, if not most or all of them, will raise children. If, however, I or gay friends form civil partnerships, those are much more unlikely to involve raising children. So the question that matters is this: Why should a gay relationship be treated the same way as a marriage, despite this fundamental difference?
A wealth of research demonstrates the marriage of a man and a woman provides children with the best life outcomes, that children raised in marriages that stay together do best across a whole range of measures. This is certainly not to cast aspersions on other families, but it does underscore the importance of marriage as an institution.
This is why the demand for gay marriage goes doubly wrong. It is not a demand for marriage to be extended to gay people – it is a demand for marriage to be redefined. The understanding of marriage as an institution that exists and is supported for the sake of strong families changes to an understanding of marriage as merely the end-point of romance.
If gay couples are considered equally eligible for marriage, even though gay relationships do not tend towards child-raising and cannot by definition give a child a mother and a father, the crucial understanding of what marriage is actually mainly for has been discarded.
What that amounts to is the kind of marriage that puts adults before children. That, in my opinion, is ultimately selfish, and far too high a price to pay simply for the token gesture of treating opposite-sex relationships and same-sex relationships identically. And it is a token gesture. Isn’t it common sense, after all, to treat different situations differently? To put it personally, I do not feel in the least bit discriminated against by the fact that I cannot marry someone of the same-sex. I understand and accept that there are good reasons for this.

It sure is nice when honest homosexuals come along and actually run with the evidence instead of trying to sweep it under the carpet. Children indeed do best with their own married mother and father, and deliberately denying them that most basic of rights is a type of child neglect, if not child abuse.

If this were the only reason why “homosexual marriage” should be steadfastly resisted, it would be enough. But there are many more reasons as well. I have written often on these various reasons in plenty of articles and at least three books now.

Those interested in learning more should check them out. But can we now lay to rest the useless and disingenuous childless heterosexual couples argument? It is well past its use by date.

[1452 words]

11 Responses to “Homosexual Marriage” and Childless Heterosexual Couples

  • Well said, and I agree 100%.

    On the broader issue of marriage and sexual morality I am disappointed in the many young Christians who get married these days to have sexual relations but with no intention to have children for even many years into the future.

    Like many traditional churches we teach our children to abstain before marriage. We also teach that God designed marriage to glorify Him and create Godly offspring. Unfortunately many of our young people think the essence of marriage consists of a ceremony (and expensive reception, photography, etc.) to glorify the couple, and their timetable for marriage is seemingly more driven by their desire to have marital relations rather than to produce children in God’s image.

    We live in challenging times. The high price of buying a house means that newly married couples are immediately faced with large financial obligations. This is especially the case in my Australian Chinese church where couples shouldn’t marry until they are in a position to buy a home. But then this financial burden means that many newly married couples have no wish to have children any time soon.

    As you said, Bill, marriage is to protect individuals from sexual immorality but where is the next generation leading us if they willfully choose to marry not to create a loving and safe environment to be blessed by God with children but instead to to set up “love nests” to indulge their sexual desires while using contraceptive devices to thwart God’s power to create new life?

    I would appreciate hearing if any other congregations have had to deal with a similar dilemma, and please note we are not against contraceptives but we believe they should only be used, per Mathus, to prevent “families and nations having too many children to prosper.” Contraceptive use before having even one child is Biblically indefensible.

  • “The fact that a book can lie on a shelf unread does not make it anything other than a book.” Indeed, and just because a book is on the shelf not being read it does not mean that other things on the shelf not being read, such as the picture of Auntie Joan, are books. The logical fallacy they use here is astounding in its absurdity. A car in the garage, not being used is still a car and just because that particular car is not being used as such, it does not mean that other things in the garage, that cannot possibly function as a car, are cars. Homosexual relationships break up the natural family whereas the reason why marriage and the associated fidelity and sexual morality are important, is because it unites the family and respects the rights associated with those blood ties.

    The fact is that barren marriages are still promoting sexual fidelity and function and morality. They are still honouring and respecting the natural family and the reasons for marriage in the first place and in a way that homosexual relationships simply cannot. I know many people are not having children these days and those that do are having them later in life but you would think people would still be smart enough to understand that the romantic definition, where the only criteria for marriage is “love”, as opposed to the sexually functional definition of marriage, is just plain false. We simply do not just love one other person in our lives and love is simply not the only criterion for marriage. This is a completely false definition of marriage. If an old couple get married they are still fulfilling more than just a friendship; they are respecting an institution and morality and sexual function and the foundation of family and society. Homosexual relationships do the opposite of this because they, by definition, oppose the uniting of the natural family and the gravity of the associated rights. It is no coincidence that the political parties that are promoting the redefinition of marriage are also the ones that most disrespect parental and children’s rights.

  • Hi Bill… I have a question for you. My non-Christian friends are fond of arguing that lots of homosexual couples are having children anyway, so allowing same-sex “marriage” won’t actually change the number of children born into homosexual “families”. They also say that, if I argue that children do best within a marriage, it would actually be better for these children if we allow the gays to marry. I know these arguments are wrong, but I can’t really think of how to answer them. Any ideas?

    Yours in Christ

    James

  • Thanks James. As we well know from past experience, whenever governments legalise, endorse and condone certain behaviours and activities, you will get much more of it. So there will be even more demand for the use of Assisted Reproductive Technologies and the like to manufacture children for homosexuals. And of course it is NOT any old marriage which is so good for children, but one kind only – the only kind there ever has been: heterosexual marriage, in which children of heterosexual couples are brought into the world and raised by their own biological mother and father. By destroying the meaning and nature of marriage, you will not end up with more children doing better, but less, because you deprive them of the thing they need most of all, and only heterosexual marriage can provide: their own biological mother and father.

  • As a young Christian, I agree with Mr Law in finding it disappointing that many young Christians are getting married for sexual relations, but not wanting to have children. I feel a sense of disgust for such motives to be really honest. I think it is unnatural to not want children despite being married.

    I think though, it is really time we as Christians re-think our financial practices, especially in relation to buying a house in getting into debt (that is, bondage) as a result. Some churches have a policy is not getting into debt, but to really trust in God to provide literally. Amazing things do happen when one does that, based on testimonies told by churches who do that.

    I think a marriage entered into only as ‘love nests’ is something that is Biblically wrong, as it goes against God’s design for marriage. While sex is something God created to enjoy, it is designed to teach people to sacrifice themselves, and therefore grow in love (1 Corinthians 7:3-5). Consent in marriage from the Biblical perspective is relating to abstaining from sexual relations, not in in relation to the conjugal union. The conjugal union is a must in marriage to consumate it, and having children binds it even more.

    Ironically though, there are many sexless marriages out there. It seems that satan seeks to make everyone think sex outside of marriage is attractive, but that sex within marriage is attractive. However, what is disturbing is Christians who only want to enjoy sex, but not have children, seeking an easy life.

  • Hi Bill, over the next few weeks, the LGBTIQ community will fight this postal vote campaign with a continuous stream of mindless abuse and threats for any individual or organisation that stands up for the truth. Bill I know that you will be publishing more articles as this campaign hots up. My prayer for you will be based around Luke 12::12, that promise of Jesus, that The Holy Spirit will teach you what to say in your forth coming articles. Bless you Bill in the battles to come, Kel.

  • I wrote to Bill Shorten and Warren Entsch asking: Given the letters LGBTIQ and B stands for bisexual, if marriage was to be based on equality, would that mean that bisexual would be entitled to two spouses?

    No answer from either. Maybe we should all ask the same question

  • Thank you for bringing up this subject, Bill. I appreciate your thoughts and the comments posted by your followers. I would like to introduce another aspect, and it is that of gay men who marry women as a cover-up for their homosexuality or bisexuality. I know of quite a few childless marriages contracted by couples who say they cannot have children or do not want them. In most instances, it is the husband who says he does not like children or does not want them while the wife obviously is leading an unfulfilled and disappointing life. After observing these people and associating with them over the years, my suspicion is that they have a sham marriage as a cover-up for the husband’s being gay.

  • Hi Bill, I watched this Youtube video today. Don’t know if the chap is a Christian or not (suspect he isn’t) but he has good argument why marriage matters to government (because of the huge resource investment in the raising of children, and the cultural effects of badly raised children).
    I wondered if you had seen it.

  • @ Jannie Tooh
    I agree with your wise comments. Using contraception is sexual anorexia, enjoying the pleasure of eating, then vomiting the food out afterwards, to stop it doing what it does naturally.

    The Church hasn’t taught the truth that marriage is a “one flesh” union of a man and a woman, the heart and foundation of which is natural sex (sexual intercourse). Couples putting a barrier between themselves are not uniting as one flesh.

    The marriage act personifies the sacrificial love that married life is. The man and the woman unite their greatest differences, losing oneself and being filled with one’s spouse. Recalling the garden of Eden, the man goes into the woman who was taken out of him, while the woman takes in the man from whom she was taken.

    Conception shows this too, the egg and sperm cease to be what they were, uniting as the “one flesh” of a new life. Christians should understand that if God grants them a child, he will grant them the means to look after it. Have we really not learned the lesson of feeding the five thousand? Jesus looked up to heaven, and gave thanks for what little there was, and the Father multiplied it with abundance.

    The LGBTIQ dictators testify against themselves, by saying they cannot marry without a piece of paper from the government. If you need a certificate before you can call your relationship marriage, it is no marriage whatsoever. A man and a woman don’t need a state marriage certificate, as God never told anyone to register their marriage with the government.

    The Australian government hasn’t regarded sexual intercourse as a legal requirement for civil marriage since the family law reforms of 1975. This removed the government’s ability to distinguish between genuine marriages, and sham marriages, and opened the way for all other relationships to campaign for “marriage equality”. For example, non-gay same-sex housemates can claim a de facto same-sex marriage, and therefore adopt children.

    The Constitution gave the government power to register and regulate marriage to promote the welfare of women and children, and safeguard inheritance etc. The marriage power of the Constitution does not extend to defining the doctrine, meaning and purpose of marriage for Christians or other religions. Marriage is a pre-existing natural behaviour pattern that the government didn’t create, so it can’t claim ownership of marriage. Christians need to declare independence from civil marriage, for no law can force Christians to identify their genuine marriage as a sexless civil marriage.

  • Jacky I’m not Bill but I believe Stefan is either an Atheist or Agnostic. I’ve seen some videos by him where he targeted Creationist but has defended Christians at times and does see the hypocrisy of the left when it comes to their anti Christian Muslim loving bias.

Leave a Reply