I enjoy reading interesting takes on the controversy surrounding the same sex marriage debate. Lately the typical Christian stance has gotten a bit stale because often there are blissfully ignorant people throwing out the hell fire and damnation verses of the Bible without truly researching how or whether or not those verses are actually applicable in light of what is really going on politically when we talk about same sex marriage rights in America. The other day I read a facebook status from a friend that caught my interest and peeked my curiosity. He is a Christian, and he broke down the argument without using any of the Bible to support his case and I respect that. Not that he doesn't believe what the Bible says, I actually don't even know his stance of that part of the issue, but he had enough of a sane, coherent argument without going there Biblically so I asked him to be a guest writer for the day and he obliged. Thank you Wes. Here's his take.
In the past few weeks, due to the Supreme Court hearing a few controversial cases, Facebook has lit up with people changing their profile pictures to one icon or another in support or opposition of same-sex marriages. While I view it as a good thing to stand up for what you believe in, it has been a source of frustration for me to see how many people get off track arguing about the wrong things.
There is a certain group of people who are distorting the same-sex marriage debate into a matter of "people should have the right to 'love' whoever they want". This is misrepresenting the real issue and extinguishing rational debate, because people using this argument are characterizing anyone who would disagree with them as "anti-love". If you start an argument by intentionally offending your opponent, you really can't expect to have anything more than a shouting match. Of course, that holds true for both sides of the issue.
To borrow a line from a song by Tina Turner, "What's love got to do with it?" The facts are: You have that already. Let me reiterate that: If you say that people should have the right to love anyone they want, you're absolutely correct, but you're arguing for something that you already have. The government does not and cannot put any restrictions on "love". Love is an emotion; the government can only restrict actions. In the past, governments have tried to control people's thoughts and emotions through things like propaganda, but if one person is determined to love another, those attempts almost always backfire. That said, even though the government has the ability to regulate what people do, when it comes to actions related to love, our country imposes surprisingly very few restrictions; in the vast majority of the U.S., two consenting adults are free to perform just about any sexual act they can imagine behind closed doors, as long as no money exchanges hands.
Another common argument I see is that same-sex couples deserve "equal rights". Again, this is a diversion from the real issue, because a marriage does not convey any additional human rights beyond what an individual possesses. If you don't agree, take a look at a <a href="/http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/marriage-rights-benefits-30190.html
">list of marriage benefits</a> and tell me which of those things you think should be considered an unalienable human right. For example, it is not a human right to receive Social Security benefits for a spouse. It certainly is a nice perk, but it's not an unalienable right.
The real issue at hand is that same-sex couples are petitioning the government to provide them the same benefits and privileges that it gives to married couples. To have a sane discussion about this, I think we need to examine why the government gives benefits to married couples in the first place. The government generally grants benefits to groups of people to encourage them to provide a resource or engage in an activity that the government needs, like alternative energy or farm subsidies. If you choose to spend your life making mud pies in your back yard, you're free to do that, but you're not going to get special benefits from the government. In this case, heterosexual couples, as a general rule, produce more taxpayers. Of course, a formal marriage isn't needed for that, but a stable family environment generally produces taxpayers with less emotional issues, so it's in the government's best interests to subsidize this. My question is then, what does a same-sex couple provide, over and above what they would provide individually, that the government should provide benefits that encourage the practice? To me, this seems like getting upset that you don't qualify for farm subsidy when you don't own a farm.
Inevitably, when discussing the fact that a heterosexual couple can produce children, while homosexual couples cannot, the topic of adoptions enters the discussion because it is typically the primary method that a same-sex couple seeks to transition from a "married couple" to a "family"; which some people feel would qualify them for the same benefits used by the government to promote healthy families. However, even though a same-sex couple has the potential for raising a child, they do not have the potential for producing a child. For men, then must adopt; for women, they must involve a donor or adopt. In both cases, the child was produced by a man and woman and then transferred to the care of the same-sex couple. To re-use my farming example, I'm unlikely to get a farming subsidy for my concrete parking lot just because I can go to a local farm and bring back a corn plant in a pot of dirt.
One last thing; I did say that a stable family unit that includes a married mother and a father generally produces children with less emotional issues. This is not to say that a same-sex couple is not capable of achieving the same results, or any judgement on their parenting ability. There are all sorts of broken family situations and there are all sorts of good people who make the best of less than ideal circumstances. There are single parents that are better parents than some married couples. However, there is a lot of historical data that points to the fact that having a father and mother both engaged and involved in a child's upbringing is the is currently the best possible arrangement for the child's welfare. That is why the government is encouraging it; even if there are examples of it not working, it statistically still has the best chance of working out. There is simply not enough data available to make any comparisons to same-sex parents. Since same-sex parenting is a historically new phenomenon, a handful of success cases is not enough data to establish a pattern.