The Other Side of Marriage

by Peter Gregory

Hardly a day goes by without same-sex “marriage” being mentioned in a television or newspaper report, usually in a favorable light. The latest local story covered a forum at the public university hosted by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana. The topic was “Same-Sex Marriage: If Not Now, When?” and—no surprise—the discussion was completely one-sided.

This marriage discussion, like many others, gave the impression that no reasonable person could question same-sex “marriage.” The belief that marriage may have something to do with procreation was called “ridiculous.” The concern that redefining marriage could open the door for a throuple (that’s a three-person couple) to get married was called “insulting,” despite the clear desire that some have to push in that direction. While acknowledging that the situation isn’t exactly the same, one speaker compared the denial of marriage rights to same-sex couples with the Nazi persecution of homosexuals—a comparison also made at an art exhibit currently on display at a nearby gallery. To the panel of experts, including an ACLU staff attorney, it was simply obvious that a relationship between two men or two women is no different than the marriage of a man and a woman. Never mind that “obvious” wouldn’t stand up in a court of law.

The printed program for the discussion even had a quote from Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. In his opinion on Baskin v. Bogan (Sept 4., 2014), he makes fun of those who hold a traditional view of marriage: “Heterosexuals get drunk and pregnant, producing unwanted children; their reward is to be allowed to marry. Homosexual couples do not produce unwanted children; their reward is to be denied the right to marry. Go figure.”

But there is another side to the marriage discussion, and, yes, Judge Posner, it really does have to do with children. The fact is that homosexual couples do not and cannot produce children. Period. That’s because children aren’t products, even if our society increasingly views them as such. Children aren’t manufactured. They are conceived and born, and that requires a man and a woman, not two men or two women. Reason and experience confirm what we already know from God’s Word: every child has a father and every child has a mother. That’s a fact of biology.

But what does this have to do with marriage? Marriage is the one institution in society that unites fathers and mothers in a comprehensive way for their benefit and for the benefit of any children they have. That is, marriage unites a man and a woman to each other and to any children born from their union. While marriage doesn’t depend on children—a man and a woman who suffer the cross of barrenness are truly married—it exists for the sake of children and those childrens’ relationship with their parents. Thus, a society that redefines marriage to include same-sex couples doesn’t have a broader view of what marriage is. It has, rather, an entirely different view, one in which children are produced and not conceived. The end result is that society will have no way left to name, describe, or encourage the unique union of a man and a woman.

That’s the other side of marriage. While those of us who stand on this other side need to be ready to suffer ridicule and mockery, let’s also be prepared to provide a clear and reasoned response to those who mock us.

The Rev. Peter Gregory is associate pastor of St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Fort Wayne, Ind.

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