Is interracial marriage the same type of issue as gay marriage?

This seems to be the big new argument out there now. Advocates of same-sex marriage are claiming that forbidding homosexual couples is just like the discriminatory laws that didn’t allow interracial marriages.

I can see where this argument is coming from, at least. I still don’t think it’s the same thing, however, and here’s why.

People of different races are all the same on the inside. Genetically, there is no difference between a black man and a white woman. They are the same. Our discrimination laws originated to prevent us from discriminating against someone on the basis of their outward appearance: gender, age, race. Proscribing interracial marriage was based on the outward appearance, but there was no reason to forbid those people to marry.

Same-sex couples, however, are a different matter. There is an obvious genetic difference between gay couples and heterosexual couples – two women or two men are not the same as one woman and one man. We’ll also have to get back into why people are gay, here: is it choice, or is it a genetic abnormality?

If it is choice, then these couples are choosing an alternative lifestyle. They are choosing to deviate from what society considers normal. People are free to choose to live alternative lifestyles, but they do have to live with the consequences. Americans don’t seem to like the fact that their actions have consequences, especially when those consequences are negative. That’s why we’re in this economic crisis. It is not any one individual’s fault; Americans chose to overspend, banks overextended themselves, and no one was prepared for the consequences.

So when a gay couple has a relationship, what are some of the consequences? Well, they can’t procreate, for starters. Gay couples have higher rates of STDs, including AIDS. Gay couples tend to be less stable. And, up until recently, they were not allowed to marry. When they made the choice to live that lifestyle, they were aware of that consequence. Is it good for society as a whole to let gay couples get married, to teach our children that homosexuality is equal to hetersexuality, to perpetuate a condition that is, at heart, an aberration from the norm? Assuming that it is a chosen behavior, the more we teach our small children about how great and wonderful homosexuality is, the more people will choose it. Eventually, society dies out when its population growth declines too far.

What if we argue instead that people are not gay by choice, but that it is a genetic tendency and we shouldn’t “punish” them for being made that way by forbidding them to marry? This goes back to the interracial marriage argument – if these couples are genetically different, genetically “flawed” according to mainstream society because of their homosexual tendencies, then they are not genetically equal to a heterosexual couple. They are not the same, and do not merit the same privileges. Marriage isn’t just about a couple who love each other; it is a societal contract. Marriages are about more than declaring one’s love for one’s spouse to the world; it is a bond that declares you are responsible for one another, you are responsible for your children, and you acknowledge your children as your own. Marriages were created to organize families, not to validate lovers’ feelings.

If we allow same-sex marriage on the grounds that it is discriminatory to prevent any two people who love each other from getting married, then it is only one more step to incest. It is only one more step to legalizing marrying children who are too young to be married. Beyond that, it is only one step further to legalizing polygamy. After all, these people all just love each other, right? What’s wrong with that?

What’s wrong with that, is that gay marriage, incest, child marriages, and polygamy, are not good for society. They are bad for society because of their effects on the gene pool, and they are bad for society because of their social effects. When we tear down the traditional family, we tear down the last place our children are safe from the world. By making marriage all about the couple and forgetting about the children, as society has been doing for the last several decades, we wound our children terribly. Look at divorce rates; look at fatherless children; look at gang violence; look at teenage promiscuity and teenage pregnancy rates. All these things are on the rise, because we’ve become selfish as a society. We are all about Me, My, Mine. Marriage ought to be about creating a home for our families, not about personal gratification. Perhaps there would be less adultery if we stopped to remember that – it’s not just about meeting an individual’s sexual needs (or, more often, wants). It’s about providing security for each other, providing emotional support, providing a refuge, a safe haven. It’s about responsibility. It’s about providing a safe place for children to grow up, taking care of their needs, until they are ready to go out into the world. And as much as they may want to, two moms or two dads will never be equal to a mom and a dad in their abilities to raise a child.

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motherhood vs fatherhood

I believe that a child needs both a mother and a father to be raised successfully. Obviously, this is not always possible, but in the case of gay marriage, we will be taking that opportunity away from children right from the start. Studies have shown that children need both parents. Here’s a few things I’ve noticed that my three year old daughter has learned from one of us, or how she interacts differently with us:

My daughter loves music. (Mom)

She loves to pretend. (Mom)

She loves to read. (Mom)

She loves to help me cook. (Mom)

She knows all about instruments and musical terms. (Mom)

Mom knows the words to just about every kids song she ever wants.

Dad makes up the words when he doesn’t know them. So does she.

She is much more willing to sit and read a whole book with Mom than with Dad.

When she wakes up grumpy, Dad can silly her out of it.

She cuddles a little bit more with Mom than with Dad.

Mom loves hugs, Dad loves kisses.

She loves to tickle. (Dad)

She loves being silly. (Dad)

She loves to dance. (Dad)

She loves animals, acting like them, and making their sounds. (Dad)

She loves “baseball Dodgers.” (Dad)

She knows the difference between baseball, football, and basketball. (Dad)

She loves playing ball – soccer and catch. (Dad)

She thinks Dad’s juggling is pretty cool. (Dad)

She loves flying her plane while Dad flies his helicopter. (Dad)

She can say words like helicopter, fire truck, and tow truck. (Dad)

She loves to run around in circles. (Dad)

She loves to play hide and go seek. (Dad)

I love this picture that says so plainly what I have been thinking about. It’s from http://www.iprotectmarriage.com

Our daughter has learned so many things from each of us that she probably wouldn’t have learned from the other. She plays more actively with Dad than with Mom – partly because Mom is so worn out from taking care of both our girls all the time. Dad can always find some energy for a round of tickles or hide and go seek. Mom can always be lured into reading her a story. Sometimes when she wakes up scared in the middle of the night, she wants Mom. Sometimes she wants Dad. It depends on why she’s scared. Her life is so much more full because she has a mom and a dad. I don’t think I could handle her without my husband to help run out her energy at the end of the day. And I don’t think she would calm down for bed some nights without Mom to help settle her down.

Just as I believe that every child has a right to be born, so I also believe that every child has the right to come into a family with both a mother and a father. How can we deprive these children of something as vital as a parent, without considering their needs? Our babies cannot speak for themselves and tell us what we need. When we think about marriage, we have an obligation not only to think about the adults involved, but about the children they will raise who have no voice.

Published in: on October 21, 2008 at 9:11 am  Comments (2)  
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What is marriage?

It seems to me that the heart of this issue isn’t so much about equality, but about how we as a civilization define marriage.

To me, marriage is a mutually loving relationship between a man and a woman; they provide support for each other economically, socially, emotionally, and spiritually. They provide the same support for any children that they bring into the world or choose to adopt. As parents, they also provide role models for their children on how to become a happy, successful adult who knows how to interact with others in society. Parents model appropriate behavior, teaching their children how to act in a loving relationship to family members and a future spouse.

To me, marriage is not only about the relationship between the spouses. It is also about providing stability and support to the rest of the family. Just as I think that every infant who is conceived has a right to be born, I also think that every infant has the right to join a family with both a mother and a father. Children need the influences of both a male and female parent in order to grow up in a truly healthy environment. (For more influence on actual studies that support this, go check out Troy’s blog post about Prop 8.) A gay couple cannot provide this to any children they might adopt. Their marriage cannot bring children into the world, they cannot provide all the nurturing a child needs no matter how hard they try and how loving they are, and many homosexual relationships are less stable than heterosexual ones (again, go check out the stats on Troy’s blog.) How does endorsing gay marriage, then, benefit our society as a whole?

Now I know I define marriage differently than many of you out there. So go ahead, tell me what exactly marriage means to you?

Published in: on October 14, 2008 at 2:08 pm  Comments (3)  
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