Following Thursday’s vote on the Domestic Partnership Ordinance referendum, I want to thank the citizens of Chattanooga for showing up at the polls to express their will on such an important issue. Whether you were For or Against the ordinance, the fact that you shared your views, campaigned for your cause and voted your conscience reflects what our Founders desired: an active citizenry engaged in directing their government. And contrary to the voices of some, I, along with the hundreds of volunteers who campaigned Against the ordinance, hold no ill will towards Councilman Chris Anderson, Mayor Andy Berke and the 8,184 citizens who supported the Ordinance. Their views and opinions are as worthy to be heard as are the 13,685 citizens who voted against the ordinance.
While I’m thankful that the ordinance was defeated at the ballot, I’m not naive enough to believe this battle is over or the matter is settled. As a result, I would challenge all of us who are engaged in this continuing discourse (both those For and those of us Against) to treat each side and person with respect. I will do my best and trust everyone else will do the same. But if I fail, I ask the community to hold me accountable.
As I reflect over the last 10 months and the public discourse over the Ordinance, I have heard a common recurring theme of “equality” by those who are pushing for domestic partnership recognition and we now see that the conversation is moving beyond to the redefinition of marriage. For purposes of this article though, the term “marriage” is defined as God defined it initially and based on the predominant understanding of the term for thousands of years: the union of one man and one woman.
Much is said today about equality, particularly in reference to marriage and the concept of one man plus one woman versus one man plus one man (or one woman plus one woman). By any standard of logic one should objectively conclude that the union of a man and woman in matrimony is not equal to a sexual union of two men or two women. But then, in our culture today logic is not necessarily common.
From the beginning, the purpose of the union of a man and woman, referred to as marriage, has been procreation and is designed to result in new life. While there clearly is a sexual component to marriage, there are many more responsibilities that flow from the marital union as a result of the children that are produced. In comparison, the purpose of many if not most homosexual unions is primarily sexual gratification, and never results in life.
Our government (local, state and federal), which derives much of its law from Judeo-Christian values, has for over 200 years recognized marriage as between one man and one woman. It has done so because it is in the best interests of society and government. A stable marriage which produces children and then cares for and raises those children free of government subsidies and interference, benefits the government and the citizens/taxpayers. It should be noted that in 2006 the cost of family fragmentation in Tennessee to taxpayers in our state was $757 million and nationally it was over $100 Billion.(1) Yes, for just one year! So libertarian conservatives, the argument of “live and let live” is somewhat shallow if you believe in limited government and fiscal responsibility.
While marriages benefit the government, the greatest benefit is the fact that the children produced by that marital union are advantaged when they are the beneficiaries of a stable marriage. It should be noted though that heterosexual relationships that simply procreate with no marital commitment produce children which are statistically more likely to be:
1. sustained by government programs (taxpayer subsidies),
2. more involved in crime,
3. victims of suicide,
4. high school dropouts,
5. in a lower income bracket,
6. etc., etc.
Each of the items above impact our culture, society as well as our pocketbooks. But most importantly, the child born out of wedlock and into a family that does not consist of its biological mother and father, is at a severe disadvantage statistically in more ways that we can enumerate. This is not the child’s fault and is not meant to in any way devalue the child, it’s simply a sociological fact.
Having said this though, let’s return to the concept of equality, which is the argument of those promoting the concept of homosexual “marriage” or domestic partnership benefits. The incessant drum beat about equality by homosexuals and their allies has been extremely successful in persuading an entire generation of millennials and even many of their parents who unfortunately have bought into this deception without even a casual glance in the direction of logic.
Since a homosexual union has never and will never achieve procreation like a heterosexual union is designed to, one cannot say they are equal. That’s not being unfair. That’s not discriminating. That’s not bigoted. That’s just basic biology.
But let me say this clearly and unequivocally: I am denouncing any suggestion that the individuals in any of these disparate unions are lesser persons. Of course they are not. Individually we are all made in the image of God and as such are deserving of equal love and respect. But we are not talking about the individual. We are discussing the recognition of a union of two individuals and so the question is are all unions equal?
Let’s explore that question a little further. If homosexual unions are equal to marital unions then why are throuples (the sexual union of three individuals), foursomes, polygamy, adult-child relationships, or any other sexual “lifestyle” one can concoct, not equal as well? Why should those clamoring for society and government to recognize their favored sexual relationship as equal to marriage be opposed to the recognition of these other preferences? Of course, many homosexuals will denounce such a question as absurd or ridiculous but that same argument could have been used 30 years ago about homosexuality. So I challenge them to answer the question.
If one follows the end result of this flawed “equality” argument, logically one can easily predict that marriage will ultimately be a meaningless designation. Marriage will continue to be distorted and re-shaped to conform to the whims of the latest special interest group that seeks legitimacy of its particular sexual acts.
While achieving marriage equality may be a win for those begging to be equal to something to which they are not, the real losers in this are our children. No longer is a biological mother and father important to the upbringing of the child. No longer will children know or respect the meaning of marriage – that union that has stood the test of time and when respected and honored has contributed to stable and successful cultures, societies and nations. And as marriage crumbles under the weight of these disparate and deviant sexual unions, our government will be left to grapple with the sociological devastation that will come from these illogical and failed experiments… and you and I will be left picking up the tab.
So next time you hear the word “Equality” applied to the union of two men or two women in comparison to the union of a man and woman, remember that these unions are not equal and acceptance of such will ultimately result in the destruction of marriage as defined by God.
In closing, given the abundance of sociological studies that affirm the truths of the assertions above, it’s not necessary to buy into a theological argument for marriage. But just in case you are wondering, below is what God’s definition of marriage is:
Genesis 1:27-28 — So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth…“
Genesis 2:24 — Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
Matthew 19: 4-6 — And Jesus answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
* * *
I would like to thank Mark West for his request that both sides in the continuing discourse regarding marriage equality treat the other side with respect. I will attempt to do so now.
Mr. West, there are a host of issues with your latest anti marriage equality missive, but I want to focus on one in particular: you stated that “the purpose of many if not most homosexual unions is primarily sexual gratification…” Mr. West you could not be more wrong.
Homosexuals are not another species. We are the same as you. My marriage’s purpose is to build a life with the person I love. My wife and I have jobs that we gripe about during dinner; we pay taxes; we go on vacations; we divide the household chores; we laugh, we cry, and we argue. To reduce our marriage to one aspect, especially the sexual one, is just plain immature. You are deliberately over-simplifying homosexual relationships because, well, you think they are icky. I’m sorry that you feel that way. I think squash casserole is icky, but I’m not proposing that no one in the whole country can eat it.
If you think that marriage equality threatens your marriage, I would say that your marriage is not that strong to begin with. To blame homosexuals wanting marriage equality for the number of out of wedlock births (by heterosexuals, mind you) is simply ludicrous.
If you truly believe that the only “valid” reason for a marriage is procreation, why are you not proposing that people must pass fertility tests before they are issued a marriage license? Or denying marriage licenses to those who choose to marry later in life, when procreation is simply not biologically possible? Or God forbid, the young couple who simply do not want children? What of them?
In closing, I would remind you that marriage predates your religion. It is not yours to define.
* * *
Homosexuals do not threaten hetero marriage; the domestic partners ordinance did, especially if you believe that same-sex marriage will soon be acknowledged in Tennessee.
You see, if it had passed and actually was the first step towards equality, then when the state inevitably acknowledged out of state marriages, the ordinance would only apply to non-married heterosexual couples that simply did not want to play the game.
I understand Mark West's position. I understand Georgia's position. I hate that only one side can truly have a voice on this issue because those who speak in opposition get vilified. There were very few people would could stand up and say, "my religious beliefs prohibit me from supporting something that directly goes against those beliefs." We should applaud Mark West for doing what 2/3 of voting Chattanooga couldn't do: speak freely on the issue. Tolerance is an important word and there is no hypocrisy as entertaining as a demand for tolerance through lack of tolerance, from either side.
With approximately 2.6 percent of Tennesseans being LGBT, we will not be able to solely push to equality without working in conjunction with the "icky" religious right (82 percent of Tennesseans self-identify as Christian). Tact will be necessary to accomplish anything given the demographics of the state.
I believe that a solid first step would be a push to acknowledge same-sex marriages from other states that permit them. It seems reasonable and does not put churches in the position where activists will come in and demand "marriage or else," like the Drewitt-Barlows.
Georgia will never be able to talk a Christian out of their beliefs just like Mark will never pray Georgia straight. That stalemate defines our current situation and I hope that respect and a better understanding of the other side can prevail in a better situation for all.
* * *
I share the hope that we can continue the discourse about this issue. It is an important one, especially on a personal level. The ordinance did not propose allowing homosexual marriage, nor does the wording of the non-discrimination clause promise anything other than that pertaining to race or creed. This statement seems to have been lost in an attempt to make marriage the issue in Chattanooga. Would you deny civil rights that you enjoy to others simply because they are different from you?
It has taken many, many years for African-Americans and women to achieve non-discrimination status. Some would argue that it has not yet been actualized. Why should it take many years for Chattanooga to allow non-discrimination to become part of its city code?
Mr. West's continued, intentional, misguided statement about marriage is not the question here at all. However, if he insists on using this diversion, let me address it. If procreation is the purpose of marriage, he overlooks one important aspect of homosexual unions: they raise families, too. Either by adoption (probably of some of the disadvantaged children of heterosexual relationships he mentions) or by donors who allow the couple to produce their own offspring, LGBT parents meet his criteria for procreation.
His quotations of Bible verses do not contain the word “marriage” at all. They mention the union of two people, but not a specific manner of that union. If marriage is solely by the church, why do couples have to get marriage licenses from the state to marry? Why is a marriage dissolved only by court order?
The dominoes have already started falling, when state by state people with understanding and empathy and compassion and love for their fellow people agree that the right to marry is a fundamental one. It creates stable, loving families who may or may not choose to include child-rearing as part of their lives together. That is no different from heterosexual couples.
The statistics you reference are equally true of any home comprised of a single parent. Your #6 - etc., etc. - is disrespectful and juvenile. Using only biological parents discounts the value of adoptive parents and disparages their abilities to establish an admirable home life.
If you want to continue reasonable discussion of this matter (which has been decided and is actually a moot point) then please stick to the topic.