Monday, June 1, 2015

What If We Compare Marriage Rights to Voting Rights?

God is the author of true marriage, but this does not resonate well with same-sex marriage activists. The “Adam & Eve, not Adam & Steve” argument doesn’t go very far. Reflex rebuttals include, “You have no right to impose your religion on others.” and the familiar “Separation of Church and State”. When the dialog shuts down I find that secular arguments tend to re-boot the discussion.

Why is the government in the marriage business? Why does the government grant certain rights at all? Why would one set of rights be seen as unfair and another fair? To help answer the question it can be helpful to compare what is perceived to be a problem to what is perceived to be OK.  This can also help to determine if there is actually any problem at all.
No comparison is perfect, but comparing voting rights in the context of elections to marriage rights in the context of procreation comes eerily close. The granting of special rights normally implies some special responsibility with regard to said rights. If one is granted the right to vote or the right marry, it follows that you should do something with that right for the common good.

So what can we say about voting rights? The base rationale for voting is to conduct elections. People given the right to vote are generally anticipated to actually vote, but no one will force you and no one will take away your right because of non-participation.

Not everyone is allowed to vote. There is an age limit because a serious responsibility is involved, and a unique status called citizenship is required. The French are not allowed to vote in a U.S. election and neither are the Chinese. This not because of hatred toward the French and the Chinese, it is because they are not applicable to the situation.

The sought after outcome is a functional government. We all know that voting & elections do not guarantee a functional government, but if we have a one, the elected members will strive for the common good and everyone ultimately wants that.

So what can we say about marriage rights? The base rationale for marriage (as far as the government would ever care) is procreation. People given the right to marry are generally anticipated to procreate, but no one will force you and no one will take away your right because of non-participation.

Not everyone is allowed to marry. There is an age limit because a serious responsibility is involved and a unique status of a male-female union is required. Close relatives are not allowed to marry and (in many places still) gays are not allowed to marry. This is not because of hatred toward close relatives and gays; it is because they are not applicable to the situation.

The sought after outcome is a functional family. We all know that marriage & procreation does not guarantee functional families, but if we have them, the created members will strive for the common good and everyone ultimately wants that.

Visuals are most helpful:
And then we get into all the “Buts”…
  • But gay couples could raise a functional family too.
    • And the French could vote in a U.S. election, possibly resulting in a functional government, so we should let them? The French are not applicable to a U.S. election just as gay partnerships are not applicable to procreation.
  • But they can adopt.
    • Adoption is not procreation; it is dealing with children that are already with us.

  • But what about surrogacy and impregnation?
    • This is procreation, but that’s all it is. Any one person or group of people can arrange it. If this is how to achieve functional families, then special marriage rights would not be intrinsic for either gay or straight couples.

  • But marriage rights have nothing whatsoever to do with procreation. Childless married couples prove this.
    • Just like voting rights have nothing whatsoever to do with elections. People who don’t vote prove this…Really?

  • But if you give those who don’t procreate the right to marry, you have to let gays marry.
    • And if you give those who don’t vote the right to vote, we have to let the Chinese vote?

  • But marriage is about love.
    • And voting is about patriotism? Are we after some tangible objective for the common good or just granting rights for the sake of granting rights; rights for the personal happiness and gratification of individuals?

In the last analysis, if there were no elections, there would be no voting. If there was no procreation, there would be no marriage. Of course, if there was no procreation we would not be here to discuss it, but let’s say humans reproduce asexually; would marriage exist at all? Seems silly, but think about that one. Do you suppose that defining marriage throughout history and throughout the world the way humans reproduce, as one man and one woman, is some kind of weird coincidence?

Marriage should be reinforced, not redefined. Take that into the voting booth the next time you're there.


  1. Many Christian denominations have no problem with gay marriage and have been at the forefront in promoting it. They may be right or they may be wrong but the have a right to their beliefs and morals just like those denominations who oppose gay marriage. One could argue that allowing gay marriage for those denominations that are in favour of it is a promotion of religious liberty.

  2. "... but they have a right to their beliefs and morals just like those denominations who oppose gay marriage."

    I agree but that is not what is happening. Those of us who oppose ssm are being mocked, ridiculed, hated and in increasing number being persecuted and prosecuted. I agree with your post Ben but if we think this whole issue about ssm is about marital rights we best think again. It is about destroying marriage and families rather than homosexuals gaining the same marital rights as heterosexual couples. Marriage is to be done away with. Destroy marriage destroy civilization as we know it. Sadly I think it is as simple as that. Where there is rage all reason escapes us and that is what we are seeing I believe. Thank you

    1. People who oppose SSM should not be mocked, even when they don't bake cakes or sell flowers to gays. For centuries gays were jailed and in some cases killed for their actions. Nothing comparable is being done today. I live in a country that has had gay marriage now for a decade and I do not see how it is affecting my marriage or the OSM of families or friends.

      I believe the fear is that as gays become more public, people get to know them as people, not as stereotypes one realizes that they are in many ways like us. Yes, different in their sexuality, bit essentially the same otherwise. And once that happens, as it has with most of the young generation, it becomes hard to think of their actions as :"intrinsically disordered".

    2. Hi Michael,
      Stop and think of the big picture about marriage in terms of permanence, sexuality and procreation. All three of these are intrinsically linked and trying to break them apart is intrinsically disordered and causes suffering for everyone.

      How many people including countless children suffer and die because of fornication, divorce, abortion & STD’s? How much is poverty increased? It relates to sexual confusion. In legalizing SSM, governments are enforcing the idea that marriage, sex and procreation are NOT linked. This further extends the confusion. Removing the rational basis for a norm will erode adherence to that norm. The government is a kind of teacher with great influence on public institutions, and public institutions shape our ideas, and ideas have consequences.

    3. I am thinking of the big picture. Fornication, divorce, etc. existed for years before SSM. Heterosexuals have messed up many lives with those vices.

      Governments and many religions have allowed marriage in situations where sex and procreation are not an option. The Catholic church's teaching is such that a person who is physically unable to have sex cannot be married, yet society allows that. For marriage is more than sex, it's companionship, love, sharing, and many things other than sex.

      What I have seen in the 10 years since gay marriage has become a fact here in Canada is many gay couples are settling down, making permanent commitments to each other, in some cases raising children and contributing positively to society.

      I can honestly not think of how gay marriage has affected my marriage in any way. I can think of many other factors in society that have an effect but not gay marriage. If you are married has it affected you?

    4. "physically unable to have sex cannot be married, yet society allows that."
      No it doesn't. Inability (or refusal) to consummate a marriage is grounds for anulling a marriage in secular courts.

    5. A civil marriage can be annulled if one person is unable to have sex only if the other spouse did not know of this. Civilly couples can be married if the are unable to have sex and the marriage is civilly valid if they entered into this marriage with that full knowledge. The Catholic Church, however, forbid this marriage. I would suggest that this sanctioning of No Sex marriage (NSM) by civil authorities has done as much damage to OSM as SSM has.

    6. “Heterosexuals have messed up many lives with those vices.”
      Agreed. Heterosexuals caused SSM. I did a post on that.

      “The Catholic church's teaching…”
      When I talk religion, some say keep your religion out of this. When I make only secular arguments, like this post, the same people bring up religion. It’s fascinating.

      “For marriage is more than sex, it's companionship, love, sharing, and many things other than sex”

      Why issue a special license for this and give it a special name? Why sex? Why exclusive? Why two? Why permanent? Why property? Why government? Why rights? Why bother? Procreation links all these ideas.

      Our society is getting very proficient at making assertions & demands, but not so skilled at asking & answering “why”.

    7. I never said Heterosexuals caused SSM. My comment was that all the things that you attributed to gay marriage have been "practiced" by heterosexuals for centuries.

      Can you name one way the gay marriage has actually affected your marriage or a marriage of someone you know? I've never had anyone come up with an answer.

    8. Gay marriage has caused even greater sexual confusion about the purpose of sex among people my wife and I both know. How to best deal with their confusion has put stress on my marriage. But perhaps my wife and I are the ones who are confused, right? We then we get into the mother of all questions “How do we know what’s true?”

      Furthermore, the question is not relevant. How something affects me personally not does make it objectively good or bad or even neutral.

    9. Here's a heterosexual couple in Australian whose marriage has been affected by SSM.

    10. Hi R1,
      An interesting link.
      Thanks for sharing.

  3. "Where there is rage all reason escapes us."

    This is true! It seems that this is where we are at now in our country. So,..... How can we use reason at all to persuade people of the Truth- The Gospel. Reason is not wanted here. I suppose we must live Truth. This means as you rightly pointed out, that: "Those of us who oppose ssm (will continue to be) are being mocked, ridiculed, hated and in increasing number being persecuted and prosecuted. Fasting, prayer and love of others will be our best witness moving forward.

    1. I think we are at or very close to the point where a rational discussion is over concerning ssm. Yes, as you say we must live the truth and proclaim it to all who will listen, but as we are fighting a spiritual battle of such enormity that again, as you said, fasting, prayer and love is the best recourse we have. Ben, as you mentioned in the comments in one or your replies to me in an earlier post, this whole movement is indeed demonic. There is no other way to explain the extremely short time it took to get us to this point.

  4. When people begin to be prosecuted for not accepting a delusional concept such as ssm, how is this not being affected? How am I not affected when I am called bigoted and hateful for believing and claiming marriage is between a man and woman only? When a delusion such as ssm is protected by law then we have a huge problem, especially for those of us that hold to reality which in this case is that marriage is a union of a man and woman for the purpose of procreation and establishing a stable relationship for children as well as being the foundation of communities.

    We can no longer depend on our Freedom of Religion to protect us. We can no longer abide by our conscience without defying the law. We can no longer choose not to participate in things that we deem sinful simply because of a delusion that is protected by law.

    Ssm can become the law of the land, but those of us that do not have our heads in the sand can never recognize it as a marriage. Those who wish to engage in ssm or support those that do can go ahead and do what they want but in return I expect them to respect my Freedom of Religion. And as far as I can see right now my right to live my conscience is being chipped away by a movement that is not based on reality.....but a delusion. When I am considered hateful for opposing ssm it affects my wife. When she is considered hateful for opposing ssm I am affected. Hence, our marriage is affected.

    So tell us. How are we unaffected by ssm?

  5. I enjoyed your essay. One of the difficulties is that it argues from logic, and the ssm movement is driven by sentiment and emotion. Logic is lost on them. They will listen and agree to what you say because it is logical, then they will say "You're probably right, but I feel that gays should not be treated unfairly." They seem to feel that "gay rights" are irrelevant to them personally.

  6. Beautiful and Valuable post.
    May God open the eyes of the blind...!