by Larry Page, Executive Director
Arkansas Faith and Ethics Council
What is marriage?
Marriage is a fundamental human institution that predates the law and the Constitution. It is an anthropological and sociological reality: Every human society is established by males and females joining in permanent unions to build a life together and bear and raise their children. Laws relating to marriage merely recognize and regulate an institution that already exists. Love and companionship are important to the function of a marriage, but they are not sufficient, alone, to define it as an institution. In addition, a sexual relationship is also not enough, in and of itself, to define marriage.
What does the Bible say about marriage?
As Christians, we know that marriage is more than just an anthropological reality. God ordained the family when He created Adam and Eve and charged them to be fruitful and multiply. His intent was, and is, one man and one woman for one lifetime. The Bible clearly speaks to this in both the Old and New Testaments. God created the family as a vehicle for creating and raising children, to provide us with lifelong committed companionship, and to glorify Him. Homosexual relationships are not sanctioned by God, have not been ordained by Him, and clearly violate God’s divine plan for the family.
How does marriage benefit society?
Society grants benefits to marriage because marriage grants benefits to society. Marriage is more than just a committed relationship. It is the permanent union of the two complimentary parts of humanity who complete each other in their differences. Benefits also include the reproduction of the species in households with the optimal household structure (both mother and father.)
Why should homosexual “marriage” not be allowed?
First, marriage is specifically a union of a man and a woman and same-sex relationships do not fit this most basic requirement of marriage. Second, homosexual relationships are harmful to society and such relationships should not be granted government approval and sanction.
How does homosexual “marriage” harm heterosexual marriage?
By redefining the fundamental definition of marriage, homosexual “marriage” would change people’s concept of what marriage is, what it requires, and what one should expect from it. It will also change people’s behavior both before and during marriage. This situation is dramatically illustrated by the experience of Scandinavia, since same-sex registered partnerships have been legalized there. Since this time, the acceptance and use of marriage as the primary building block of society has greatly declined, and in some areas, virtually disappeared.
Is allowing homosexual “marriage” a civil rights issue comparable to race or ethnicity?
In order to lend credence to their cause, many proponents seek to equate the campaign for homosexual marriage rights with the civil rights struggle that African-Americans endured. Race, nationality, and ethnicity are unchangeable characteristics. No academic institution in the world nor any U.S. Court has ever established that homosexuality is unchangeable. Cohn Powell’s response to the attempt to equate homosexuality with race was, “Skin color is a benign, non-behavioral characteristic. Sexual orientation is perhaps the most profound of human behavioral characteristics, comparison of the two is a convenient, but invalid argument.”
In addition, if marriage is viewed as a civil right, then on what basis can marriage be denied to any coupling or group? Allowing same-sex marriage simply opens the door to unions between groups (polygamy and polyamory), close relatives (incest), and adults and children (child sexual abuse).
Marriage and being able to marry, is an option for all individuals and is, therefore, not discriminatory. Anyone may marry, as long as they meet certain minor requirements such as age, blood relation limitations, and that they marry an opposite-sex partner.
Isn’t it cruel to deny same-sex partners benefits that married couples experience such as inheritance rights, hospital visitation rights, and rights to make medical decisions?
It is a misleading argument that same-sex partners are denied benefits and rights that married couples have. Existing laws do not prevent same-sex partners from owning property jointly, from conveying property to each other during their lifetimes, or from conveying property upon the death of one of the partners. Those allowed to visit a patient in the hospital are determined by the patient. There are several avenues through which an individual can designate who is to make medical decisions for that person if they are unable to do so.
What other repercussions will occur if same-sex marriages are allowed?
Homosexual adoption and parenting will become more prevalent. Every child needs a loving mother and father. A lesbian couple cannot teach their son how to become a man, how to love and care for a woman, or how to be the spiritual leader of his home. A gay couple cannot teach a little girl to be a woman, what to look for in a husband, or how to be a Godly helpmeet to her future husband. In order for kids to become the adults they were meant to be, they need the daily influence of both mother and father.
The negative effects of homosexual relationships, namely the spread of disease, will increase as those relationships are sanctioned by the state.
Why do we need an amendment banning same-sex marriage?
Although the public and various state legislatures have shown little inclination toward legalizing and sanctioning same-sex unions, America’s court system is being manipulated by homosexual-marriage activists to achieve this end. It is a real possibility that the courts will allow homosexual marriage or civil unions because of the activism of the gay community and the participation of the media. By placing an amendment in the Arkansas Constitution, we can protect ourselves from this potential occurrence. The judges who might have ruled that same-sex marriage is permissible, will now be bound by a constitutional amendment stating that marriage is reserved exclusively for unions between one man and one woman.