Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Two Reasons Same-Sex Marriage Is Gaining Ground

Catholics have not done a good (or even adequate) job of addressing the attacks on marriage. These attacks continue to grow stronger and without an understanding of how to defend marriage and the reasons behind the break-down of marriage, we will continue to see our culture slide into the anti-marriage mentality. Before I get into the reasons why same-sex marriage is gaining ground we need to explore some of the fundamental reasons why same-sex "marriages" are not good for those in them or society.

WHAT MARRIAGE IS.
Marriage is the basic cultural building block of society. One man, one woman, and their children unite as a family - every bit of evidence shows that families thrive in monogamous and stable homes with two biological parents of opposite sexes who remain married. This means that there is less poverty, crime, strife, etc. in homes where marriages do well. This is because the mother and father of children cannot be replaced. Two fathers or two mothers cannot provide what one mother and one father can. The role of the father can't be replaced by a woman and the role of the mother can't be replaced by a man. Studies back up this claim. Thus, same-sex couples can never provide all that children need to thrive. When families suffer the rest of our culture suffers.

Furthermore, same-sex relationships are not the same as male-female ones. While a same-sex couple might have strong affectionate feelings for one another, nature shows us they cannot bond as a married couple can. They cannot procreate and their bodies are not made to compliment one another. Think of this - a male or female by themselves is incapable of creating human life. They need the other. Thus, our bodies are incomplete without the opposite sex.

NOT ABOUT LOVE.
True love is to choose what is best for the other regardless of the cost to myself. This means same-sex relationships can never have loving sexual relationships. This is because the true act of sex is about giving yourself away, but in same-sex relationships you can't do this because the body isn't made to be given to someone of the same sex. A married couple can say, with their bodies, I want to create life and bond with you. I want to be one with you. This is impossible with same-sex couples, because while the body might still be saying this, the act itself is ordered toward selfish pleasure - not creating life or bonding the couple as one flesh.

NOT ABOUT EQUALITY.
Many people say that same-sex couples "deserve" the "right" to marry and that those that oppose them are merely bigots who want stamp out the rights of others. This isn't the case. The Catholic Church consistently teaches the respect of others, regardless of sexual orientation. It also teaches us to love and serve all. But, we must also work for truth and the common good. This means while we fight against same-sex marriage, we do not fight against individuals.

That being said, marriage laws are by definition discriminatory. They discriminate FOR families (not against non-married persons) in order to build up what is good for society. Where do children thrive? In the traditional family. If we tear that down, then society will suffer. Thus, the government needs to help support this building up of what is good for society.

Thus, marriage is about more than two people who have good feelings for one another. It is about the good of society - which is why the government got involved in it in the first place.

Some may argue that a same-sex couple should be able to do things such as share property rights, visit in the hospital, etc. But, all of these legal hurdles can already be overcome with current laws and a few documents.

So, what they are really looking for is social acceptance of their behavior. This is why the Catholic Church is enemy #1 for advocates of same-sex marriage. They cast us as homophobic, archaic, and mean-spirited. Which is not the truth.

Catholics need to fight such lies. But, to do so we need to know where it all comes from.
----
My thesis is that there are two main cultural culprits that have gotten us to where we are today:
  1. Contraception
  2. Pornography
REASON #1 - CONTRACEPTION - THE ROOT OF THE ISSUE:
Contraception has caused a number of cultural issues, not the least of is the fundamental re-orienting of the purpose of sex for the majority of people. What is the purpose of sex to modern man? Pleasure. This contraceptive mentality has changed us as a people. Sex is for pleasure however we can get it and is what we wish it to be. Sex is not for making babies or for bringing two spouses together. It is purely a selfish act of fulfilling a 'need', not a giving of self to another.

Contraception makes us turn inward, rather than outward - it perpetuates this selfishness on our part. It also sees marriage as an optional social construct (an attitude which harms women and children most of all)

This mentality is tearing apart our culture. I have seen it time and time again. It happens when sex between two people becomes about me rather than you. Thus the fruits of contraception include:
  • Divorce rate doubled between 1965-1975 from 25% to 50%
  • One demographer has shown that access to the pill paralleled the increase to the divorce rate
  • 41% of births are to unwed mothers in 2008 (72% of black babies)
  • 41% of pregnancies end in abortion in New York City
  • 50% of marriages end in divorce.
Now pick one of these that is good for our culture.

When sex isn't about babies or bonding, then it becomes selfish. Once this happens, the family breaks down. Once the family breaks down, society breaks down.

REASON #2 - PORNOGRAPHY - THE DEATH OF MARRIAGE:
If contraception weakened marriage, pornography is killing it. More and more marriages are being ravaged by pornography and the trend will not slow down anytime soon. With 80% of young men and 33% of young women regularly using porn, more people will be unable to really love another person. Why? Take a look at this:
  • Shown to devalue the other person and sex within marriage.
  • Porn creates fantasies that real persons can't live up to.
  • Porn sets up sexual habits or addictions that create "boredom" with only one other person.
  • Porn creates distrust within marriage and is cheating on your spouse.
  • Sexual satisfaction is decreased significantly.
  • Porn strips sex of love and makes it about using others and objectifying them.
That is just the tip of the iceberg. It gets much worse when you really crack open the stats.

Suffice it to say, porn kills marriages. Thus, it is destroying our culture. But, at the root of porn is the contraceptive mentality that sex is about ME.

HOW CONTRACEPTION AND PORN LEAD TO SAME-SEX MARRIAGE:
How does it all fit together? Well, it is quite simple.
  1. Contraception strips sex of it's intended purpose - babies and bonding.
  2. Pornography re-defines sex into pleasure alone.
  3. Thus, once someone has bought into contraception and pornography, they won't be able to argue that same-sex relationships are wrong, because there is nothing left to argue about. Who are they to tell someone what they are doing is wrong? Who are they to say someone shouldn't have pleasure when having sex?
We have given away too much. The stakes are too high. So, what do we do?

THE GOOD NEWS
The good news is that there is THE Good News - the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Christ CAN restores hearts.
Christ CAN forgive sin.
Christ CAN change our culture.

But, we have to do our part. This is the action plan.
  • We have to pray for our culture and for all people.
  • We can't see anyone as the "enemy".
  • We have to educate ourselves.
  • We have to speak up and fight back.
  • We have to vote our morals and faith.
  • We have to evangelize others so God can change their hearts.
This battle for our culture is not lost yet.

Further reading:
**What is Wrong With Porn?
**Contraception - What the Church Teaches.
**"Same Sex Marriage: Why Not?"
**The Debate about "Same-Sex Marriage"
**Special Report on Gay Marriage

16 comments:

Kevin said...

Really?

What about single parents (let's leave out unwed parents and divorced parents, which may seem problematic)? Are widows and widowers unable to "provide all that children need to thrive?" That's harsh.

What about infertile couples? They are "incapable of creating human life."

I'm sure there are tricky arguments that can be made to dance around these issues. On the other hand, if exceptions are so easy to find, blunt arguments like these can fail to be persuasive.

(And about 50% of marriages ending in divorce. "Good for our culture"? Well, if those 50% ended because of physical or emotional abuse, I'd have to say it certainly is better for our culture to have divorced parents--even if they can never provide all that children need to thrive--than to have women, men, and children trapped in abusive relationships.)

Marcel said...

While a single-parent home might not be something some choose (death, spouse leaving, etc) this doesn't negate the fact that children do better in traditional marriages.

Infertile couples are still naturally ordered toward procreation, even if they do not have the ability to become pregnant. It is not a choice, as it is in same-sex couples.

There is no dancing around the issues. Rather, there are no good reasons for same-sex marriage.

Your last argument about abuse is worse than divorce is a straw-man argument. The vast majority of divorces do not have abuse.

Really.

Kevin said...

Hm. Let me take two paths in this discussion.

I think that most people involved in studying same-sex attraction (let alone those who are attracted to the same sex) would disagree that attraction to the same sex is a "choice."

But that's probably nickpicking, and may not be really what you meant.

More substantively, I believe I may not have been as clear as I could have been.

If you put a couple of things together: Take a divorced couple. Divorced because of abuse. Would it have been better for those children if the couple had stayed together in a traditional marriage? Would the children have been provided with enough to thrive? Is traditional marriage always always always better than alternative forms of parenting?

In making categorical statements in the original post, you leave open the possibility that people can undermine your argument simply by pointing out a few instances where reality undermines it.

I really don't mean to be preachy. But many people see in shades of gray, instead of black and white. Arguments that discuss things as dark gray and light gray are often more persuasive than in black and white, at least to those who don't already believe the same thing.

Best.

larryb said...

Those are good two reasons, I'm sure there are more. At the top of my list would be abortion. Once people are numb to killing children, as you can see things start going down hill. Why do you think the gay crowd is so pro abortion? Because those who approve of abortion are guilty of an even greater sin than homosexuals are. It makes people guilty and thus makes homosexuals not so bad.

Ismael said...

"On the other hand, if exceptions are so easy to find, blunt arguments like these can fail to be persuasive."

Exceptions represent a deviation. By themselves they do not count as a good counter argument.

A few examples:

I know several people who smoked a lot and lived a long, relatively healthy life. They count as an 'exception'... still this does not mean that smoking 'is not bad for you'.

There are many kids who cross streets without looking and making it safely on the other side... still this does not mean it is a good thing to cross the road without looking if cars are coming (this goes for adults as well).

A lot of people drink alcohol and drive and make it home safely, yet this does not mean it's not very dangerous for themselves and others

etc...


------

"What about single parents (let's leave out unwed parents and divorced parents, which may seem problematic)? Are widows and widowers unable to "provide all that children need to thrive?"

Single parents, not by choice (i.e. widowers) are an 'abnormality' not 'the norm'.

Obviously if a kid grows up without a mother or a father (for whatever reason) there will be consequences (speaking from experience as well, here).

Really how many 'single parents kids' are the result of the untimely death of a parent compared to the single parent kids who are like that because one of the parents bailed out before the couple got married or after divorce?

Hence this 'counter-argument' is useless.

----

"What about infertile couples? They are "incapable of creating human life.""

Even if their marriage is unfertile it is still due to nature and not due to artificial means (abortion, contraception) or abnormal behavior (homosexuality).

A marriage is not validated by the “bearing of children”, since a true marriage can be childless, yet a proper and true marriage (i.e. heterosexual marriage, there’s no other kind really, just like there are no triangular circles) is the best place for the bearing and, naturally, upbringing of children.

This is why an unfertile couple can and should adopt children.
Although they cannot bear any children themselves still they can provide proper upbringing to orphans and be a 'true family' in spite of the abnormality of one or both the parents (being unfertile is not something normal either).

So true marriage remains the true building block of society and human life in spite such problem.

Also as Marcel puts it, and as Natural Law would dictate:
"Infertile couples are still naturally ordered toward procreation, even if they do not have the ability to become pregnant. It is not a choice, as it is in same-sex couples."

Ismael said...

"And about 50% of marriages ending in divorce. "Good for our culture"?
Well, if those 50% ended because of physical or emotional abuse, I'd have to say it certainly is better for our culture to have divorced parents"


Here again: how many couples really divorce because of abuse from one of the spouses to the other?

Not that many. Very few in fact, compared to the sheer number of divorces where abuse is not even remotely present.

Besides the Church herself (as well as canon law) allows or even demands a 'separation' in case one of the spouses is abusive towards the other one or the children.

Separation (which is not the same as divorce), is always carried out in order to protect the abused and in the hope and effort to repair what is broken and repair the marriage and the family, if possible.

Divorce is only destructive and not aimed on repairing what is broken, but rather annihilates it completely.

Divorce, by the way, often is the CAUSE of abuse on the children rather than prevention of it (many parents fighting among themselves often end up hurting their children psyche, in order to demonize their former spouse).
Go to your local ‘child psychologist’ and look how many kids and adults are there because of their parents splitting up….

Also, just recently in very secularized Holland they had an extensive campaign stating something like ‘be careful what you say to your kind during divorce, it might scar him for life’ (usually accompanied by a picture of a kid with the words ‘your dad does not love you’ written on his/her skin).

votumlibri said...

This is a really great post. Could you perhaps verify the stats with some links?
In regards to Kevin's last point, I'm sure there is also a positive correlation between contraception/ abortion and abuse.

Kevin said...

Excellent point about deviations and exceptions. At the same time, it seems that this redefines the issue in such a way as to dismiss it, rather than actually addressing the problem.

The point is not whether children of widowers or widows are common; the question is whether those children can thrive, since they only have a parent of a single sex. Marcel, to his credit, says that children do better in a traditional marriage. This may surprise the children of widows and widowers, but he accepts the logical outcome of his argument.

And if an unfertile couple can get around infertility by adopting, why can’t same sex couples do the same? If they can, then why are they inferior parents? Because both sexes aren’t represented? Then what about widows and widowers? Oh, that’s right – they are inferior parents.

And about divorce. Divorce can be destructive. It can be constructive. Separation is nice, when it’s appropriate. However, sometimes stronger measures are needed.

I guess I just find this argument against same-sex marriage fairly unpersuasive. It can be undermined somewhat easily, by holding up examples of acceptable relationships in our culture that violate the standards established here. Why are same-sex couples rejected, even though, in this argument, they are no less a worse parent than a widow, and no more capable of having children than an infertile couple?

And the argument depends heavily on theory. It is a thought-picture of how contraception and porn lead to same-sex marriage, lacking evidence to support the ideas. How many people accept same-sex marriage because they feel that they can’t tell someone that he or she is doing wrong? How many people feel this way because they’ve been desensitized by contraception and pornography?

It may make sense that these ideas are related. And, couched in terms that are less absolute, it would allow some wiggle room for the numerous exceptions that are obvious in everyday experience.

But as it is so strongly stated, it seems difficult to accept it without evidence, based in real-world experience, to support it.

Marcel said...

Kevin - if you need more evidence, then try this out - http://winteryknight.wordpress.com/2011/06/27/a-secular-case-against-gay-marriage/

The point is that you might find exceptions to every rule, but the rule is that same-sex marriage is not good for children of those couples, it isn't good for society, and it is social experimentation run amok.

The same-sex marriage advocates don't have one cogent argument on their side.

You say the argument is unpersuasive, yet you have failed to prove any point wrong. You fail on one issue and move to another.

Kevin said...

Marcel,

The link that you provided leads to an article by what seems to be a Christian commentator whose article is based on a paper by the conservative advocacy organization the Family Research Council. This is fine, but it’s hardly an unbiased source of evidence. When advocates draw on research by advocates to bolster their case, it is, in a word, advocacy, and should be weighted as such. I’m not sure that that link provides independent verification of the arguments made in the original post.

In addition, it seems that neither article seems to link contraception, pornography, and same-sex marriage. It is evidence for that novel connection that seems especially necessary.

I’m afraid that we’re probably not going to come to agreement on this one. I find the arguments for the harm that same-sex marriage supposedly causes society unpersuasive. Perhaps it’s just my lived experience—I know perfectly good, decent people who came out of non-traditional families. So the argument that only traditional families can produce good people rings hollow with me.

And, I apologize, but the connection that you pose between contraception, pornography, and same-sex marriage seems more theorizing than supported argument. Perhaps with time and research the link can be made in a more convincing manner.

Peace.

Nicole Stallworth said...

Marcel, do you recall a study (or studies) about the effect of fatherlessness due to death? I think the study I remember focused specifically on spouses and children of police- and servicemen who died. The children of these men largely escaped many of the pitfalls associated with fatherlessness. Again, referring to a situation inflicted upon them rather than one they chose. Relevant? I think it cuts the legs out from the argument that such people--widowed, infertile--are regarded by traditional-marriage defenders as inferior parents.

jadeums8479 said...

I don't agree with the argument of bashing single parenting As a way of disproving the capability of same-sex couples ability to properly raise children. They are not and will never be the same situation. Premarital sex is a valid issue among heterosexuals in this country, but it doesn't mean that every child is forever lost. It only means that the parents need to try harder and put in more effort to ensure that their children grow to be complete and happy. Many people think that it is wrong to get married just because there is a baby involved. It's people's hearts that need changing.

How beautiful is holy purity! But it is not holy, not pleasing to God, if we separate it from charity. Charity is the seed that will grow and yield savory fruit when it is moistened with the waters of purity. Without charity, purity is fruitless and it's sterile waters turn the soul into a swamp, a stagnant marsh, from which rises the stench of pride. -- St. Josemaría Escriva "The Way" #119

Marcel said...

http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2008/12/102

Billy Bean said...

It amazes me how so many intellignt people today, Kevin I think being one of them, seem so naive about the issue of "advocacy." Absolute neutrality is an impossible ideal, and if you think the main stream media is not persistently advocating for the "progressive secularist" agenda, I don't quite know what to say. The answer, of course, is not reactionary bias, but it is clear that there is more hostility to traditional morality out there than there is concern for truth and balance. If one advocates for positions that were seen as main stream and moderate only a decade or two ago, one is now seen as reactionary and extreme. Is Focus On the Family really so dangerous? Are Pope Benedict XVI and James Dobson really the reactionary counterparts of Peter Singer and Hugh Hefner?

Mary De Voe said...

Justice is predicated on intent. An orphan knows that his parent did not abandon him, but was called home to God. Having a relationship with God is tantamount to being human. Homosexual behavior has no definition. It is assault and battery. Having same sex attraction is not a sin. Acting upon a homosexual attraction is a disorder. It demands that HE, GOD re-create the human being into the image and likeness of not anything in creation. (While the devil is a creature, the devil does not reproduce and has no soul. The devil has no body and therefore does not need a soul) God is the giver of LIFE. Homosexual behavior does not give LIFE. Our Creator endows the two who become one with a soul. The human soul gives life to the human body. Homosexual behavior is not about sex. Homosexual behavior is about rebellion towards God, towards nature and nature’s God.

Mary De Voe said...

jadeums8479 said...
I don't agree with the argument of bashing single parenting As a way of disproving the capability of same-sex couples ability to properly raise children. They are not and will never be the same situation. Premarital sex is a valid issue among heterosexuals in this country, but it doesn't mean that every child is forever lost. It only means that the parents need to try harder and put in more effort to ensure that their children grow to be complete and happy. Many people think that it is wrong to get married just because there is a baby involved. It's people's hearts that need changing.

How beautiful is holy purity! But it is not holy, not pleasing to God, if we separate it from charity. Charity is the seed that will grow and yield savory fruit when it is moistened with the waters of purity. Without charity, purity is fruitless and it's sterile waters turn the soul into a swamp, a stagnant marsh, from which rises the stench of pride. -- St. Josemaría Escriva "The Way" #119 "

St. Josemaria Escriva lived what he preached, The homosexual practicioner preaches love and family, but refuses to practice love for the soul of his partner and love for the soul of any adopted children he must parent, because he denies the human being’s soul. The homosexual practicioner is a liar and he tries to pin the blame on God. This irresponsibility carries over into his family as scandal, bad example.