Many on the right have argued the need to pass a constitutional amendment making marriage only between one man and one woman. Underlying the motivation is the oft heard argument that the family needs to be protected from secularism and a leniency towards social issues that conflict with religious or Biblical doctrine. Absent from the argument is the obvious disconnection between the amendment and actually protecting the family. Here’s the issue. The proponents argue that allowing same sex marriage will harm families as it defies both religious and historical convention in the practical definition of a family. Many argue that a child cannot be properly raised in a same sex family and therefore providing legal recognition to such arrangements is tantamount to promoting the demise of the family.
I’ve listened long and hard to these arguments with a strong sense of doubt for both the legitimacy of the argument as well as the motivations behind the argument. When I find myself in such dilemmas, I would suggest that exploring and pursuing the theory to its extreme conclusion will often illuminate the truth of the matter. So in my truth seeking exercise, I begin with looking at one man and one woman literally…meaning that if one accepts the Bible and religious doctrine as the origin of the argument, then it requires only one man and one woman…period. Not one man at a time or one woman at a time…or trading in one man for another or one woman for another…but each man must join only one woman and visa versa. I find it interesting that nothing is ever inserted into these proposed constitutional amendments that would fully uphold this underlying Biblical and religious principle. If in fact preserving and protecting the family is the purpose, then failing to fully address the issue leaves the motivations of the proponents open to skepticism. Further, the data is far more conclusive as to the damages that result from divorce and single family parenting than any of the data relative to damages inflicted upon children raised in committed same sex relationships. Where’s the outrage?
Now in fairness, there are some on the right, who support a one man and one woman amendment, that also argue that extramarital relationships are bad, that divorce is wrong, and that broken homes are injurious to children and the family. However they do not seek to add provisions to their amendments to address these issues…issues that are equally, if not more clearly outlined in religious doctrine than those that are reported to denounce same sex relationships. One must then examine why. There are numerous possibilities, albeit none as noble as the rhetoric and banter used to oppose same sex marriage. One explanation is the lesser sinner proposition…the argument that a failed marriage, adultery, or divorce between a man and a woman is a lesser sin than any same sex union. Honest Biblical scholars would acknowledge the weakness of this argument. Another possibility is that it's better to set the bar for others in order to avoid examining your own failings. In reality, the identified explanations only serve to heighten the likelihood that dubious motivations lurk beneath this inconsistent approach to protecting the family and upholding Biblical principles.
The cynic would likely go further and demand that the hypocrisy be challenged. The cynic might insist that those of principle must indeed modify their behaviors and begin to demonstrate the sincerity of their beliefs by immediately acting to effect the intended result…saving the family and the institution they put forth as sacred and certain. The cynic might then choose to take the offensive and demand that the well documented history of doctrinal disregard exhibited by numerous heterosexuals is deserving of proactive and preemptive legislation or a constitutional amendment. In fact the cynic might go so far as to ask the proverbially pregnant question…is this push to save marriage and the family from same sex unions simply bigotry at work? Call me a cynic.