Georgetown University law professor Chai Feldblum, an appointee to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, argues that the push to redefine marriage trumps religious liberty concerns:
The New Mexico Human Rights Commission prosecuted a photographer for declining to photograph a same-sex “commitment ceremony.” Doctors in California were successfully sued for declining to perform an artificial insemination on a woman in a same-sex relationship. Owners of a bed and breakfast in Illinois who declined to rent their facility for a same-sex civil union ceremony and reception were sued for violating the state nondiscrimination law. A Georgia counselor was fired after she referred someone in a same-sex relationship to another counselor. In fact, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty reports that “over 350 separate state anti-discrimination provisions would likely be triggered by recognition of same-sex marriage.”
While homosexuality is generally becoming more widely accepted among liberal minded people, same sex marriage is still a detrimental practice for the long-term good of society. If there are more people turning gay or lesbian for the fun of it, it would affect the population not just in numbers, but also the psychology and cultural identity of the children that are raised with same sex parents.
The first argument against same sex marriages is quite obvious: the human population will dwindle. Same sex marriages means that offspring cannot be produced naturally. The married couple would have to opt for artificial insemination or to adopt a child if they plan on building a family. The amount of affection that a set of same sex parents may have on their child may differ from those born naturally, as the birthing process releases hormones such as oxytocin that allows the mother to bond with the newborn. If there is a rise in same sex marriages, it might lead to a decline in birthrates and quality of childhood life.
Having a child requires a balance in role model in order for the child to develop well. Some homosexual couples have defined gender roles, but some may fall into different parts of the gender spectrum. A man may not fully be a female due to his physical structure and psychological make-up and vice versa. Hence, the parental roles for same sex marriages may not be wholesome. Ideally, a child should both a male and female role model so that “daddy issues” or other hidden psychological barriers don’t build up. A mistake like this on a young life is mostly irreversible, and the damage may be costly for the child in their later years.
Supporters of redefinition use the following analogy: Laws defining marriage as a union of a man and a woman are unjust—fail to treat people equally—exactly like laws that prevented interracial marriage. Yet such appeals beg the question of what is essential to marriage. They assume exactly what is in dispute: that gender is as irrelevant as race in state recognition of marriage. However, race has nothing to with marriage, and racist laws kept the races apart. Marriage has everything to do with men and women, husbands and wives, mothers and fathers and children, and that is why principle-based policy has defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
This is not hypothetical. In 2009, Newsweek reported that there were over 500,000 polyamorous households in America. Prominent scholars and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) activists have called for “marriage equality” for multipartner relationships since at least 2006.
Appeals to “marriage equality” are good sloganeering, but they exhibit sloppy reasoning. Every law makes distinctions. Equality before the law protects citizens from arbitrary distinctions, from laws that treat them differently for no good reason. To know whether a law makes the right distinctions—whether the lines it draws are justified—one has to know the public purpose of the law and the nature of the good being advanced or protected.
If same sex couples were the same as opposite sex couples in fundamental ways which could be described as “marriage,” then this long, protracted, voter-nullifying, bitter debate would never have happened.
What is at issue is whether the government will recognize such relationships as marriages—and then force every citizen, house of worship, and business to do so as well. At issue is whether policy will coerce and compel others to recognize and affirm same-sex relationships as marriages. All Americans have the freedom to live as they choose, but they do not have the right to redefine marriage for everyone else.
The state has an interest in marriage and marital norms because they serve the public good by protecting child well-being, civil society, and limited government. Marriage laws work by embodying and promoting a true vision of marriage, which makes sense of those norms as a coherent whole. There is nothing magical about the word “marriage.” It is not just the legal title of marriage that encourages adherence to marital norms.
Government is not in the business of affirming our love. Rather, it leaves consenting adults free to live and love as they choose. Contrary to what some say, there is no ban on same-sex marriage. Nothing about it is illegal. In all 50 states, two people of the same sex may choose to live together, choose to join a religious community that blesses their relationship, and choose a workplace offering joint benefits. There is nothing illegal about this.
Government promotes marriage to make men and women responsible to each other and to any children they might have. Promoting marital norms serves these same ends. The norms of monogamy and sexual exclusivity encourage childbearing within a context that makes it most likely that children will be raised by their mother and father. These norms also help to ensure shared responsibility and commitment between spouses, provide sufficient attention from both a mother and a father to their children, and avoid the sexual and kinship jealousy that might otherwise be present.