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By: Dr. John Ankerberg, Jim Garlow, Harry Jackson, Jr., Dr. Erwin Lutzer, Craig Parshall, Tony Perkins; ©2010
Here are some answers to frequently asked questions concerning same-sex marriage

Frequently Asked Questions about Same-Sex Marriage

There are typically five claims made by same-sex marriage advocates to dismiss the importance of traditional marriage. They are:

  1. Homosexuality and same-sex marriage are individual rights guaranteed by the Constitution, which the majority has no right to overrule when the judiciary is there protecting our rights.
  2. Same-sex marriage is exactly like civil rights for African-Americans. African- Americans because of race couldn’t change who they were, therefore they needed to be given their freedoms including the freedom to marry. Gays and lesbians say we can’t change who we are and therefore you need to give us the freedom to be what we are and marry whom we want.
  3. Legalizing same-sex marriage won’t hurt your traditional marriage, your freedom of speech, or freedom of religion.
  4. This is not a religious issue. The separation of church and state forbids religious institutions from telling the government how they must govern and rule.
  5. Anyone who denies these facts is discriminating against gays is wrong, part of the far right, and therefore a bigot.

Are these five claims true? Let’s look at each in order.

Claim One

Homosexuality and same-sex marriage are individual rights guaran- teed by the Constitution, which the majority has no right to overrule when the judiciary is there protecting our rights.

Response: The truth is that same-sex marriage is not guaranteed in the US Constitution. Therefore, any change in this area should require a vote of the people and/or a constitutional amendment. To date, 31 states have voted that marriage should remain between one man and one woman.

Claim Two

Same-sex marriage is exactly like civil rights for African-Americans. African-Americans because of race couldn’t change who they were, therefore they needed to be given their freedoms including the freedom to marry. Gays and lesbians say we can’t change who we are and therefore you need to give us the freedom to be what we are and marry whom we want.

Response: Same-sex marriage is not a civil right. A civil right is based upon certain unchangeable characteristics, including that it is a trait that is inborn (you are born with it), immutable (cannot be changed), and is innocuous (in and of itself it is not harmful to others). Same-sex marriage is different since it is not conclusively known to be a characteristic a person is born with, it is a changeable characteristic (in the sense a person can choose to act out same-sex practices or not), and same-sex marriage can be shown to have a harmful impact on society as a whole.

Claim Three

Legalizing same-sex marriage won’t hurt your traditional marriage, your freedom of speech, or freedom of religion.

Response: The exact opposite is verifiably true. First, traditional marriage is hurt as it is redefined to mean something different than it traditionally has been. Second, the freedom of speech of those who object has many times been violated in public education, the workplace, and in religious organizations as the programs in this book’s series has illustrated. Third, freedom of religion is violated as there would be legal consequences applicable to those who object to the redefinition of marriage, including the content of sermons, the status of churches and religious organizations, and the actions of those who seek to help others change in the area of sexual orientation.

Claim Four

This is not a religious issue. The separation of church and state for- bids religious institutions from telling the government how they must govern and rule.

Response: Marriage is both a religious and societal issue and has been for centuries. In addition, separation of church and state is not a constitutional concept, but a later concept from the writings of Thomas Jefferson that were not intended regarding the issue of marriage. Governments have an obligation to protect families and promote relationships that improve their society.

Claim Five

Anyone who denies these facts is discriminating against gays is wrong, part of the far right, and therefore a bigot.

Response: First, freedom of speech and expression allows those who oppose to do so. Second, to object to same-sex marriage is not discrimination, but rather a debate regarding public policy concerning the definition of marriage. Even many in the gay community do not believe same-sex marriage is necessary or beneficial for our society. Third, bigotry is defined as “stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one’s own.” To oppose same-sex marriage is not bigotry but a matter of moral belief or freedom of expression. Bigotry would require a person who shows hostility or hatred toward another group, a completely different response from only opposing a changed definition of marriage.

Other Frequently Asked Questions

Are some people born gay or bisexual?

Psychologists suggest that those with same-sex inclinations derive these attractions from a complex set of factors. To date, there is no conclusive evidence regarding what makes a person attracted to others of the same sex. In addition, many who claim to be gay also have attractions for heterosexual relationships or have changed from being gay to becoming heterosexual, meaning that sexual orientation is not an unchangeable characteristic.

Is same-sex marriage a civil right?

No. A civil right must be based on an unchanging characteristic such as ethnicity or gender. However, sexual orientation is found among people of both genders and of many ethnicities. In addition, sexual orientation is not an unchangeable characteristic and can therefore not be classified at the same level as a civil right.

Would legalizing same-sex marriage really hurt traditional marriages?

The material presented in the program transcripts in this resource frequently notes that same-sex marriage would hurt traditional marriages by changing the definition of marriage for all people, including those who are part of traditionally married couples. This alone will change societal norms.

In addition, research from nations where same-sex marriage is currently legal seems to indicate a growth of weaker families in general, not stronger families. To say legalizing same-sex marriage would have no impact on others neglects the facts to the contrary.

Does it matter if same-sex couples raise children apart from both a father and mother?

The social science evidence shared in the programs in this book illustrate only a sampling of the field research affirming the importance of children who are raised with both a father and a mother. This does not mean a child cannot or never “turn out well” in other settings. What it does mean is that the best environment for raising children is in a traditional father and mother setting, an example proven by social science and affirmed in Scripture.

Is legalizing same-sex marriage “inevitable” for America?

Increasingly, there are voices suggesting same-sex marriage becoming legalized in America is simply a matter of time. However, this may not be the case. In 31 states, popular vote has chosen marriage as one man and one woman. All but five states have chosen not to legalize marriage between two people of the same gender. Based on the popular vote of the American public, same-sex marriage is far from becoming legal.

Are 10 percent of people in America gay?

A popular cultural myth has been promoted that 10 percent of Americans are gay. However, numerous studies have shown this figure to be highly inflated. As the statistics in these transcripts note, even five percent is likely higher than reality of America as a whole. Nationally, approximately two percent of Americans are estimated to be gay. Even if this percentage is only approximate, it is far less than the often-quoted 10 percent figure.

How could legalizing same-sex marriage hurt education, business, and religious organizations?

Many variations exist, but legalizing same-sex marriage has many implications often not considered by the average person. For example, public schools would be required to teach that same-sex marriages are an acceptable lifestyle, including teaching in textbooks, promotions of special days celebrating same-sex lifestyles or families, or other alternatives. Those who oppose would have no grounds upon which to object since the practice is legal across the nation. In states where same- sex marriage is currently legal, this is already the case.

In business, there are numerous complicating factors. First, there is the issue of non-discrimination in hiring and firing practices. Independent business owners could not exclude a person due to sexual orientation or even have the ability to deny insurance coverage to the spouse of those in same-sex marriages without facing legal measures. In addition, employees could be fired or reprimanded simply for mentioning any opposition to same-sex marriage or practices. This is already happening in nations where same-sex marriage is legal. Third, the right to object to providing services would be under attack. Our transcripts share the case in which a New Mexico woman refused to provide wedding photography services to a same-sex couple and lost a legal case for doing so. Doctors and lawyers who refuse to offer services to same-sex clients could be sued, fired, or reprimanded. Teachers, coaches, or counselors who suggest a person stop same-sex activities or relationships could also be reprimanded for so-called discrimination.

In religious settings, a variety of implications are at state. For example, a Washington, DC based Catholic charity shut down as it was unwilling to offer adoption services to same-sex couples. All faith-based adoption and foster care providers would be at similar risk. Churches and religious non-profits could lose their non-profit status for opposing same-sex marriage. Church facilities and ministers could be sued for not offering marriage services to same-sex couples. Ministers and Christian counselors could be sued for counseling people to end same-sex relationships or even preaching messages that call same-sex activity sin. It would not be impossible to even see a Sunday school teacher being sued or arrested for teaching children what the Bible states in Genesis or Romans on marriage.

What can I do about the same-sex marriage debate?

First, all Christians can pray for change to take place. Second, we have the opportunity to vote to elect officials who represent our values in this area. Third, we have the right to speak out and organize at the local level in ways that support our personal beliefs. Fourth, you can connect with others who share your values. Many organizations exist that support traditional marriage and families. Fifth, it is also important to act in a way that shows genuine Christian love to those who oppose your beliefs. Sixth, get educated through reading materials like this resource, watching videos, and sharing this information with others. Use your influence to help others in this area.

Notes

Margaret A. Somerville, “A Brief Submitted to The Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights,” Montreal, Quebec, April 29, 2003. Accessed at http://www.marriageinstitute.ca/images/somerville.pdf.

Available online at http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cgi-bin/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=316&invol=535.

This citation is from the research of the Family Research Council, available online at www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=if03h01.

Ibid.

For the background of this case, see http://www.massresistance.org/docs/parker/.

Details regarding DOMA can be obtained at http://www.domawatch.org.

From the text of the Prop 8 appeal ruling by Judge Walker.

See the report on Stonewall Tavern by NPR at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=106137168.

Michelangelo Signorile, “I DO, I DO, I DO, I DO, I DO,” OUT, May 1996, pp. 30, 32.

More on this story is reported by NPR at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=91486340.

See http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/persecution/pch0080.html. Another similar case reported in Canada can be found at http://www.christian.org.uk/news/canadian-pastor-fined-and-gagged-over-gay-comments/.

This case has its own website devoted to information surrounding the issue at www.akegreen.org/. As reported on FOX News on July 27, 2010 at www.foxnews.com/…/georgia-university-tells-student-lose-religion-lawsuit-claims.

As reported on FOX News on July 27, 2010 at www.foxnews.com/…/georgia-university-tells-student-lose-religion-lawsuit-claims.

From April 4, 2008

See www.traditionalvalues.org/urban/two.php.

Citations for this section with references can be found at http://banap.net/spip.php?article79.

Edward O. Laudman et al, The Social Organization Of Sexuality: Sexual Practices In The United States (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994).

Simon LeVay, cited in David Nimmons, “Sex and the Brain,” Discover 15, no. 3 (1994): 64-71.

William Byne and Bruce Parsons, “Human Sexual Orientation: The Biologic Theories Reappraised,” Archives of General Psychiatry 50 (1993): 228-39 as cited in Glenn T. Stanton and Bill Maier, Marriage on Trial: The Case Against Same-Sex Marriage and Parenting (Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2004), 34.

Ibid, 155.

Cited in John R. Diggs, “The Health Risks of Gay Sex,” 2002. Accessed at http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/homosexuality/ho0075.html.

As noted at http://www.stoa.org/diotima/essays/fc04/Carnes.html.

Available online at www.marriagedebate.com/pdf/LEGISmarr&adopt.pdf.

See http://www.networld-project.com/dafoe/index.html.

See his “Top Ten Myths of Marriage” at http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/marriage/mf0043.html.

The four strong studies mentioned here are from the journal article at http://muse.jhu.edu/login?uri=/journals/future_of_children/v015/15.2meezan.html.

See “Homosexuality Is Not a Civil Right” at http://downloads.frc.org/EF/EF07K01.pdf.

For example, in other nations where same-sex marriage is legal, there is a much higher percentage of out-of-wedlock births, as well as so-called “hate crime” cases against those who speak out against same-sex marriage based on their religious convictions.

This is in reference to nations where same-sex marriage is currently legal, though some cases are already taking place in US within states where same-sex marriage is legal.

One recent example is the non-profit organization Exodus International that serves those seeking to change from a homosexual lifestyle. Recently, this group was denied non-profit status in New Zealand because its mission included helping to change a person’s sexual orientation. See http://www.starobserver.com.au/news/2010/09/15/ex-gay-group-loses-charitable-status/30763 for an Australian take on this ruling.

Refer to note 22 above for documentation on this issue.

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