Friday, January 22, 2010

Grek Koukl on "same-sex marriage"



In a recent BLOG POST, Greg Koukl offers some very interesting counter-arguments that you might hear from those who not only support same-sex marriage, but infer that we should support it as well. I thought his insights were so articulate that I figured i'd paste them here for you all to read. Feel free to share any of your thoughts as well:

Either there’s a natural teleology to marriage or there’s not

Who are you to say?” That challenge works both ways. First, if my disapproval isn’t legitimate, then why is my approval legitimate? If I don’t have the right to judge something wrong (“Who are you to say?”), I certainly don’t have the right to judge it right (“Who am I to say?”). Second, why is it that I can’t make a moral judgment here, but apparently you can?

The appeal for a change in marriage laws is an attempt to change the moral consensus about homosexuality.

You invite me to make a moral judgment, then you challenge my right to make a judgment when I don’t give the answer you want. Who am I to judge? You asked for the peoples’ moral opinion by asking for the people to vote on an initiative giving homosexual unions equal status with heterosexual unions.

Why should homosexuals be allowed to marry? Because it’s “fair.” In what sense is the present situation unfair? Because homosexual relationships don’t get legal/social recognition equal with heterosexual relationships. You’re right, they don’t, but why is that unfair? Because those relationships are equal to heterosexual relationships? But that’s the very thing under dispute.

If there is no natural teleology to marriage and families, then the definition of marriage is simply a matter of convention. We can define it how we want. Now, I don’t accept that view, but even if I did, this doesn’t help homosexual marriage. Society has voted, and they’ve voted it out. On what grounds do you appeal for a change? Moral grounds? You’ve surrendered that opportunity when you claim that there is no right or wrong definition of marriage. If so, I have no moral obligation to opt for one view over another. If marriage is merely defined by society, well then, we voted and defined it as one man and one woman. You asked for a social consensus, you got it.

Second, if marriage is merely what we define it then what keeps us from expanding the definition of marriage beyond the inclusion of homosexuality to other kinds of relationships? Can I marry my daughter, or another man and his wife? Can two men marry the same woman simultaneously? Believe me, these aren’t outlandish examples. There are already groups moving for further redefinition if that’s all marriage is. There is no limit to how marriage might be defined in this view.

The only way a claim of injustice or unfairness can stick is if we have a moral obligation to view all sexual or emotional combinations as equal. But that depends on an objective standard, and that is a concept already jettisoned when society is asked to define marriage as they wish. If there’s a moral standard of fairness to appeal to, then there’s a moral standard for marriage to appeal to, as well.

5 comments:

Marcus McElhaney said...

Wow! I wrote about this yesterday on my blog: Cindy & Meghan McCain Poses for Ad Supporting Gay Marriage -- Politics Daily

Amanda West said...

Wow. I hadn't heard about this yet. But he definitely makes a point.

And I agree.

Samantha Mae said...

Oh man, I wish I would have read this blog before now. We would have had a far more interesting talk at lunch on Sunday. =)

My personal opinion on the matter is, denying same sex marriage is a violation of religious freedom. Civil and religious marriages are two separate institutions with very little in common, other then a name. Once we start crossing over, we open the flood gates, which could drastically hurt those on both sides of the fence. The right to religious freedom protects everyone, including those who do not believe in a religion.

"The appeal for a change in marriage laws is an attempt to change the moral consensus about homosexuality."

I don't find this statement to be true. Subjective at best.

There are lots of laws/pending legislation that I support, yet find morally wrong. Same sex marriage, being one of them. For me, there is no room for religion/morality in the legislation process. Not because I don't most often agree with something that may be Christian leaning, but because basing laws on religious motives sets precedent on the process. What happens when the ACLU starts pressing politicians on drafting legislation based on the beliefs of Islam? Once you have case laws with precedent, it opens the doors for just such issues. Can you imagine living in a country that allows honor killings, because some people find it morally acceptable?

Secondly, I find the argument of multiple wives or family marriage a bit old. If a father and daughter wanted to have the same rights as a married couple, there are steps to do so legally without even getting married. They can file for power of attorney and have a living will, which gives the exact same rights as a spouse in a marriage. The only thing they don't get, is a tax break. They can go on living happily ever after with the same rights as a married couple. Which brings me to my answer for this whole argument:

Dissolve the word "marriage" as far as the state is concerned. Lets be honest, many people now a days (straight couples) get married for all the wrong reasons anyway... a matter of convenience (tax breaks, spousal rights, ect) which degrades the Christian meaning of the word.

You want to have rights, go ahead and walk down to the court house and get a civil union (gay couples, straight couples, what have you.) You want to get married... then go to your church of choice and do so in the eyes of God.

The differences between the two institutes are astronomical, and fighting to "save marriage laws" seems to be a waste to me, seeing is that the laws itself have nothing to do what what marriage actually is, and everything to do with the laws of rights. Where as marriage as a religious institution, have nothing in common with said laws as far as the state in concerned.


Just my two cents.

Mike Felker said...

Hey Samantha, I wish you had read this earlier to so we could have talked about it more! Either way, thanks for sharing your two cents. I found your comments to be very insightful, but had a few disagreements.

One thing that needs to be pointed out right off the bat is that you want the word "marriage" dissolved from the state. And it seems that most of your comments stems from this. But this is a completely separate issue from what is being discussed in this blog. Keep in mind that it is the same-sex marriage advocates who are fighting for a legal institution of their view.

So unless you are wanting to defend that view that same-sex marriage should be institutionalized, a lot of what you said may be more appropriately directed at something that seeks to defend the state institution of "marriage" in general. But some of your comments definitely were relevant to the topic, so i'll address a few of them.

First, I don't think anyone on my side is arguing that same sex couples don't have the right to get married. Certainly, anyone can have a religious ceremony and marry whoever or whatever they want. But the question is, why should the state recognize this as marriage? And you are correct that the state and religion are two separate entities, which actually reinforces the point. Because if they were the same, then we'd be having many more problems on our hands than we already do.

Next, I do believe that "the appeal for a change in marriage laws is an attempt to change the moral consensus about homosexuality." The reason being, there is no way to get around the fact that this is a moral issue. Take an extreme example: is it immoral for a pedophile to marry and have sex with a 5 year old? Of course! And if that ever got introduced as a legalized institution for marriage, would you find this to be merely "subjective?"

I'm with you on the fact that there are a lot of legislations that we support that we find morally wrong. But the question still remains: why should the state recognize same-sex couples as "married?" I've still never heard a convincing argument for this, when marriage has always been defined as a union between man and woman. Again, if you want to throw it out all together, that's a whole separate issue. But the activists want it redefined altogether. Why?

Last, I would have to disagree that saving marriage laws is a waste of time. Aside from religious views, there is a reason why almost every government has legally recognized marriages; and its not just for religious reasons, as even non-religious societies have. Its because marriage is the building blocks of society, and providing specialized benefits will only encourage this.

Hopefully, my views made sense. And feel free to respond, as i'd be interested in hearing more of your views.

slaveofone said...

"The appeal for a change in marriage laws is an attempt to change the moral consensus about homosexuality."

The reason for a change in marriage law has to do with legislation, not morality. It may be morally wrong, for instance, for a person to have sex with multiple partners, but that doesn’t make it illegal—nor should it. It isn’t a question of morality. Same goes for homosexual marriage. One could be disgusted with the immorality of it and yet at the same time uphold its legality—there is a vast difference between support of it morally and support of it legally or vice versa. To say there is no difference is a logical fallacy. We have marriage laws in this country in order to regulate the institute of marriage, not to support, define, or reject those relationships morally. When someone asks “who are you to deny the right to marriage to someone simply because they are gay,” they are not asking a moral question, they are asking a legislative question. What is the legal basis of allowing marriage to a heterosexual person but not a homosexual person? If Greg K wants to say that homosexual marriages are fundamentally different than hetereosexual marriages and that the outcome of that difference is a reason to deny the same marriage rights to homosexuals, then let him provide his evidence and stop all this flatulence about morality and moral judgment.

"If there is no natural teleology to marriage and families, then the definition of marriage is simply a matter of convention."

That’s right. Marriage is a matter of convention. And so is its legislation. Nations and states exist on the basis of convention. There is nothing inherent IN NATURE that says where, why, or how any government should exist and in what form it should have or form its rule of law. Marriage laws exist on the basis of the convention that forms the basis for government. Undo that basis and you undo the government, state, and nation.

"Society has voted, and they’ve voted it out. On what grounds do you appeal for a change? Moral grounds?"

One argues against it on the grounds that it violates the conventions on which our government, state, and nation exists. U.S. government and legislation is founded on the principle—rightly or wrongly—that all human beings, regardless of their skin color, how many limbs they have, who they like to have sex with, whatever, exist equally in nature. U.S. government is therefore established in order to protect and uphold the equality that is naturally inherent to all human beings. Unless there is something about the homosexual marriage that interferes in the natural rights of others, there should be no issue against it. And Greg K has certainly given us no reason to think that there is.

"if marriage is merely what we define it then what keeps us from expanding the definition of marriage beyond the inclusion of homosexuality to other kinds of relationships?"

The state, nation, and government, for one. Definitions cannot merely be changed on a whim, they exist within a structure of government. I don’t know how one might argue for other forms of marriage, but for it to be valid, it would have to be a LEGAL argument according to the convention on which government is founded and doesn’t deny or interfere with the same application to others. The only way to change that situation would be to abolish the government and start a new one with a different convention as its foundation.

"The only way a claim of injustice or unfairness can stick is if we have a moral obligation to view all sexual or emotional combinations as equal."

I’m afraid this argument just doesn’t hold any water. No injustice—at least in the U.S.A.—is decided upon morals reasons, but upon legislative reasons. If anyone tried to make an argument for one type of justice or injustice in a court of LAW based on MORALS, they would lose their case.