Gay marriage is having its effect in New York already. A Republican
controlled State Senate passed this law, which will have profound
effects on our culture. New York will never be the same.
No Changing the Channel, as gay marriage is already effecting New York. This past week, the Mayor of our fine city of New York inferred that myself and others who are against the sanctioning of same sex marriages by the state were "civil rights obstructionists." Though I don't agree with this title, I am grateful for his characterization. I am grateful because it beats the other names such as homophobic, bigoted and blankity-blank-blank that anyone who dares oppose the gay rights or gay marriage lobby is called.
I don't agree with the characterization because though I am firmly against same sex marriages, I do firmly believe that all individuals are created in the image of God and thus they have value in His eyes beyond our comprehension.
I also affirm with the founding document of this nation (The Declaration of Independence) "that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." New York is already effected by the new gay rights.
Equal Rights vs. Gay Rights
With that said, I want to give four reasons to explain my opposition to the sanctioning of same sex marriage. First of all I think that the argument that equal rights means that we all have the same rights is incorrect. Equality is not ameness. We are all equal but we are not all the same. Our rights are equal but they don't play out the same. Women and men are equal, but who they are and what they can and cannot do is not the same. Reality requires that I accept the fact that though my wife and I are equal under the law, she, not I is able to conceive and bear a child. She is different from me biologically. If someone advertises on Craig's List for a surrogate to carry a couples" child and I apply and I am turned down for no other reason than my gender, have I been discriminated against? No. I simply do not have the equipment that would qualify me for this task. I am equal but I am not the same. My equality doesn't give me the right to be something I am not. Same sex couples may indeed be equal to hetero-sexual couples, but they are not the same. The biology and psychology of their relationships are different than those of hetero-sexual couples.
Definitions of Marriage
This brings me to a second point. Marriage by definition is the union of two individuals. No matter how much effort same sex couples put into their relationship, they cannot experience exactly what married couples experience in regard to this union. No matter how committed they are to one another, no matter how long they stay together, they will never have the ability to fully reflect what the definition of marriage is and has been for centuries.
Hetero-sexual couples consummate and unite themselves via a very specific act. This consummation has both physical and psychological ramifications. This act is not reproducible in same sex couples. In addition, married couples, with few exceptions, conceive children through this act. Also, married couples bring two different psyches to their union - male and female. This is for the benefit of each other, the benefit of child rearing and the benefit of society in general. This unique union of male and female makes up a married couple. It is improper to lead anyone to believe that they can experience what marriage is without having the potential to share in this basic element of what marriage has always been. Marriage is the union of male and female, intimately, both physiologically and psychologically.
I am not claiming that same-sex couples don't have love for one another, but to assume that their love is the same as the love of heterosexual couples is simply incorrect. Love is a broad word with many different meanings. I love my mother but my love for my wife is quite different than my love for mom. I love my brother and sisters but my love for my wife is quite different from my love for my siblings. I have some friends both male and female whom I really love, but again my love for my wife is different than that love. To love someone of the same gender, no matter how intensely, is not the same physically and psychologically as the love that a man and a woman share. This love requires that the participants go far beyond their own understanding and seek to live with, understand, sync with and become a partner of someone who, by their very nature; thinks, feels, and acts very differently than they do. The love and level of commitment which exist between same-sex couples may be many things, but it is not the same as the love that exists between two people from two different genders. Therefore, it can be called many things but it cannot be called a marriage.
Consequences of Gay Marriage and Gay Rights
Thirdly, I believe that the law of unintended consequences of gay marriage must strongly be considered here. I am a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ. My convictions both Biblically and personally make it impossible for me to preside over a same sex marriage ceremony. Should I be forced to do these marriages regardless of my convictions and religious beliefs? I am sure you would agree that I should not be forced to violate my convictions. Presently I am quite confident that I would not be forced to officiate for this type of ceremony. However, if our state redefines marriage to include same sex couples, I expect that the requirement that ministers perform these ceremonies is not far behind. I realize that this sounds like I am overly concerned about how this will specifically impact my profession... but let's look at the social impact more closely.
How will this impact the owners of catering halls in our city and state? What if they don't want to allow a same sex marriage in their hall because of their convictions? Could they say no to a same sex marriage reception? Not on your life! This is true of florists, of jewelers, of bakeries, and of limo companies not to mention the lawyers and obstetricians who might be called upon later. The bottom line is that almost everyone in our culture will have to
accept and participate in same sex marriages regardless of their personal convictions no matter how strong their beliefs may be. There will not be a conscientious objector clause.
I can almost hear the refrain now, "if you don't like it... move". Is this the direction our politicians and Mayor really want to take us? It is as if they feel those of us who oppose same sex marriage have been left back on the evolutionary chain while they have soared to new heights and new understandings.
As far as they are concerned, we are still in the dark ages but they have been enlightened by their education and friendships. I find in this thinking a certain intellectual
elitism that is dangerous as well as offensive.
No Turning Back of Gay Marriage
Fourthly, if same sex marriage becomes the law of this city and state it will soon result in a much broader definition of marriage then we can ever imagine. If two people of the same sex can be considered a married couple then why not three people from the same sex or two males and one female or four females and one male as is allowed in some countries. The state of New York's recognition of marriage as being between one man and one woman stems from a Judea-Christian tradition.
Proponents of same sex marriage want to do away with one part of that tradition (one man and one woman) while attempting to keep other parts of the tradition (only two people in a marriage) intact. Their only logic for this is that this is the way they want it to be. If the parameter by which marriage is defined is based solely on the whims of certain special interests at any given time, what is to prevent us from accepting any number of different "pairings" or "groupings" of individuals in the future? We may soon be left with an institution that is impossible to define or defend.
The other night while I was watching one of my favorite television programs, a scene which I found objectionable came onto the screen. In response, I didn't call the
network to complain. I didn't write a letter to the editor. I just simply changed the channel. The reason that I am addressing this issue now, the reason I am speaking out
now is that if same sex marriage becomes the law of our land there will be no opportunity for us to "change the channel." If we change the definition of marriage, our society will experience change on virtually every level. This change will forever be imposed upon us all. There will be no opportunity for us to avoid the changes that will ensue. It is impossible to alter the foundation of a society without altering the very essence of that society. Marriages and families are the foundation on which our society stands. If we allow marriage and family to be redefined, our children,
our grandchildren and our great grandchildren will live in a culture that will be forever altered. And that, my friends, would be a grave and grievous mistake.
Pastor Dave Watson
Staten Island, NY