I don’t know how a society that wants to put the emotional fulfillment of adults ahead of the well being of its children can survive. And that is what troubles me most about Same-Sex Marriage; children are the afterthought.
The central issue is being neglected by our culture in the SSM debate. Most of the discussion, nearly all of it in the media, is on the inequality and discrimination of not allowing gay couples to marry. But who should be allowed to marry is step two isn’t it? Progressing to “who can marry?” comes only after we know what marriage is and what marriage is for.
There are two views about marriage today. The traditional view of marriage, the view that nearly every civilization has held up until now, says that marriage is between one man and one women because that is the union that is able to procreate and is best suited to raise healthy children and thereby provide a solid foundation for healthy civilizations. This view is not based on the Bible’s teaching; it is not a religious view of marriage, but the bible does affirm this view.
Research and our common experience show the goodness that comes from parents raising their biological children together in a low conflict marriage. Men and women each bring something unique and valuable to parenting. They are each indispensable. And together in the same household, they can become a powerful force for the good of their children and thereby society.
This view of marriage is really quite simple. Healthy families build a healthy world. And families are most healthy when children are lovingly raised by their biological moms and dads.
The revisionists view of marriage says that marriage is only about the emotional well-being of adults. It says that the foundation of marriage is love. Love alone is what is important. It is what draws you into marriage and out of it.
But should the foundation of something so important be an unstable and powerful emotion?
Now, by asking this question I don’t mean to say that love has no place in marriage. Romantic attraction and the fulfillment of those desires are good. But we have it backwards. We ask, "Is my love strong enough to support a marriage?". But it is the other way around.
Marriage is the institution that upholds your love and directs it toward something greater than itself. It channels love and passion and makes it a powerful force for the good of others. And I’m sure you see why it must be this way. If marriage were only about the emotional bond of consenting adults, what happens when the emotions change? What happens to the children that come from these marriages? What happens to society at large?
We've seen what happens haven't we? When the emotions fade the marriage ends, the children suffer, and the government grows.
But marriage is more sacred that our ever changing emotions. It is a covenant that is entered into freely. We are not driven to it as slaves held captive by our emotions and sexual desires. Rather in marriage, we choose to give ourselves to another person for their good and the good of our children even if we are not fulfilled. What a beautiful thing. What an appropriate foundation for the world to be placed upon.
Healthy families can be the foundation of a healthy world. And families are most healthy when children are raised by their moms and dads. Embracing the revisionist view of marriage would mean that we now believe that children can flourish no matter their family structure. It would mean that we are creating an institution that by its very nature will promote the separating of children from one or more of their biological parents. It would mean that we think we can just plug children into whatever environment is best for us without any negative consequences for them.
Do we really believe this? Do we really think this is good? Is it healthy to think about marriage primarily in terms of how it fulfills adults emotionally? Should children and society only enter the discussion as secondary concerns? If so, let us reconsider and have a civilized conversation free from name calling. And let us enter into a discussion about marriage with children and society in the fronts of our minds, not hiding behind our emotions and rhetoric.
Valuable Resources to Help with this Topic
"What is Marriage?" A sermon delivered by Michael C. Sherrard at Crosspoint Community Church in Peachtree City, Ga to offer a bit of clarity and hope by showing God’s good design for marriage.
God, Marriage & Family: Rebuilding the Biblical Foundation by Andreas J. Köstenberger,
and David W. Jones. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2004.)
Same-Sex Marriage: A Thoughtful Approach to God's Design for Marriage by Sean
McDowell and John Stonestreet. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2015)
What Is Marriage?: Man and Woman: A Defense by Sherif Girgis, Ryan T Anderson, and Robert P. George. (New York: Encounter, 2012.)