This debate is not about marriage equality, though the reframing of the argument is a brilliant move by gay marriage supporters. It is semantics more than substance. If the issue is simply equal rights, then the debate would be centered on civil unions and not gay marriage. Homosexuals should have all the civil rights that allow them to be in a relationship with another person. They should not be discriminated against and should be treated equally as other groups. But that is not the same thing as being married. Redefining marriage from its historic, traditional understanding is a wholly different enterprise. Saying it is unfair that gays cannot marry is just the same as saying it is unfair that one does not have a higher IQ to be a scientist or lacks exceptional height to be an NBA player. These are God-given realities not open to human alteration.
Just because one does not support gay marriage does not make him homophobic. Such a message is completely false and highly offensive to people of faith. The idea that you hate homosexuals because you disagree with gay marriage is the kind of lazy thinking that infects this country in so many public debates. Only someone with limited, linear thinking comes to such a simplistic conclusion. The reality is that Evangelicals, Catholics, orthodox Jews and Muslims have strong beliefs that define the nature of marriage as solely uniting a man and women. This does not mean they hate gay people. As a Christ follower, I want to show love to all people as Jesus taught me. I also want to be faithful to the teachings of the Bible. They provide boundaries that define my life. I cannot allow those boundaries to be violated. This is just healthy living, not hateful living. To say that Pope Francis, Rick Warren, Joel Osteen and many other faith leaders are homophobic is simply absurd.
If you redefine marriage, you open a huge door that can lead to other types of marriage. It is foolish to argue that people will marry their dog or horse but other marriage arguments can be made. For instance, if a couple is infertile and they want to have children, why not let a spouse marry another spouse who is fertile? Or what about the bisexual who wants both a male and female spouse? Is it not fair to give marriage equality to them as well? Once you destroy traditional marriage, you allow for a variety of other marriages. If this seems implausible, the idea of gay marriage was equally far-fetched just 30 years ago.
Only a marriage between a man and a woman can create a child. No same-sex relationship can ever procreate. In order to have children, something must be done that is unnatural. If there are then children, how are those children raised? Masculinity can never bestow femininity, and vice-versa. A man cannot tell a girl how to be a woman; a woman cannot tell a boy how to be a man. This is why it takes both a mom and dad to raise a healthy, well-adjusted child. Government recognizes marriage because it benefits society to meet the needs of children.
Our leaders should create policies supporting marriage, not redefining it. Promoting traditional marriage does not discriminate against anyone. You can love whomever you choose but that does not mean demanding your relationship be recognized as a marriage. The latest polls (taken within their margin of error) show the country is evenly split on gay marriage. But the majority of people in every state are certainly not for gay marriage and the majority of states presently ban gay marriage. The Supreme Court cannot change what people think, and in time the damage of redefining marriage will be revealed.
Rich McDaniel is a noted author, international communicator, and church builder. He is the author of four books and holds three degrees, including an advanced degree from Duke University. Web: www.rickmcdaniel.com.