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THE TRUTH ABOUT SAME-SEX MARRIAGE6 THINGS YOU MUST KNOW ABOUT WHAT'S REALLY AT STAKE
By ERWIN W. LUTZER
Moody PublishersCopyright © 2010 Erwin W. Lutzer
All right reserved.
Chapter OneTHE CHURCH MUST SPEAK
"What difference does it make to me?" one man asked when interviewed about same-sex marriages. "It won't affect the way I love my wife and kids."
Is it true that same-sex marriages can take place in one part of our society and not affect "the rest of us"? Is this just one more of those issues that we should learn to tolerate in a free and open society?
Imagine that you are on a large boat, hoping to get to the other side of a lake, when one man insists that he has a "right" to drill a hole through the bottom of his side of the boat. When you object, he argues for tolerance and reminds you that you can just stay on your side with your friends; what he does on his side has no bearing on what you do on your side. But as the water begins to seep into the boat, you are suddenly aware that, like it or not, what one person does on his side of the boat affects everyone in the boat.
We cannot be content to rest secure in our evangelical enclaves. As we saw in the previous introduction, some very smart homosexual activists have spent the last several decades energetically and methodically remaking American attitudes toward what wasformerly broadly considered a deviant behavior. These activists have seized the agenda and control the national conversation, putting those who care about marriage and family-and how it has been understood for centuries-on the defensive.
We need, therefore, to understand and respond. The church cannot be silent.
WHAT IS A "FAMILY"?
So why should we be worried? First, we need to realize that in some quarters a concentrated push to "reinvent" the family is under way. In October of 2008, a first-grade class in San Francisco took a field trip to City Hall to celebrate the wedding of their lesbian teacher to another woman. In early 2008, in a federal appeals court in Massachusetts, the Parker and Wirthlin families were told that their local school district was well within its bounds to allow their second-grade children to be read a book about homosexual marriage. Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council responded to this ruling by saying:
It's amazing how cavalierly the court's decision dismisses the evidence that school officials engaged in the deliberate indoctrination of children. The school sought to coerce its students into accepting values that are way outside the mainstream and in direct contradiction to those of their parents. Yet the same courts that are trying to reinvent the family are encouraging the public schools to act as their surrogate.
Gone is the idea that a family should include a mother and a father in a committed relationship rearing their children. Consonant with the notion that "I and only I define what's best for me," we are witnessing an effort to redefine family. And, because of the prevalence of divorce, serial marriages, and cohabitation, the effort is pretty effective.
If we want to find out what might happen now that same-sex marriages are legal in some parts of our country, we need only take a look at what is happening in some countries of Europe, where such legislation has existed for a while. The answer, in brief, is that the change in laws has, in effect, wrought the destruction of marriage.
In an April 2007 abstract from the World Congress of Families entitled "Homosexual Unions: Rare and Fragile," the organization reports:
Progressive activists in the United States have argued strenuously in recent years that giving homosexuals the legal right to marry will improve life for homosexual couples and will consequently benefit society as a whole. A new study of same-sex marriage in Scandinavia, however, casts serious doubt on such assertions. For, as it turns out, relatively few homosexual couples avail themselves of this revolutionary right. And a surprisingly high percentage of those who do so end up in divorce court.
Consider these numbers, "Between 1993 and 2001, while Norway recorded 196,000 heterosexual marriages, the country witnessed the legal registration of only 1,293 homosexual partnerships." The situation is similar in Sweden. But the most glaring statistic might be the high incidence of divorce among homosexuals in these countries. The divorce rate among male partnerships is 50 percent higher than that for heterosexual marriages, and the divorce rate among female partnerships is double that of the males. In response to these numbers and the fact that most homosexual couples do not actually get married even when they can, Mark Christopher, author of Same-Sex Marriage: Is It Really the Same? concludes, "[Same-sex marriage] is not about marriage, it is about destroying the traditionally Christian idea of the family."
If anyone is inclined to think that civil unions are a better alternative than same-sex marriage, let's look at what is happening in France. Their "civil solidarity pacts" have been created for homosexuals so that they can file joint income tax returns and receive welfare and unemployment benefits. France took this a step further than same-sex partnerships and made these pacts available to everyone, including cohabiting heterosexual couples, to widowed sisters, even to priests and their housekeepers.
Because these pacts are easier to enter and easier to exit, and impose fewer legal obligations, many heterosexual couples enter into these agreements rather than getting married. If these couples think that these pacts provide a stable home environment for children, they should keep in mind that the rate of separation among cohabiting couples is five times that of married couples, and the reconciliation rate of cohabitors is only 33 percent of the rate among married couples.
David Frum writes, "Apologists for cohabitation praise it as a less burdensome alternative to marriage; the truth is that it is a near-certain prelude to fatherlessness." He continues:
The argument over gay marriage is only incidentally and secondarily an argument over gays. What it is first and fundamentally is an argument over marriage, ... gay marriage will turn out in practice to mean the creation of an alternative form of legal coupling that will be available to homosexual and heterosexuals alike. Gay marriage, as the French are vividly demonstrating, does not extend marital rights; it abolishes marriage and puts a new, flimsier institution in its place.
Consider: If marriage is no longer the union of one man and one woman but rather any two persons who want to cohabit, who is to say that it must be limited to two people? Why not a trio of three men or women? And why not one man with two wives or ten? After all, we must extend "equal rights" to all individuals to live according to any arrangement they wish, right? The end result is the destruction of marriage as we know it-with children the losers. It is simply not possible to have two views of marriage coexist in any one country or society.
A conference at the University of London called "Legal Recognition of Same-Sex Marriage: A Conference on National European and International Law" explored the question of whether marriage should exist at all. They discussed strategies on how to bypass each nation's democratic process and use the judicial process to sanction same-sex marriages. They also discussed how adults could be free to pursue any sexual relationship they want, with no legal restrictions whatsoever.
Gene Edward Veith, writing in World magazine, summed up the consequences for our society if marriage is redefined:
Under the emerging framework, there will be no difference between a married couple, a homosexual couple, or a couple in a temporary sexual relationship. As many advocates are putting it, "What difference does it make to the government or an employer whom you are having sex with?" This sort of reductionism-a spouse is nothing more than a sex partner, so a sex partner is the same as a spouse -misses the point of what marriage is and what its role in society amounts to.... As marriage becomes unnecessary -not just for job benefits but for adopting children, inheriting property, and being socially acceptable -the whole nation will be "living in sin."
No one knows better than the homosexuals themselves as to what same-sex marriages will mean for society as a whole. Evan Wolfson, former president of the Lambda Legal Defense and Educational Fund, a gay advocacy group, wrote the following in 2001 in an article entitled "All Together Now (A Blueprint for the Movement)":
We can win the freedom to marry.... We can seize the terms of the debate, tell our diverse stories, engage the non-gay persuadable public, enlist allies, work the courts and the legislatures in several states, and achieve a legal breakthrough within five years. I'm talking about not just any legal breakthrough but an actual change in the law of at least one state, ending discrimination in civil marriage and permitting same-sex couples to lawfully wed. This won't just be a change in the law either; it will be a change in society. For if we do it right, the struggle to win the freedom to marry will bring much more along the way.
That "much more along the way" goes far beyond the cozy media portrayals of Norman Rockwell-like gay parents and kids-which is where many good church people stop. George Dent, writing in The Journal of Law and Politics, says that once same-sex marriage is affirmed, then other forms of "marriage" will quickly be affirmed as well, such as polygamy, endogamy (the marriage of blood relatives), and child marriage. In fact, the policy guide of the American Civil Liberties Union calls for the legalization of polygamy, stating, "The ACLU believes that criminal and civil laws prohibiting or penalizing the practice of plural marriage violate constitutional protections for freedom of expression and association, freedom of religion, and privacy for personal relationships among consenting adults." After all, who is to tell adults how many partners they should have, if they have equal rights under the constitution?
Part of the strategy of deception undertaken by gays has been to try to convince straight America that they, the gays, are just like us, except that rather than John and Jane, they come together as John and John or Jane and Jane. The seamier aspects of the lifestyle -the bars, the disease, the cruising, the truly perverted practices -are intentionally downplayed. We will look at homosexual sexuality in an upcoming chapter. But listen to homosexual author Andrew Sullivan (a political conservative and professing Catholic). He says that most homosexuals understand that sexual commitment in a marriage "is much broader than what nearly all heterosexual couples will tolerate." Homosexuals, he says, have a "need for extramarital outlets" and therefore same-sex marriage will make adultery more acceptable for all married couples.
This battle is not just about the desire of some gays and lesbians to be left alone to live peaceful lives and to be able to "love" like the rest of us. It is not simply about the need for one partner to receive health-insurance benefits from the other's work.
Before we move on, please note the time line mentioned in Wolfson's article above. It was written on September 11, 2001, and his goal was for "a change in the law in at least one state" in five years. In November of 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that denying marriage to homosexuals was unconstitutional, and on May 17, 2004, the first legal same-sex marriage was performed in the United States. It happened faster than even one of the foremost gay rights leaders had hoped. What does that mean for the future? Now that the wheels of same-sex marriage have started to turn in America, our society is well down the road to a dark and unthinkable future.
WHEN TRUTH BECOMES "HATE SPEECH"
You sit in your church on a Sunday, listening to your pastor. You follow along in your Bible and take notes as he speaks on some issue relevant to your life and to our culture. Surrounded by believers and seekers, you are content.
This Lord's Day picture is a cherished part of the lives of tens of millions in this land. Yet, now that same-sex marriage has come to pass in several states in America, this freedom you and I now possess under the Bill of Rights could conceivably be imperiled.
Let it be known that part of the gay agenda is to bring about legislation that will punish churches and other private entities-and even individuals-that discriminate against their lifestyle choices. Eugene Volokh, professor of law at UCLA, summarizes their goals for us:
The gay rights movement has long involved three related goals. One has to do with liberty from government repression-freedom from sodomy prosecutions, police harassment, and the like. A second has to do with equal treatment by the government: The movement to recognize same-sex marriages is the most prominent recent example. A third has to do with delegitimizing and legally punishing private behavior that discriminates against or condemns homosexuals. (italics mine)
It is obvious that the radical homosexuals want to silence the church in any way they can, with the ultimate goal of government support for doing so. One of their tactics for silencing and/or discrediting the conservative church is by publicizing support for gays by more moderate church leaders who speak favorably of the gay agenda. A GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) publication states specifically, "Given that the most vocal opposition to same-sex couples obtaining equal marriage rights comes from religious right political groups, consider reaching out to religious leaders who support marriage for gays and lesbians." This is intended to raise questions in the minds of those who take the Bible as God's Word and therefore see homosexuality as an unnatural act. If a part of the church can support gay marriages, why should others oppose it? If mainstream Christianity agrees with them, it is just those "wacky fundamentalists" who are out of step with the gay agenda. So the "radical right," as it is called, is painted as bigoted, intolerant, and hateful-because, as we all know, Jesus supposedly welcomes all and judges none.
As far back as 1994, a gay activist proposed a change in policy of the American Psychiatric Association that would make it a violation of professional conduct for a psychiatrist to help a homosexual out of the lifestyle, even at the patient's request. This in spite of the fact that one of the association's own professional standards holds that psychiatrists need to accept a patient's own goals in treatment. It was only when objectors threatened a lawsuit against the APA, forcing it to reopen the decision of 1973 that redefined homosexuality as normal that the activists backed down.
But the point for our interest is that this gay task force made clear that it not only wanted to prevent psychiatrists from those therapies that would lead homosexuals out of the lifestyle, but they also had in mind social workers, counselors, and pastors. If same-sex marriages were legal and homosexuality were in all respects given the same status as heterosexuality, the argument could be made that it is both prejudicial and contrary to existing laws of equality to help someone change from one sexual orientation to another. Such help implies that one orientation is better than other, which some will protest as hateful and bigoted.
However, the homosexual lobby is not content with "separate but equal." In the words of Joel Belz, "It [the homosexual lobby] seeks instead to ensure that everyone else in society also engages in that behavior or at least gives it tacit approval." In other words, everyone has to do what the minority wants the privilege of doing. Then, Belz adds this, "Nor is it unthinkable in such a climate that courts will soon rule that World magazine, and other organizations like us, will be required to hire employees-including editorial writers-who are ardent proponents of same-sex marriage, and of course, who have already entered such relationships."
Excerpted from THE TRUTH ABOUT SAME-SEX MARRIAGE by ERWIN W. LUTZER Copyright © 2010 by Erwin W. Lutzer. Excerpted by permission.
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