Virtual Voices

Marriage redefined: Implications

Marriage

Only last Tuesday, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that California's voter-approved Proposition 8-a state constitutional amendment that defined marriage as between a man and a woman-was unconstitutional.

Already it seems like old news, but the implications of marriage redefined are anything but old news. Left in the court decision's wake are the implications of homosexual "marriage," some of which are obvious.

A universal and divinely ordered institution, marriage also is legally recognized by the state. Marriage is a public legal act and the foundation that orders society, builds families, and supports the rearing of children. Marriage is a social contract between complementary sexes, and children greatly benefit from such unions. Generally, children living with their married, biological parents are physically safer and report better emotional health than children who don't. They engage in fewer risky behaviors, including substance abuse and delinquency. They're less likely to have premarital sex or to become pregnant out of wedlock.

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Marriage is a relationship of opposites. In redefining it to include people of the same sex, marriage is rendered meaningless, and children are deprived of a normal family. Children from same-sex unions, begat through a known or unknown sperm donor or womb, are deprived of what they long for, even if they can't articulate it: a mother and father, not two mothers or two fathers.

Allowing courts to redefine marriage as between two men or two women will lead to courts further expanding the definition of marriage. Do you think it's silly to suggest homosexual "marriage" paves the way to legal recognition of polygamous and incestuous relationships? Not long ago, the mere thought of homosexuals openly declaring their behavior normal seemed just as ludicrous. Now they claim marriage is a civil right, a matter of equality.

Maggie Gallagher, president of the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy, wrote that once the equality principle is codified, "the next step will be to use the law to stigmatize, marginalize, and repress those who disagree with the government's new views on marriage and sexual orientation." Homosexuals have the same civil rights as everyone else, and restricting marriage to one man and one woman doesn't deprive them of any. But as Gallagher notes, redefining marriage certainly will deprive us of ours.

Homosexuals argue that "marriage" between two men or two women is like interracial marriage. They attempt to co-opt the historic struggle to combat legal racial segregation. The two are not even close. Loving v. Virginia (1967) lifted the racial restriction on heterosexual marriage. Government segregation was about maintaining a subordinate class of citizens based on race, and no one can claim, with a straight face, that homosexuals in the United States are a subordinate class.

The implications of marriage redefined are neither harmless nor alarmist. They are tangible and happening right now. Christians should speak out loudly and often against this wholesale reordering of society while we still can. If we continue down this path, marriage will be meaningless.

La Shawn Barber
La Shawn Barber

La Shawn writes about culture, faith, and politics. Her work has appeared in the Christian Research Journal, Christianity Today, the Washington Examiner, and other publications

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