Monday, December 23, 2013

My Defense of the Traditional Definition of Marriage

In light of the events currently happening in Utah, I felt a need to voice my defense of the traditional definition of marriage. By the traditional definition, I mean that marriage should be defined as a legal union between a man and a woman, as the Savior Himself set forth:

"And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." (Matthew 19:4-6, KJV)

Now, before everyone gets all riled up and starts ranting about bigotry and discrimination, let me explain myself a bit more. I actually have a wonderful Aunt who is lesbian. She and her partner Janet are a wonderful part of our lives, and I love spending time with them (we just had a Christmas party put together by them a week ago). I also believe that gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to have a legal union that would give them the same privileges for taxes, housing, health care, etc. Discrimination towards gay and lesbian couples for these governmental benefits, as well as discrimination by any public service, business or public institution (restaurants, hotels, etc.), should not be allowed. If gay and lesbians choose to live the way they do, that is their choice, and we should respect that choice.

However, calling this legal union a marriage is what I have an issue with. A marriage is between a man and a woman. A completion of opposites who twain shall be one flesh; yin and yang; a beginning of a family.

3 Reasons Marriage Should Be Defined This Way (Introduced by Counterarguments)

Counterargument 1: Science is showing more and more that sexual orientation is not a choice.

While I do believe that some are more inclined towards same-sex attraction than others, I believe the stance The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has taken on this issue. Those who are inclined toward same-sex attraction still have a choice to act on those feelings. It boils down to whether or not you believe that you were created as a man or a woman for a reason. I believe that gender is divinely appointed; there is a reason I am a man, that my wife is a woman, and that my daughter is a girl.

Further, marriage between a man and a woman continues the cycle of life, producing the opportunity for beginning a family and creating children. These procreative powers are also divinely appointed, and are meant only to be employed within the bonds of marriage. This is completely impossible in same-sex relationships. Arguments have been made that saying this would mean that we should not allow marriages between couples who have infertility issues, or older widows and widowers, but that is not the point I am making. The ability of a man and woman, legally and lawfully wedded, to literally become "one flesh" through sexual intercourse is only naturally possible between a man and woman. That completion of opposites, binding of femininity with masculinity, and wholeness of the "puzzle" from two different puzzle pieces is only possible through the marriage of a man and a woman.

Not only do our physical bodies give us direction as to how we can achieve completeness through marriage, but our souls long for the oneness that comes from uniting manhood with womanhood, and the stability that it creates. This is even evident in same-sex couples. Why is it that, in a homosexual relationship, one partner always takes on a more masculine role, and the other takes on a more feminine role? It is because, deep down, they have a desire to create that unity of sexes.

Counterargument 2: Changes have happened in the past to begin allowing members of different races the opportunity to lead in churches. Why, then, can't the definition of marriage change?

Being a Mormon, I am well aware that many of our past leaders, have said some unsavory things in regards to race. I am also aware that it was not until just a few decades ago that the Priesthood of God was finally given to all men, regardless of race. However, I believe that those views were fundamentally wrong, and I know that God Himself says they are wrong, for "God is no respecter of persons." (Acts 10:34). I also believe that God revealed to men the necessity for all men to be given the opportunity to hold the priesthood when MEN WERE READY FOR IT. Sadly, this did not happen until the Civil Rights Movement had happened, but God wanted to make it available to all; He just waited until the time was right.

These were not the follies of God or His Church; they were the follies of men. We, as Mormons, are not perfect. We are striving to get there, but we are still imperfect. And the wonderful part is, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recognizes this. (Follow this link to learn more about this subject)

Despite this fact, homosexual marriages will not be recognized as marriage in the Church. Where arguments can be made against racism through the scriptures, there is NO WAY POSSIBLE to make an argument for homosexuality in the scriptures. In fact, the practice is denounced many times within the pages of the scriptures. Further, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints produced "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" in 1995 that specifically defines marriage as being between a man and woman. Such an official declaration, I believe, will never be overturned by the Church. We are a church focused on families, and homosexual unions can not be recognized by the Church as a true family.

Counterargument 3: How will any heterosexual marriage be threatened by gay people getting married?

My answer to this is that it probably won't threaten heterosexual marriages directly. However, it does threaten the foundation of our nation, THE FAMILY. The strength of the nation depends on the strength of its families. If homosexual relationships want the opportunity to become a legal union to gain the benefits listed above, I am perfectly fine with that. What I am not fine with is the moment that children are drawn into these relationships. Calling these homosexual unions a marriage gives them the opportunity to adopt children. These "families," although built on true principles such as love and unity, have one big problem: the fundamental need for children to have both a mother AND a father.

It is going to take a lot of evidence to convince me that a homosexual relationship would ever be able to rear children as well as a loving mother and father, working to establish a healthy, happy family. God intended families to start with a man and a woman, a mother and a father, working together in love and unity to teach their children the path of happiness.

This is, I believe, the reason that a law defining marriage between a man and a woman is actually constitutional. Laws are there to protect and defend the innocent. This law protects the most important of the innocent, the children of the US.

In Closing

I cannot think of a better way to end this entry then by posting The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stance on the family:


The First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

WE, THE FIRST PRESIDENCY and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.

ALL HUMAN BEINGS—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.

IN THE PREMORTAL REALM, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshipped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.

THE FIRST COMMANDMENT that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.

WE DECLARE the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God’s eternal plan.

HUSBAND AND WIFE have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.

THE FAMILY is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.

WE WARN that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.

WE CALL UPON responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.

This proclamation was read by President Gordon B. Hinckley as part of his message at the General Relief Society Meeting held September 23, 1995, in Salt Lake City, Utah.