A Few Myths About the Gay Marriage Debate



Myth #1  –  Gay rights is the civil rights struggle of our day.

   First, gay individuals are granted the same rights I am: they can eat in the same restaurants, drink from the same water fountains, go to the same public schools and universities, hold public office, vote, marry someone of the opposite sex, and do a number of other things that Blacks were excluded from doing in the early 1900’s.

            The ubiquitous comparisons to interracial marriage gloss over substantial differences. When interracial marriages were prohibited, it was because society was looking at a superficial difference – skin color – and ignoring the reality that the man and woman in the relationship were both human, and one was female and the other male. We came to recognize as a culture that the physical compatibility of male and female for marriage and sexual union was more important than the superficial difference in appearance based on skin color. We are currently weighing an issue with almost the opposite realities. While everyone can observe that two women and two men are physically not compatible for sexual union and marriage relationship, we think that giving the superficial trappings of wedding rings, ceremonies, and legal paperwork will somehow make them compatible. Approving gay marriage ignores substantial realities to focus on superficial appearances – committing the same logical error that banning interracial marriage did.

   There is one notable commonality with the civil rights movement for Blacks: there have, tragically, been violence and true hate crime committed against gays. This must end. No matter how strongly you disagree with someone’s moral choices and lifestyle, that is no excuse for chaining him or her to a truck to be drug along the road,  or committing any other cruel act. These type of acts can be prevented, however, without legalizing gay marriage or making it illegal to say that homosexual behavior is wrong.

Myth #2  – Gay marriage advocates are “on the right side of history.”

   First of all, doing history means observing and interpreting events. Your moral framework will determine which side is the “right” side, and I think it’s safe to say that if we took a global vote, or a vote of all people who have lived in the earth’s history, then gay marriage advocates would find themselves on the wrong side of history by majority vote. As Justice Samuel Alito said, gay marriage is “newer than cell phones and the internet.” Thousands of years of history have judged it as wrong. Only a few smug Americans and Europeans have recently labeled it the “right side of history.”

Myth #3 – Opposing gay marriage defies the democratic process America is built on.

    I have said publicly before that if the majority of our nation votes to legalize gay marriage, then we must accept it as part of our secular culture’s life, because those are the rules of democracy. That does not mean that we ought to accept it as part of the life of the church. If this happened, then the church should become a “counterculture for the common good” (in the words of Tim Keller) on this issue, continuing to teach the followers of Christ to live by the teachings of the Bible. It is nothing new for the people of God to be at strong odds with their culture, and in a number of ways we should have a more stark contrast between the life of the church and that of the culture at large.

    In addition, the democratic process is far from settled for our nation. Without dwelling on politics for too long, please remember that there are far more states that have voted to define marriage as between a man and a woman than have voted to approve gay marriage (California, with it’s strong electoral influence, being one of them). Taking the numbers of national polls from a sample of voter and speaking as if they equal an electoral mandate is wielding false authority.