A friend of mine asked me on Facebook about my position on homosexual marriage after I approvingly linked this article by John Stossel. Rather than give him an essay length reply message I thought it might be a bit easier to read it here.
It is a little complicated so please bear with me. I guess I am moving to a position that many of the die-hards within the politically aware conservative Christian community wouldn’t hold, though I share the same basic beliefs, so I have a quite involved answer to the question.
First and foremost, I am a Christian so the Bible is my guide in all things so I would begin by saying that sex and marriage have been designed by God to be experienced within the context of life-long, monogamous heterosexual marriage. Anything outside of this is going against the design God has made within us and society (so homosexuality, de-facto marriage, divorce, etc) so it will always be damaging to people. I personally oppose homosexual marriage, as I do divorce and de-facto marriage, which I have said is much more damaging to marriage than homosexual marriage ever will be in a previous post.
At this point, I am in complete agreement with any number of Christian commentators and organisations. Where things for me get a bit more complex is that I think I have a different set of criteria for what makes for good social policy than many of my fellow believers.
I personally think that by and large, people should be able to voluntarily enter into any contract they like. In my view, wide individual liberty to live your life however you choose (even if it is immoral) is the lesser evil compared to the tyranny of state intervention. Coercion by others is an evil to be opposed. On this basis, I have no problem per se with homosexuals being able to enter into a marriage contract, even though I think it is completely contrary to what is good for people. It is better that I am made uncomfortable and preserve our freedom to do as we want than rule this out and allow others to impinge on my freedom.
But (and it’s a relatively big but) there is more at stake than just whether homosexuals can be married under the terms of the Marriage Act 1961. For many on the Left, this is a vehicle for firstly, normalising homosexuality (not a terrible goal in and of itself) and then secondly, forcing Christians (primarily) to accept homosexuality as legitimate and not grounds for discrimination within Christian organisations and churches. It is this second thing that is what concerns me, and most other Christians, most.
If the approach was taken that John Stossel suggests, I could probably abide by that. Sure, I don’t agree with homosexual marriage but in an imperfect world, I have to live with compromise. Homosexuals can have their recognition and Christians can continue to practice their religion in a way that is conscionable to them.What Christians worry about is that it won’t stop at that and to be honest, the Left have shown plenty of desire to regulate religious beliefs through the various forms of awful anti-discrimination and ‘human rights’ legislation they keep pushing through. I think it is a legitimate worry that churches will be forced to accept homosexual ministers or homosexual teachers in Christian schools; or that churches and Christian schools will be forced to teach that homosexuality is right.
The best way to sum up my stance is that I personally oppose homosexual marriage as contrary to God’s design of marriage and sex. However, I don’t think the state needs to regulate who can get married (which really does open up a can of worms for our society) and as long as Christians aren’t coerced to accept homosexuality, I am comfortable with a change in the law.
P.S. You might be wondering why I always refer to it as homosexual marriage. ‘Gay’ is a particular cultural expression of homosexuality and I don’t think it is helpful for all homosexuals, or those with homosexual desires, to be considered ‘gay’ because ‘being gay’ comes with certain baggage. For example, there would be many people, including many Christians, who have unwanted homosexual desires and to label them ‘gay’ I imagine would be quite hurtful. Their self-identity might be worlds apart from the camp stereotype pushed on us in the media so I think it’s better just to describe it the proper way.