Christians and other supporters of man-woman marriage: we need to understand why same-sex “marriage” (SSM) makes sense to so many people. The first step in that direction is to recognize that it actually does make sense to a whole lot of people–people who are in fact reasonable and sensible.
If we don’t understand why it makes sense to those people, we’ll never understand why our arguments against it don’t make sense to them, and we’ll never be able to present arguments that make do make sense—not to SSM supporters, and probably not to many other people either. We’ll never understand why they think we’re fools for holding the position we do.
Here then is why same-sex marriage makes sense. It’s really quite simple, and it’s based in the way marriage is defined by the great majority of Westerners today—possibly including yourself.
I’m speaking specifically to marriage conservatives at this point. Ask yourself if you agree with this:
Marriage is the legally-recognized faithful, uniquely committed, loving, social, economic, and sexual union of two non-blood-related consenting adults of opposite sex.
So far so good? Let’s add on some important additional facts about marriage. They’re not vital to its definition but they are true nonetheless:
Marriage carries with it certain legal, economic, and social benefits, not least of which is the social approval accorded to the partners’ sexual relationship.
Are we in agreement still?
Now, if you’re a conservative with respect to marriage, and yet you agree that what I wrote above defines marriage, then you have little to no principled reason to include the words “of opposite sex” in that definition. You have no just cause to exclude same-sex couples from the benefits attached to marriage. You have no case.
SSM supporters, am I wrong about this, as stated here?
Of course I oppose same-sex “marriage,” and I am confident there is a principled legal and social (not just religious!) case to be made for that opposition; but not based on the definition I started with here. If that statement really were what marriage was, then marriage by rights ought to include same-sex couples as much as opposite-sex ones.
And I think most people really do think that’s what marriage is—which explains why same-sex “marriage” makes sense to so many people in our society. It’s because we view marriage as the legally-recognized faithful, uniquely committed, loving, social, economic, and sexual union of two non-blood-related consenting adults … which allows no principled exclusion of same-sex couples.
I’ll be back later to explain what’s lacking in the definition I’ve given, and why there’s another one that’s more accurate to the reality of marriage, and which by definition precludes same-sex “marriage” on just and reasonable grounds. In the meantime, if you as a marriage conservative were nodding your head in agreement with the statement I started with here, I hope you’ll find yourself worried about it—worried enough to know you had better start learning more about it. So consider this a teaser for my next post on this topic, where I’ll explain further.
Consider it also what I said it was in the beginning: it really is the explanation for why so many people think SSM makes sense. There’s a lot to be said for understanding others, even if we disagree. SSM supporters: please feel free to clarify, to explain further, and even to correct me in the spirit of understanding, please.
Update January 13, 2013: