Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Marriage: The Word Has a Meaning

Across the country, many states are trying to push for laws legalizing "marriage" between homosexual couples. Many Liberals attempt to claim that this is an issue of equal protection under the law. Conservatives are opposed to it on moral grounds.  Yet there is one thing that does not get said enough on the Right.  The fact is the word marriage has a very specific definition, and has had a very specific definition since the beginning of time.

Webster's Dictionary gives the following definition of marriage:

Marriage (n):  the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law.

That's right folks, being united to a person of the opposite sex.  That is what the word marriage means.  Marriage is not just any union between any two people.  It means one man (husband) and one woman (wife).  This is the definition of the word.

Recently (relatively speaking), the concept of "gay marriage" has become part of the lingo in America.  The argument is that homosexual couples ought to have the right to join together in marriage just as heterosexual couples do.  This is the claim. 

For the record, due to my Christian faith, I believe the act of homosexuality is indeed a sin.  The Bible says:

You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination. - Leviticus 18:22

For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. - Romans 1:26-27

This is what God, who created us, has to say on the matter.  He says homosexuality is a sin, and I will not argue with Him.  That being said, I am also a Constitutionalist.  I recognize that there can be no legislation of morality on certain topics.  We most certainly legislate against sins that are harmful to other people like murder and theft. 

Legally speaking, I do not believe we have a right to stop people from uniting with each other in some sort of union.  My recommendation for years has been to create a similar union for homosexual couples that carries the same legal rights as marriage.  Whether you call it a civil union, or perhaps fratremony and soromony (from the Latin words frater, meaning brother and soror, meaning sister), I believe it you would find many of the people who oppose calling homosexual unions "marriage" would find this solution at least begrudgingly acceptable.  (I'm one of them, begrudgingly.)

This brings me to the crux of this issue: even if homosexual couples were granted legal rights similar to those shared by married couples, would that union be legitimately called marriage?  My answer is no.  As I stated above, the word marriage has a meaning.  It has had a specific meaning throughout the history of mankind. 

I want to make one thing perfectly clear while we're at it. I also reject the concept of polgamous marriage. I believe the Bible does not condone this practice either. It is true that many Old Testament heroes had multiple wives, like David, Solomon, and others. That being said, nowhere in the hundreds of commandments and laws of the Old Testament is the practice of pologamy condoned by God. There are historical recordings of Bible heroes engaging in pologamy, but that is not the same thing as God condoning it. The reality of the practice of pologamy in the Bible is it is recorded in a period during the Bible without widespread knowledge of the Scriptures. As one theologian friend once told me, the priests told David, Solomon, etc that multiple wives was acceptable, so they proceeded. I do not believe God intended pologamy any more than He intended homosexual marriage. You've heard it said that it was Adam and Even not Adam and Steve? Well I will also state that it was Adam and Eve not Adam and Eve, Sue, Jane and Sally.

The Bible is very clear when describing the first marriage:

But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.

And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.

And Adam said:

“This is now bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”
Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. - Genesis 2:20-24

The Bible is of course not the only source that can be given, but for Christians it is most definitely the highest source.  Additionally, in the history of the world, no examples are found of a unions other than heterosexual ones being referred to as marriage until the last few decades.

For years I have used the analogy of a fruit salad in this case.  Imagine you have a bowl of grapes.  You refer to this bowl of grapes as a fruit salad.  But, by definition, a bowl of grapes is not a fruit salad.  A fruit salad is defined as a fruit dish consisting of multiple kinds of fruit cut up and mixed.  You can have a different discussion about whether or not grapes are good to eat on their own all you want, a bowl of grapes is not a fruit salad.*

No matter how many times you call a bowl of grapes a fruit salad, it will not be a fruit salad. It is a bowl of grapes. Same goes with marriage. Marriage has a specific meaning too. Just like a fruit salad has multiple kinds of fruit, the ingredients to create marriage are one man and one woman. Calling a union between two men and two women marriage is simply a misnomer.

Some Liberals have argued that a differently named union is a violation of Brown v. Board of Education’s ruling that “separate is not equal.” I have heard this argument before, and I think it is a manipulation of history. First off, I have zero problem with any adult man marrying any adult woman. If a black man wants to marry a white woman, I have no issues. If an Asian woman wants to marry a Hawaiian man, have at it. Men and women of all races are welcome to marry each other. Again, no matter how often you call a union of two men or two women a marriage, it does not meet the criteria.

Perhaps such a concept still seems wrong to you and too much like segregation. Let me offer a second analogy: Since marriage requires a license, another comparison of licenses will demonstrate the principle. I currently hold a license to drive in New York State. It is a type D license, which means I am legally allowed to drive any standard automobile, whether it be a compact car, a full sized sedan, a sport utility vehicle, a pickup truck, or a van. However, if I wanted to drive a motorcycle, a school bus, or an 18 wheeler, my license would not apply. I would need to obtain a different license. Why? Because while cars, pickup trucks, vans and SUVs are all the same kind of vehicle, motorcycles and school buses are entirely different things. Same goes for what I am suggesting for homosexual unions. They are not the same type of union as marriage. If you want to give those unions certain rights, legally I have no right to stop it. However, do not try to expand union that heterosexual couples share to include your different sort of union.

I’m certain the handful of Liberals who are reading this post are very upset at my presumption at this point. For those Conservatives who have never tried it, I recommend you make this precise suggestion to friends who support gay marriage. For the record, I do believe this is the best balance of following Biblical morality  that can be legally offered without trampling the Constitution.

That being said, whenever I have presented this proposal it has been universally met with anger by Liberals. It is here that you realize the truth of the gay marriage agenda. It is not about rights. If it were about rights they would create their own union. The reality is, like so many other Liberal ideals, it is about sneaking in a concept that is not palatable to Americans by making them feel guilty. They talk about right to marry. They regularly try to lump being opposed to gay marriage with being opposed to interracial marriage.

There is, of course, one major thing that defines a marriage that same sex couples cannot achieve, ever. Interracial couples, of course, most definitely can. Let me give you scriptures:

Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth. – Genesis 1:28

Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, "I have acquired a man from the LORD. – Genesis 4:1

Did you figure it out? For those of you from Palm Beach County, FL, the word is CHILDREN. It takes one man and one woman to conceive a child.  This is a biological fact that cannot be disputed. You can try as much as you like, but two men cannot conceive a child alone, nor can two women. This ability is biologically unique to one man and one woman. It was God’s plan for parenthood. Furthermore, since God intended sex to be reserved for the marriage bed, and we know from the scriptures I’ve named here that one of God’s intentions for sex was procreation (the other was marital intimacy, that is, "the two shall become one flesh").

Marriage is a unique union. It has a meaning. It serves a purpose that only a union between a man and a woman can fulfill, procreation. As I said, as a Christian, I believe homosexuality is a sin. As a Constitutionalist I won’t stand in the way of secular institutions with legal rights attached. That doesn't mean I will condone it morally.  It does mean that I recognize the balance between what I will condone privately and what I have a right to require legally from a secular government.

If it is really about rights, create your own union.  Don’t try to co-opt ours. Marriage has a meaning. That meaning is one man and one woman. Period.


* I would like to take this occasion to apologize to any grape enthusiasts I may have unintentionally offended with this analogy.  Grapes are a tasty fruit worthy of consumption.  Unlike the practice of homosexuality, I am very much in favor of the consumption of this tasty fruit.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson,
Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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