Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Homosexual unions: discussion of a proposal

Two Pepperdine professors from opposite sides of Proposition 8 argue that the state should have no more involvement in marriage than it does in bar mitzvah's or baptisms. Which is to say, none. Instead, the state should "give gay [sic] and straight couples alike the same license, a certificate confirming them as a family, and call it a civil union - anything, really, other than marriage." If they want, the happy couple (triplet? sextuplet?) could then go to a church (or other religious institution) and have a ceremony.

The "civil-union license issued by the state would be all they needed to unlock the benefits reserved in most states and in federal law for married couples."

I've heard some Christians float ideas like this, as a way to slice the Gordian knot. I can see the appeal; marriage was invented by God and should be sacred, should be guarded and kept holy. the state doesn't do that. The church should.

But here are some of the problems, as I see them:
  1. The homosexual lobby is not only concerned with robbing rights and standing that should not accrue to their particular perversion; their goal is to force societal approval of that perversion. The label matters to them.
  2. On the other side are those who are "against not just gay [sic] marriage but also gay [sic] couples - and especially against government sanctioning of those relationships, no matter what they are called."
  3. If the government does give false sanction to this particular perversion, then private citizens will be forced to approve of it as well. Private business owners will be forced to recognize first that perversion as equivalent to marriage, and then whatever else is queued up after it.
  4. Though homosexual activists swear up and down they have no intention of targeting churches — show of hands: how many believe them? Oh, I'm surprised, I do actually see a hand or two. So now, remember the death threats and raging specifically against Mormons for daring to support Proposition 8. How many hands now? Right.
Now here's the part where you chime in with your thoughts.

32 comments:

Joshua Cookingham said...

Slippery Slope.
Man-boy love is right behind this. I'll say it again, as I've said before; No one can ever make the argument that Man-Boy love is not legitimate, BECAUSE WE JUST SANCTIONED SOMETHING ELSE THAT'S NOT LEGITIMATE. We want what we want when we want it, and darn those who disagree or get in the way of our 'happiness.'

nuff said.

God bless.

Shinar Squirrel said...

Dan,

I’m afraid that something like this will happen. It is a sign of the times; another indication of America’s rebellion against God.

I sure seems to me that a society’s acceptance of sexual sin is the barometer of ungodliness.

I would note that Jesus compared the time of His return to both the times of Noah, and the times of Lot (Luke 17:26-30), both times were characterized by sexual immorality. The question is, "How far down this road will He allow us to go?"

The Squirrel

Julie said...

I don't know, but it doesn't look promising.

Romans 1

Aaron said...

Absent a revival, we already know what will happen. Romans 1 is pretty clear. Even liberal scholars such as J.D. Unwin, when honest, have to admit that sexual promiscuity is bad.

Obviously, if you can have two men or two women be married, then what possible reason can you have for not allowing brother and sister to get married (or brother/brother or sister/sister for that matter). BTW, there are already cases on polygamy taking the same legal road. I get into arguments about polygamy all the time. My lib associates totally underestimate the number of people practicing polygamy in the world. 60,000 in Utah alone. I'm guessing that if you took a world tally, there is probably more polygamists than homosexuals.

I just hope that the Lord returns before the total collapse of our society and the inevitable persecution of Christians.

Aaron said...

And the slippery slope doesn't just apply to sexuality. When you stray from the absolute of Scripture, everything becomes relative. That's why they can't search you for illicit drugs but they can and will confiscate your junk food at some schools.

Jay said...

If the government does give false sanction to this particular perversion, then private citizens will be forced to approve of it as well.

I don't think I've been forced to approve of idiotic speech, false religions, or heterosexual unmarried couples who are shacking it up in domestic partnerships, yet all of those are protected by the government.

You make several valid points, of course. I'm just looking at this from both sides. I certainly don't have any gay or lesbian friends who have disrespected me or tried to step on my religious freedoms. Most are fairly libertarian in politics. And heck, I'm actively not doing what they want me to do. Maybe it's just my charming personality (doubt it), or maybe gays in the South aren't the death-threat-giving type. I dunno.

DJP said...

Well, they certainly are out here, as we've documented. And if you don't care to rent your bed and breakfast (or apartment, or motel) to a homosexual couple, or take pictures of their "wedding," they sue you and run you out of business.

That is forcing you to accept their perversion.

What societal pressure or stigmas against homosexual practice would you endorse, Jay?

CR said...

Funny, I thought Pepperdine professors had to sign some statement that agreed with their statement of faith (I know students don't have to the do same). Anyway...

Gosh, I just don't know where to begin. For the guy arguing for "civil unions"....There is only one union and that's what Jesus said that a man will leave his parents and hold fast to his wife and the two shall become one flesh - that is the union between a man and woman. That is the only union that exists - it is called marriage. Now a person may say, well, I don't believe in God and that's your religion. Well, the fact is, while church and state are separate institutions with separate functions, both are under God. That’s right church and state (whether it is an empire, a monarchy, a constitutional republic, a democracy or a dictatorship all states are under God). Jesus refers to creation when he is explaining why divorce is wrong referring to creation. This is important because marriage was not just for His elect.

Now, to the church person who says that God invented marriage and should be sacred and guarded and kept holy and the state shouldn't do it but the church should. I would remind that church person that marriage is sacred regardless of who performs the ceremony. Jesus did not say He only joined man and woman of the elect of Israel or the church, but every joining that occurs (again, Jesus clearly defines it as man and woman), He joined.

So, it is not only those unions whose ceremonies are performed by the church that are joined by God and no man should separate, but it is every union between a man and woman - since all of them are joined together by the Lord.

Rachael Starke said...

I have to confess, were it not for the legitimizing of same-sex couples to adopt children, this one would make more sense, for two uncomfortable, shameful reasons:

1. Here in idyllic Kollyfohnia, domestic partnerships have been legal and de rigeur for years (which is one reason the whole marriage argument here is so disingenuous - it really is about equalizing homesexual and heterosexual relationships). So, that fight was lost years ago.

2. Any quasi-religious institution or individual that tries to argue that marriage is any kind of sacred covenant or contract with God is going to be laughed out of town. The church has so utterly abandoned any fidelity to that principle by its toleration of divorce and shacking up that the world has every right to look at us and say "but we're only saying and doing what you're saying and doing." That being said, the government is going to have to let the church still pretend to be the church, or face the biggest battle over separation of church and state it's ever seen. That one it will lose.

So, for those reasons, I think this might be one of those compromises that both sides won't like, but that will look appealing enough to moderates on either side that it has a very strong chance of being successful.

Having grown up under the Commonwealth system, where there was always a civil cermony separate from the religious one, this does make sense.

But it's still not good.

Aaron said...

The only valid reason I see for anybody to need a civil union is so one person, who is not otherwise elgible, can obtain health insurance. For all other aspects of life, mechanisms are already in place to obtain the same goals (via power of attorney, wills, etc.) And once they nationalize health care, I don't see any point or need to have any civil unions. Either the government sactions and encourages marriages or should sanction and encourage nothing. In fact, if you are not going to encourage marriage between one man and one woman for obvious beneficial reasons, the government would be better off doing nothing. Then they could get rid of all resources for divorces and set a standard childcare rate for both parents to pay when a child is born (assuming you can identify the father).

Aaron said...

One of the great ironies of the homosexual movement is that they actually support their own demise. By undermining all moral absolutes, people tend to lean more on government. The more people depend on government, the more control government must take. The more control government takes, the less freedom people have. And governments that are communist or fascist don't tend to be real strong in the sexual rights arena (and this will be especially true when it comes to rationing health care).

Shinar Squirrel said...

Aaron makes a great point. With the Aaron makes a great point. With the obviously detrimental physical effects of the homosexual lifestyle, how long will the government allow people the freedom to practice that lifestyle once the government assumes the financial burden of health care.

“Whatever is not good for you, is bad, and, therefore, illegal. Smoking, eating red meat. Sex is also illegal, but so is pregnancy..." (worth 50 points if you can “Name That Movie!”)(quote is probably not exactly right... memory... pesky things...)

The Squirrel

Rachael Starke said...

And re: the social pressure/ issue, that's where my stomach gets tied up in knots.

I've actually experienced religious discrimination, when I briefly pursued an acting career in my yoot. Started gaining some traction, but when I became vocal about my faith and why it compelled me to keep turning down roles, the doors just slammed fast and hard.

And so I just walked away. I didn't paintbomb producers' cars, or go on the six o'clock news proclaiming all casting directors to be religious bigots.

I just walked. And Hollywood was forever denied access to my prodigious talent. :)

I just keep coming back to the legitimization of shacking up and no fault divorce. That's when societal pressure on sexual immorality went by the wayside.

Libbie said...

The more I think about it, the more I am becoming very firm that it isn't right to confer certain civil benefits to unmarried couples. Those benefits are meant to be part of the encouragement of stable marriages which help wider society, they aren't goodies to be plundered by whoever can prove they might be 'entitled'.

Which, quite neccessarily, also applies to homosexual couples. The state confers scant protections and benefits to those who are married. There's no rational reason to apply them to anyone who who wants them, unless they take the step of actually getting married - which two men cannot do, any more than a man can marry his goldfish because he wants the goldfish to benefit from his pension when he dies.

Civil Unions in the UK drive me batty, because it's all couched in compassionate language - you know, how terrible it is for a committed couple to have one partner die without the other partner being able to have the same benefits as a married partner would, but the same thing happens to siblings who live together, and there's no big lobby playing emotive strings for their predicament.

Joshua Cookingham said...

I'm....not sure of the civil union issue.....

It gets me confused sometimes.

I think Jay made a few good points though. Most gays that I know are actually nice to me, and they know my stance.

Maybe it's regional? We've had more anti-gay behaviour in certain areas...

CR said...

I just thought of something else and just to reiterate something I said earlier and that is we must not forget it is not the church that makes an institution sacred or holy or set apart. It is the Lord that makes it sacred. Marriage - defined by the Lord as a union between a man and a woman which no man must separate is sacred regardless of who performs the ceremony.

Similarly, (and this may come as a shock to some people), so is government. Government is not secular, it is a sacred institution. Yes, you heard from me right here on Dan's blog! :=)

Seriously, Romans 13 is unequivocal that all authority is from the Lord and those that exist (in our case, the three branches of government) have been instituted by God. The state is also under God and may not change what marriage is because marriage was instituted by God. Marriage is just as holy and set apart and instituted by God as is marriage - as I understand what the Bible is saying on this.

RT said...

As Rachel points out, the Church abandoned the sanctity of marriage years ago. Even in the rare case when a pastor refuses to marry a divorced person or a believer to an unbeliever, nothing whatsoever prevents such couples marrying at the courthouse. In such an environment it seems to me important to isolate what it is about "marriage" that matters to the State and what it is that matters to the Church. The State has a legitimate interest in marriage insofar as marriage tends to foster the orderly ownership and transfer of property and, to a lesser extent, the equitable distribution of civil rights among its citizens. None of these interests have anything necessarily to do with sexuality. The Church's interest in marriage, by contrast, is primarily concerned with the legitimization and santification of the sexual relationship between a man and a woman. Thus it seems to follow that the interests of the State are perfectly well served by civil unions, whether they be between persons having a sexual relationship or not, whereas the interests of the Church are necessarily bound up with the sexual issue. Consequently it seems to me that the State should be free to grant civil unions to anyone, whether they be in a sexual relationship or not (and even irrespective of gender), as long as doing so furthers a legitimate State interest, such as the orderly transfer of property or the preservation of a particular civil right. By the same token, the Church should be able to withhold marriage from whom it will based upon its interest in preserving the sanctity of the sexual union between a man and a woman. Unfortunately, of course, we have to recognize that in the real world, "the Church" consists of numerous churches and denominations and does not speak with one voice on this or any other issue. Consequently and inevitably, therefore, we will eventually see churches granting "marriage" to same-sex couples. It may very well be in the best interest of the State to grant civil unions. Frankly, I think that the battle against the encroachment of a "gay agenda" will have to be fought on another battlefield, one on which perhaps we can actually win. The Church fled the "marriage field" a long time ago.

CR said...

RT,

If I understand you correctly, I must respectfully disagree with you. It doesn't really matter what it is about marriage that matters to the state vs. church. Marriage is what it is because the Lord defined it. It is a union between a man and woman which no man must separate (The Lord Jesus and Paul gives the exception clauses).

The state is not free to give civil unions as it pleases, because, like the church, the state too is also under God.

Now, the state and church clearly have two different functions. The state is not the church and the church is not the state. The church can discipline its members. The State cannot exercise church discipline. So, if a couple gets a divorce on unbiblical grounds, only the church can discipline them, not the state.

However, this does not change the fact that the marriage is a sacred institution and since the state too is under God, it must honor that institution (because for one, the state too is a sacred institution) and not redefine what marriage is as willy nilly.

Mesa Mike said...

So.. The argument is that the State should have no involvement in marriage at all, but yet the State should issue civil-union licenses that would unlock the State's marriage benefits for whichever 2 people happen to be named on said piece of paper?

Whatever happened to things like wills, and powers-of-attorney, &c. for people who aren't married?
Oh, I forgot. It's not about actual benefits. It's about the label.

CR said...

I think we have to remember that marriage as defined by the Lord is a union between a man and a woman. It is not a union between a Christian man and a Christian woman. It is a union between a man and a woman.

The church has the responsibility of exhorting, counseling and if necessary disciplining and excommunicating its members that wish to marry an unbeliever. But the state (nor the church) gets to redefine marriage - which is again, not to sound like a broken record, a union between a man and woman.

Even one of my unbelieving friends understands this. He told me not long ago when he said, "You know it's getting bad when you have to 'DEFINE' marriage.

Marriage is clearly laid out in Scriptures.

RT said...

CR:
Your argument depends, in its entirety, on the notion that the State, like the Church, is subject to God. While I do not disagree with you theoretically I feel compelled to add that someone might want to inform the State of this. In the real world, with which I am concerned at the moment, the State is responsible for looking after matters deemed to be State interests such as the orderly transfer of property, public safety and civil rights. Since, for good or ill, we do not live in a Theocracy, the State looks after these interests without reference to God or, for the most part, Biblical principles. This means that the State can, and does (presumably in our system with the consent of the majority) give "civil unions to whom it pleases." The mistake we as Christians make is to call these unions "marriages," or for that matter, to call State "marriages" marriages. The reality before God is exactly as you say: marriage is a union between one man and one woman (I would personally add, "between one never-divorced man who is a believer and one never-divorced woman who is a believer" - which I believe is a fully scriptural definition). If the State happens to sanction such a union and happens to call it a "marriage", well fine, but likewise if it calls the union of a man and his bowling ball "marriage" that is also fine, it just doesn't make it so in the eyes of God. On the other hand, if the State finds a compelling interest in giving certain rights to certain couples irrespective of gender and irrespective of sexual relationship, then I don't have a problem with it. I might vote against it if asked, but I would not hang any sort of belief system on it. Obviously, to address Mesa Mike's point, "married" couples, "married" in the eyes of the State, do not have to bother with wills or powers of attorney to transfer property or to attain other civil rights and it is at least arguable (arguable in italics) that other kinds of couples besides a man and a woman could be equally recognized by the State, if by so doing a legitimate state interest were served. That is all, at great length, I am saying.

Julie said...

All the logic in the world doesn't make wrong right.

And the fact that "the church" has been wrong before (and will be wrong again) shouldn't mean that we throw up our hands and quit. As has been said before, God is the reference point for right and wrong.

P.S. I don't hate.

CR said...

RT,

I think the Bible is clear about the state being subject to God (not to be confused with a theocracy which is totally different). Romans 13:1 - Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God and those that exist have been instituted by God. So, I think the Bible is clear, it's not a notion nor is it theoretical. The state is subject to the Lord in the real world.

Where the state fails to be the state, the church should remind the state that it is subject to God. So, yes, the state should be informed about this, but that's another topic for another time.

You wrote: This means that the State can, and does (presumably in our system with the consent of the majority) give "civil unions to whom it pleases."

Well, if you're talking about sheer power or ability yes, it can, just like it sanctions murder of the unborn.

But the issue I'm addressing from the post is: should the state just give the same licenses called a "civil union" license and not call it marriage?

No. The union that Jesus spoke of is the union between one man and woman. The joining of one man and one woman. There is no other union. You can try to call other unions whatever you want to call it, "civil" union, "homosexual" union, "man-beast" union, "bigamy" union, "polygamy" union. There is no other union other than the union of one man and one woman.

The state cannot redefine or broaden what a union is to give tax advantages or hospital visitation rights anymore than the state can redefine when life begins for embryonic stem cell research. The union between a man and woman is what it is defined by the Lord and neither the state or the church can redefine it.

RT said...

The State, CR, can give tax advantages to whom it will. The State, for example, gives tax advantages to business parternships which are manifestly "unions." The difficulty is not, I submit, with the State. It is with individuals who insist on linking true marriage to civil rights and advantages, something which the Bible simply does not do. The State is the entity that attached tax advantages, property rights, etc. to marriage and it is the State that can extend those advantages and rights to other unions, whether such unions are sexual or business or familial. In my view, any two people who want to, irrespective of gender, sexual involvement, familial relation, you name it, should be able to enter into a civil union. People who get married in the Church according to the rules of the Church (hopefully derived from Scripture) should also be required to enter into a civil union at the Courthouse in order to enjoy the civil advantages attached by the State to such unions. It is patently absurd to suggest that the State's extension of civil rights should be based upon the Church's definition of "marriage" when the Church itself can't even agree on what that is and when the Scripture provides no warrant for such linkage.

Aaron said...

The state is not merely interested in orderly transfer or property. If that is what it wanted it could simply say: if you have a will your property goes according to whom you wish. Otherwise, when you die the state takes it. The reason why government supports marriage is because it is in the state's interest to support behaviour that is conducive to the future survival of the state. The best way to do that is to have man and woman married and raising children in a stable environment. Therefore, it is in the state's interest to promote policies that encourage marriage and child rearing by opposite sex married couples.

The other thing is that Christians have this common misconception that ALL sin is equal. While it is true that any sin seperates us from God, God gave very clear Scriptural principles for treating some sins much more harshly than others. And while the church has most certainly failed to adequately preach against fornication, adultery, and divorce,that doesn't follow that we should just accept homosexuality.

P.S. I don't know why Pastors would not marry somebody just because they are divorced. The Pastor would really need to look at the totality of the circumstances.

CR said...

RT: The State, CR, can give tax advantages to whom it will. The State, for example, gives tax advantages to business partnerships which are manifestly "unions."

Huh? I'm a CPA. I can assure business partnerships are not "essentially" 'unions'. Businesses operate as sole proprietorships, partnerships or corporations. You're grabbing at straws trying to call businesses as "unions." The "union" I'm speaking of is what Jesus spoke in the gospel of Mark of a man and woman leaving their parents and joining - one man and one wife. What pray tell does that have to business partnerships?

The State is the entity that attached tax advantages, property rights, etc. to marriage and it is the State that can extend those advantages and rights to other unions, whether such unions are sexual or business or familial. In my view, any two people who want to, irrespective of gender, sexual involvement, familial relation, you name it, should be able to enter into a civil union.

But the state did not redefine marriage in order to give tax advantages.

People who get married in the Church according to the rules of the Church (hopefully derived from Scripture) should also be required to enter into a civil union at the Courthouse in order to enjoy the civil advantages attached by the State to such unions.

Huh? People who are married don't need to enter into a "civil union" in order to enjoy civil advantages because they already enjoy civil advantages when they get married.

Also, I think you're failing to recognize something that Dan alluded to and that is homosexuals are not interested in marriage, "civil unions" or "domestic partnerships." Most homosexuals don't want to get "married" but what they do want is legitimization.

The danger I think that has occurred with conferring "civil unions" or "domestic partnerships" in the name of "tax advantages" or "hospital visitation rights" is that the legitimization of that ungodly lifestyle has already occurred. They won't stop at civil unions or domestic partnerships.

Also, as a side note, I would add that homosexuals can have the same tax advantages and other rights as married people. It's almost too simple. Here's how: they can repent of their lifestyle and get married. Homosexuals are no more entitled to tax benefits or other advantages than a single person is entitled tax benefits because he has a long-time good friend who are roommates or a good longtime cousin.

There is a good reason for the state to promote tax benefits for marriage but there is no good reason to promote tax benefits between best friends or first cousins and homosexual couples.

RT said...

Aaron:
Your point is absolutely valid, but it is not exclusive. Certainly appropriate child-rearing can be a compelling State interest; and, although there are viable arguments for and against the superiority of mixed-sex couples, I happen to agree with you. However, recognizing that child-rearing (and even child-rearing by mixed-sex couples) is a State interest fails completely to address the question of why these couples need to be married rather than merely partners in a civil union or at common-law. Nor does it address the possibility of the other legitimate interests the State might have for bringing couples together irrespective of sexuality or gender. These interests do indeed involve property rights, taxation and other civil rights and benefits. As an attorney I have been witness to many cases where testamentary intent was defeated by the law's failure to recognize the special relationship between two individuals, and I am not referring here to homosexuals, but rather close family members and business partners, where the heir-at-law, albeit estranged, was able to disrupt and defeat testamentary intent in the absence of, or through defect of, a will. I find (to a great extent through the discussion we are having) that my belief in the extension of civil unions and the divorce (forgive me for that) of such unions from Biblical marriage would be a very positive development irrespective of the sexuality of the couples involved.

As to your P.S., Matthew 5:32 - "Whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery."

RT said...

CR:
Although constraint of time prevents me from addressing your last points, please do not confuse my silence for agreement. We evidently will not agree on this, but I do thank you for helping clarify my thoughts.

I mean that sincerely.

Aaron said...

RT:

I'm not referring to "appropriate" child raising. The state is interested in the next generation who will support the state. And I've never, ever seen anything to support that same sex couples are in anyway superior to a model mixed sex marriage.

Nor does it address the possibility of the other legitimate interests the State might have for bringing couples together irrespective of sexuality or gender. These interests do indeed involve property rights, taxation and other civil rights and benefits. As an attorney I have been witness to many cases where testamentary intent was defeated by the law's failure to recognize the special relationship between two individuals, and I am not referring here to homosexuals, but rather close family members and business partners, where the heir-at-law, albeit estranged, was able to disrupt and defeat testamentary intent in the absence of, or through defect of, a will.

It's unfortunate that courts overstep their bounds by overriding a person's will. But that's a problem with the courts not with marriage. The problem here is again easily fixed. The will overrides any other document or statement. And the state could also get rid of "heir-at-laws" by saying if you die without a will, your estate is forfeit to the state. There is also trusts which would essentially skirt probate.

is a State interest fails completely to address the question of why these couples need to be married rather than merely partners in a civil union or at common-law.

The problem here is that civil unions are in effect a marriage. That is partly why I object to any civil union whatsoever. Marriage or nothing.

CR said...

Aaron:The problem here is that civil unions are in effect a marriage. That is partly why I object to any civil union whatsoever. Marriage or nothing.

I couldn't have said it better myself. Marriage or nothing.

Rockhopper said...

> Marriage or nothing.

But that's what the prop 8 supporters wanted...

Dan B. said...

Dan,
This fight was never about rights, but more about status. They wanted society to validate and normalize what the Bible clearly shows as sinful. You are right; the label VERY MUCH MATTERS to them. You could give their group the moon as far as "rights" are concerned, but it would not be enough. It never ceases to amaze me how a minority (through the courts, media, etc) can beat back a majority. We just passed a constitutional amendment regarding marriage here in VA which I am sure is already being challenged in our state courts.