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June 28, 2004

Preparing for the Blizzard in August

Chuck Colson wonders why citizens, particularly Christian citizens, aren't being more vocal about same-sex marriage:

I think some don't really believe this is such a critical battle. To them I can only say—wake up and pay attention. This issue has the potential to redefine and, ultimately, to destroy the institution of marriage in this country—and with marriage goes the family. You can't ignore this.

But there are other Christians who recognize the importance of the battle over same-sex "marriage" but are still not speaking up. For many of them, I think the problem is a lack of faith.

Now, that may sound harsh, but I can't think of a better way to put it. A lot of Christians—even some of our most prominent leaders—seem to have succumbed to a "What's the use?" attitude. They believe that the cultural climate has turned so much against us that we'll never be able to stop the advance of same-sex "marriage." And they have heard that we don't have the votes to pass a constitutional amendment in this session of Congress—so they don't even want to urge the House and Senate to vote. Some Christian commentators have sounded a defeatist note.

The factors that Colson names are certainly in effect, as conservative writers Cal Thomas and Max Boot have proven. But I'd suggest that the issue is still distant for most. Whether they are turning away from ickiness or finding it difficult to get their heads around the bizarre shifts of the modern world, most people just don't have a sense that the news is real and that it will have real effects. Imagine trying to explain winter to people who have only known summer; you might find it difficult to convince them to buy snowsuits while they are available at a discount.

Posted by Justin Katz at June 28, 2004 7:51 AM
Marriage & Family
Comments

One other thing:

Chuck Colson may wish to consider that the whole controversy over allowing Gay couples to marry could have been averted if a greater effort had been made to treat people fairly under the law. As I've pointed out before, upon doing some calculations on the Social Security website, I found out my married spouse would be eligible for over $800 per month (after retirement) in the event of my death. However, this is money that Greg is not eligible for, because we are not married, nor are we allowed to get married. I would like to provide for the financial well-being of my spouse, just as I'm sure any married person would, but in essence I'm throwing away money on a fund Greg cannot take advantage of after I’m gone.

Frankly, if the Bush administration would somehow tweak Social Security and IRS laws so that Gay couples could file joint tax returns and designate each other as beneficiaries, the whole hullabaloo over Gay marriage would probably evaporate.

Posted by: Chuck Anziulewicz at June 28, 2004 10:06 AM

Perhaps the reason most people don't have their fur up as much as Chuck Colson over allowing Gay couples to marry is because most people these days actually KNOW people who are Gay. They have friends and family members and co-workers who are Gay, and they've come to realize that those people are not the monsters Chuck Colson would have them believe.

Probably the best thing Gay individuals and couples are doing is demonstrating through example that they make good friends and neighbors, that they are as capable as anyone else of conducting themselves with decency and humility, and that they are to be valued and supported within their communities.

CASE IN POINT: Greg & I have a great number of dear friends who are Straight. They know us well, they understand our commitment to each other. They value our friendship as we value theirs. Recently one of those friends, a 50-ish married guy named Ken, said to us, "You know, guys, years ago I would have said that I was dead-set against Gay marriage. But today, after having gotten to know you and see what you have together, I really think you SHOULD be allowed to get married."

True story. And it's little victories like that, one at a time, that cause Chuck Colson so much consternation.

Posted by: Chuck Anziulewicz at June 28, 2004 10:15 AM

**Frankly, if the Bush administration would somehow tweak Social Security and IRS laws so that Gay couples could file joint tax returns and designate each other as beneficiaries, the whole hullabaloo over Gay marriage would probably evaporate.**

It's nice to say, but I don't think this is true at all. This battle from the gay rights movement's perspective hasn't been about tax returns, it's been about gaining complete social, legal, and political approbation of a lifestyle. It has been about "equality" and has employed other such high-minded rhetoric about higher causes and greater goods. And it has been about running roughshod over those who would try to protect the family as it has been understood to be generally normative over every civilization in the world up to this point. Tax returns wouldn't fix anything.

But on the point of tax returns, we have decided to privilege marriage to a certain limited extent in our tax code for many policy reasons that recognize that the family is something to be encouraged and supported. If the same benefits may be given to any two people (and it couldn't just be limited to gay couples who love each other, unless the government wanted to get involved in determining people's sexual preferences and states of relationships) then the tax implications for marriage and families become meaningless.

**Perhaps the reason most people don't have their fur up as much as Chuck Colson over allowing Gay couples to marry is because most people these days actually KNOW people who are Gay. They have friends and family members and co-workers who are Gay, and they've come to realize that those people are not the monsters Chuck Colson would have them believe.**

I take issue with this point as well. It seems to be taken for granted in some quarters that if Christian conservatives actually KNEW gay people, they couldn't possibly think the way they do. But this is simply untrue. I know plenty of gay people - related to some, friends or co-workers with others. What it comes down to is making distinctions between - wait for it - people and their actions. This is central to Christianity. I also know and am friends with lots of people who have premarital sex, or live with their boyfriend/girlfriend. I still think they're nice people, and I still they can be decent and honest and deserving of being valued as people (*of course* they are), but this doesn't change the fact that I think the actions they have taken are unfortunately wrong, and not deserving of wide social sanction.

It really isn't personal. Opposition to gay marriage doesn't mean you think gay people are "monsters" (I don't think Chuck Colson thinks so either, nor does he want others to think that). I think Justin is more correct that people simply aren't realizing the enormity of the sea change in social organization that is underway right now, than that they've merely stopped thinking of gay people as "monsters." That wasn't likely the case to begin with.

Posted by: Kimberly at June 28, 2004 11:24 AM

KIMBERLY: "It couldn't just be limited to gay couples who love each other, unless the government wanted to get involved in determining people's sexual preferences and states of relationships."

Not a good argument. Government gets involved all the time, prohibiting incestuous relationships, discouraging parings that have genetic hazards. As for sexual preference, what "determining" needs to occur when a heterosexual couple marry? None, as far as I can tell. It wouldn't be any different for a Gay couple.

KIMBERLY: "I know and am friends with lots of people who have premarital sex, or live with their boyfriend/girlfriend. I still think they're nice people, and I still they can be decent and honest and deserving of being valued as people, but this doesn't change the fact that I think the actions they have taken are unfortunately wrong, and not deserving of wide social sanction."

Still not a good comparison. Assuming the couples you cite are heterosexual, at least they have the option to marry. Why they don't is a mystery to me, unless they are unwilling to make a (ideally) lifelong commitment to one another's happiness and well-being. Such commitments are infinitely preferable to promiscuity or simply bouncing from one shallow relationship to the next, and I believe such commitments are worth supporting, regardless of whether the couple is Gay or Straight.

KIMBERLY: "We have decided to privilege marriage to a certain limited extent in our tax code for many policy reasons that recognize that the family is something to be encouraged and supported. If the same benefits may be given to any two people, then the tax implications for marriage and families become meaningless."

If by "family" you mean a couple with children, it is surely something to be encouraged and supported, yet your argument ignores the reality of Gay couples who have children through adoption or artificial insemination. It also ignores the fact that our government does not require a desire to have children as a prerequisite for marriage. The only interest our secular government seem to have is in encouraging stability and commitment. And if that's good enough for Justin Katz and his spouse, why shouldn't it be good enough for me and mine?

In fact, to understand why this issue is of such importance to Gay couples, you have to ask married Straight couples why they sought to get married in the first place. You've made it clear that you think cohabitation is wrong, but there are no laws against it. Nor are there laws against having children out of wedlock.

So why would a hetersexual couple want to marry? Do they say, "We want to get married so we can have sex!"? Hmmm, probably not in this day and age. Do they say, "We want to get married because we plan on having children."? Again, as I've pointed out, the desire to have children is irrelevant.

But how about this: "We want to get married because we deeply love each other, so much so that we want to make a lifelong commitment to each other's happiness and welfare, and we want to declare this commitment before our friends and family members." Seem pretty reasonable? I knew you'd think so.

So what makes you think Gay couples are any different?

Posted by: Chuck Anziulewicz at June 28, 2004 1:38 PM

The other point behind Colson's essay is that a lot of people may have an intuition that marriage should be between a man and a woman, but in our modern cultural mindset they can't articulate why. They also may be uneasy about sanctioning SSM, but again can't articulate the reasons why, and are nervous about being called a bigot, or homophobic. Thus if given a chance to vote on it, they would likely vote to protect the traditional view of marriage. But they aren't likely to speak up about it to their representatives.

But the reason many people feel uneasy about the issue is precisely because we've gone so far down the road to changing the definitions of marriage already. The combination of contraception, abortion, the loss of a direct need for children to help the family survive, and the sexual revolution have all weakened the connections, both substantive and mentally, between marriage and procreation, and procreation and sex. If you already don't necessarily expect married couples to have children, or unmarried couples who become pregnant to get married, or parents to put their children's needs above their own and put off divorce, then why would you object to recognizing same-sex marriages? The larger question is, how long can our society sustain itself given the current views of marriage, SSM aside?

Posted by: Mike S. at June 28, 2004 1:43 PM

Your points are more persuasive, Mike. In fact, James Dobson of Focus on the Family made a similar point when he appeared before the National Press Club this past Friday. In his remarks, he cited the advent of "no fault" divorce in 1969 as the beginning of the erosion of marriage in this country: "For the first time, it undermined the meaning of 'til death do us part.' You could get out of a marriage more easily than you could get out of a contract to buy a refrigerator."

Perhaps a completely different Federal Marriage Amendment needs to be proposed, one that REALLY turns back the clock. In addition to limiting marriage to one man and one woman, it would eliminate the option of "no fault" divorce, require all couples applying for marriage licenses to state in writing that they WILL have children by any means available, prohibit the use of contraception by married couples, and criminalize out-of-wedlock births.

I suspect such an amendment wouldn't have a snowball's chance in Hell of being ratified. Nope, it's far easier to make Gay people convenient scapegoats for all the modern ills that affect the institution of marriage.

Posted by: Chuck Anziulewicz at June 28, 2004 2:17 PM

Technology has demolished most sexual morality in America. Birth control and safe abortion have altered all the rules on who should have sex with whom, how, and under what circumstances.

The liberals’ response to this change in technology has been to destroy sexual moral rules that they find inconvenient. It's easy and popular to open the floodgates of sexual pleasure and let future generations sort out the consequences.

Conservatives know instinctively that abolishing sexual morality is selfish and short-sighted. It's obvious to us that we need some rules, but it isn't obvious what those rules should be. We deeply dislike changing moral rules, because we’re keenly aware of our inability to grasp all the effects of any change. We feel a profound responsibility to future generations for any harm we might cause them.

There's no denying that technology has changed the consequences of sex, and will continue to do so into the future. The rate of progress in the biosciences is forcing conservatives into a very uncomfortable position: We must invent a new sexual morality that can handle not only past changes in technology, but future ones as well. We need new moral insights on death, sex, reproduction, and the sanctity of human life. And we need them now.

The project is far larger than marriage. It extends at least to abortion, euthanasia, stem cells, and genetic engineering. Serious thinkers will need many years to agree on what the modern rules of sexual morality should be, and perhaps decades afterwards to convince the public that the rules are necessary. And America's current extreme prosperity makes it difficult to convince anyone that any moral rule should limit their pleasure.

The potential for error in such a project is enormous. Conservatives hesitate to jump into a battle when they aren’t completely sure of what their goal is. But we must act quickly and tolerate some risk of error, because we can hardly do worse than what we have today: the destruction of morality for its own sake.

Liberals want to tear down sexual morality. Conservatives want to build a new one. Is it any wonder that conservatives are at a tactical disadvantage?

Posted by: Ben Bateman at June 28, 2004 2:27 PM

Ben,

You mean all those divorced Republicans want to buld a new morality? Is that before or after their divorce? Or are we talking about the drug-using, divorce-seeking Rush Limbaugh?

Posted by: Joel Thomas at June 28, 2004 3:17 PM

Joel,

Ben referred to conservatives, not Republicans. They are not one and the same. Likewise with Democrats and liberals.

Chuck,

"I suspect such an amendment wouldn't have a snowball's chance in Hell of being ratified. Nope, it's far easier to make Gay people convenient scapegoats for all the modern ills that affect the institution of marriage."

I agree that such an amendment wouldn't stand much chance of being ratified. But you've set up a false choice by saying that the options are restricted to such an amendment, or legal ratification of SSM. There are several ways to help strengthen marriage, and not all of them involve the legal code. And those that do (like tightening divorce laws) don't require a Constitutional amendment. Of course a large part of the debate hinges on whether legal recognition of SSM will further weaken the institution of marriage or not. If it will, then it is reasonable to counteract the movement pressing for it, while simultaneously pushing for other actions to strengthen marriage. If it won't, then one can argue that banning it in the Constitution (actually what is proposed is to ban judicial imposition of SSM, but for the sake of argument we can just say banning) is unneccessarily prejudicial, since it won't really help support marriage, and is preventing something that wouldn't really harm marriage.

To argue, pace Andrew Sullivan, that those who support the FMA are automatically bigoted and/or ignorant is to miss that fundamental point: what is marriage, and what should we be doing to support it? Like Kimberly said, those of us opposed to SSM *really do think* that it would harm the institution of marriage, with widespread negative consequences. And we really think that marriage is defined as one man and one woman for good reasons. Some of us realize that some same-sex couples (and their children) might benefit from SSM (not everyone would agree, but that is a somewhat different topic), but we think those benefits are outweighed by the larger negative effects on the social views of marriage. You can disagree with us, but to claim that we're opposed to SSM because we're ignorant bigots is not to address the issues, but to rely on invective.

Anyway, the point of my post was to question whether even if SSM supporters are correct in their assertion that it would not do any further harm to marriage, we would need to do other things to shore up the institution, since the status quo is not tenable. (This is a subset of the question Ben is posing.) So the options, it seems to me, for so-called 'conservative' advocates of SSM, are to claim that the status quo is OK and SSM won't change it or will make it better, or that the status quo is not OK and SSM will make the institution stronger. I don't find either of those positions very plausible, given the fact that I've seen several acknowledgements from SSM supporters that if SSM were to be coupled to much higher restrictions on divorce, and a stronger emphasis on monogamy, the support for SSM would be considerably weakened.

Posted by: Mike S. at June 28, 2004 4:50 PM

P.S.

Chuck's definition of marriage was, "But how about this: "We want to get married because we deeply love each other, so much so that we want to make a lifelong commitment to each other's happiness and welfare, and we want to declare this commitment before our friends and family members." Seem pretty reasonable? I knew you'd think so."

Kimberly can give her own response, but that is precisely what most of us against SSM are arguing - that marriage is *not* defined simply by the wishes of the two people involved. That commitment serves an ulterior motive, not just to provide for the couple involved - it is an attempt to ensure that the couple stays together when they have children, and when the inevitable tough times arrive. Under your definition, if you both stopped loving each other, and found new partners who you wanted to commit your lives to, then there would be no reason not to get divorced and remarried. If marriage were simply a matter of the needs of the adults involved, then there would be no problem with this, gay or straight. The problems occur when this model takes precedence over staying together when there are children involved. Which is precisely the situation we already find ourselves in to a large extent.

In any case, nobody is saying that you can't declare your commitment to your spouse in front of your friends and family, or that you can't spend the rest of your lives together. What you are asking for is public recognition of your union as being equivalent to a heterosexual one. The fact that it has some similarities to hetersexual unions, such as commitment, love, and sacrifice, does not mean that they are equivalent, however. And the key way in which it is different, the ability to produce children, is the reason why marriage is defined as a heterosexual pairing. Perhaps, as Ben alluded to, if cloning ever becomes widespread these defintions will no longer be appropriate, but we are obviously not there yet.

Posted by: Mike S. at June 28, 2004 5:08 PM

Despite being someone who believes that acceptance of homosexuality is not the moral or cultural disaster that others do, I still feel compelled to defend Mike and Ben (in this case).

First, the Rush comment sounds like something you'd hear .... from Rush himself - as in attacking an issue based on the behavior of the messenger. That is as simplistic and shallow as comments by Michael Moore against the Bush administration or comments like "Liberals want to tear down sexual morality.".

Also, I agree with Mike with regard to what the debate is about. It is not as simple as bigotry against homosexuals. Marriage, as a legal institution, cannot be based solely on the basis on two-people loving each other. If that were the case, then there would be no legitimate reasons to deny legitimization to polygamous and/or incestuous relationships.

The issue here is, as Mike said, is whether gay relationships can and should be viewed as legally equivalent to gay relationships - or even more succinctly, whether legal acceptance of the model of same-sex relationships causes more harm than good.

Posted by: Mark Miller at June 29, 2004 11:46 AM

Chuck,

Sorry for the delayed response. Things are a bit busy, just now, and others have answered specific points better than I probably would have, anyway. Still, I want to address a few things that you've written above.

Recently one of those friends, a 50-ish married guy named Ken, said to us, "You know, guys, years ago I would have said that I was dead-set against Gay marriage. But today, after having gotten to know you and see what you have together, I really think you SHOULD be allowed to get married."

Among the larger misconstructions of the "bigotry" meme is that it's somehow easier to oppose same-sex marriage. Well, I live in Rhode Island, and I'm pretty confident that my position on this issue has lost me friends — not to mention career opportunities.

I find it interesting that you consider your friend Ken's comment to be a "victory." From a public policy standpoint, your victory has been to manipulate Ken (in a neutral sense) so that his friendship with you, and perhaps the broader social pressure of a group of friends, prevails over judgment made beyond his personal interests. It's mistaken for him to assume that 1) all gay couples are like yours and 2) that the only parties affected by SSM are gay couples and the people who know them.

Government gets involved all the time, prohibiting incestuous relationships, discouraging parings that have genetic hazards.

Firstly, I'm curious what examples you can provide of the government's interceding in the marital intentions of couples who "have genetic hazards." The most common example is the other one that you mention: incestuous relationships. And that opens up a whole other range of discussion; what genetic hazards can there possibly be for same-sex siblings? This, it seems to me, is merely pointing further down the slope and declaring, "See, we're not there yet."

As for sexual preference, what "determining" needs to occur when a heterosexual couple marry? None, as far as I can tell. It wouldn't be any different for a Gay couple.

I think you missed Kimberly's point. There won't be any "determining" for same-sex couples, so any two who would like to do so can pair up merely as a matter of convenience and the conferral of benefits.

Assuming the couples you cite are heterosexual, at least they have the option to marry.

Again, you've missed Kimberly's point. She was saying, related to my argument a few blockquotes up, that knowing people who engage in that behavior doesn't mean approval of social recognition of it.

It also ignores the fact that our government does not require a desire to have children as a prerequisite for marriage.

This misconstrues the way marriage works as a cultural institution bolstered by legal recognition. We want straight couples to marry, not so much because they want children (although that's how it translates into cultural expectation), but because children are a probable consequence of their relationship. Even cloning won't bring this same dynamic to gay couples, for whom having children will always be a choice and therefore partially a result of conditions mirroring marriage that precede the child.

The only interest our secular government seem to have is in encouraging stability and commitment.

Then why not incest? Why not polygamy? And why, where the two individuals are concerned, are "stability and commitment" adequate qualities to justify government involvement at all?

Do they say, "We want to get married because we plan on having children."? Again, as I've pointed out, the desire to have children is irrelevant.

Well, yes, that is the reason, largely. However, given the definition of marriage, there hasn't been any reason to phrase it more specifically than "to start a family," which (in a way of looking at the matter) is the shorthand that homosexuals are exploiting to make their claim.

But note that you've conveniently dismissed this response. (Why ask the question?) It doesn't follow from "why would they want to marry" to say, "oh, that reason is irrelevant." Is that less relevant than the reason you cited earlier of wanting to transfer Social Security benefits? Less relevant than wanting free healthcare?

What the couples want is more irrelevant, from the perspective of the society, than what society wants them to do, which is, inasmuch as possible, to form families in which children will grow up with their biological parents, one of each sex/gender. Hence marriage.

Perhaps a completely different Federal Marriage Amendment needs to be proposed, one that REALLY turns back the clock. In addition to limiting marriage to one man and one woman, it would eliminate the option of "no fault" divorce, require all couples applying for marriage licenses to state in writing that they WILL have children by any means available, prohibit the use of contraception by married couples, and criminalize out-of-wedlock births.

It's hard to know how seriously to respond — mostly because your rhetoric has no basis in how society can optimally conduct itself toward desired ends. That being the case, I'll only repeat something that I've said many times: although I don't know whether an amendment is necessary, I unequivocally support stronger divorce laws. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if homosexuals could secure social conservatives' support for a constitutional amendment granting same-sex marriage if it were joined to a no-divorce clause for all couples.

In fact, under the right circumstances, I might support a legal regime whereby all couples could register as "civil unions," with some limited benefits geared toward mutual care, until they had children, at which point they ipso facto became married and gained a whole panoply of rights and privileges. The main difficulty of this — as an incipient idea — is that the goal of marriage isn't so much to encourage people to have children as to encourage them to raise the children that they have.

Posted by: Justin Katz at June 29, 2004 11:47 AM

Chuck and Greg seem like decent enough guys and make a nice looking couple (more like brothers than lovers though), and i don't doubt the sincerty of their relationship. But i still cannot shake the feeling that by choosing each other, they have deprived two average looking and slightly dumpy women of the men for whom they were intended to reproduce with and live out the rest of their lives.

Scientific proof that you were "born that way" and "cannot change" is all i'm asking for. Is that so much for society to ask for, before we grant your request to toss out 4000 years of conventional wisdom, not to mention the laws of God and mother nature?

I don't think it's a lot to ask for at all, considering the radically unprecendented nature of this change to "family".

Posted by: Marty at June 29, 2004 12:19 PM

MARTY: "I still cannot shake the feeling that by choosing each other, they have deprived two average looking and slightly dumpy women of the men for whom they were intended to reproduce with and live out the rest of their lives."

Gee whiz, Marty, you make it sound like animal husbandry. Anyway, "intended" by whom? Are you assuming that God already had a couple of "average looking and slightly dumpy women" already picked out for us? That sounds like predestination, something I don't really believe in.

Shall I assume, Marty, that you are of a heterosexual orientation? If that's the case, you still have many choices in life. Even if you were celibate, it wouldn't mean that you suddenly stopped being Straight. But if you sought a relationship, a pair-bond if you will, it would be with a hetersexual person of the opposite sex. A relationship with a person of the same sex wouldn't make sense, now would it? In fact, I doubt it's anything you've given much thought to in your own life. Why? Because you're STRAIGHT.

People who are Gay have the same choices. Some are promiscuous, bouncing from one sexual relationship to another. Others prefer monogamy. Still others seek to life lives of chastity, often for reasons of faith.

As for my life with my partner Greg, I think God understands my heart, mind, and motivations better than any self-appointed moral guardian, and for Him to summarily condemn the joy we have in our commitment to each other seems completely illogical by any remotely human standard.

I am committed Greg, as he is to me. We are both Gay; our mutually shared sexual orientation is as fundamental to our emotional and biological makeup as liking food. We were fortunate enough to have been introduced to each other five years ago (June 29, 1999) by friends who felt that we would be compatible, and sure enough, we are. Since we both take a rather conservative approach to love and relationships, we are monogamous and avoid situations in which we might be tempted to stray. Greg is my love, my life, and my inspiration; he seems to feel the same way about me.

HOWEVER: For the more conservative Christians, none of this matters. There are no moral distinctions to be made between promiscuous Gay men as opposed to couples such as us. It's all simply wrong, wrong, wrong. The Scriptures, they inform me, are clear on this matter: That no matter how righteously I conduct my life, if I remain unapologetic for maintaining my committment to my spouse, God will most assuredly damn me to an eternity of withering punishment.

To avoid this, I am told, Greg & I must end our relationship. We need to put an end to our love for and committment to each other. Gay relationships are simply out of the question, case closed. My spiritual redemption is at stake.

MY CHOICE: Either to continue to do well and good by my spouse, to continue to do everything I can to ensure Greg's happiness and the joy we share in each other's company ... OR to avoid the eternal torments of Hell.

Since the latter of the two seems rather selfish, I'll stay with Greg, thank you very much. No Supreme Being comprehensible by me would punish what we have together. And any God that would punish us because we have chosen to honor our love and committment to each other is not a God that I would wish to ally myself with.

Posted by: Chuck Anziulewicz at June 29, 2004 1:41 PM

Nobody ever said you needed to end your relationship with anyone -- only that the sexual aspects needed redirection. I believe you have a duty to mate as a husband and as a father because you were created to do so. By whom, is a question you are free to answer on your own.

"In fact, I doubt it's anything you've given much thought to in your own life. Why? Because you're STRAIGHT."

Be careful you don't fall victim to the same macho stereotypes you would accuse the locker-room jocks of misusing. Yes, i'm straight, and yes, i chose to be. Was i ever gay? well, i never chose to be... could i have? quite easily.

Am i "average" because of this? hardly -- but i'm sure you would agree that the average locker-room jock is in denial of his sexuality anyway. We are all sexual beings, and we all make choices. Some conciously, others unconciously, and some, sadly, are made for us by other people for reasons of their own.

I see people choosing their sexuality all around me -- and yet i keep hearing that it's impossible.

Posted by: Marty at June 29, 2004 3:26 PM

The only interest our secular government seem to have is in encouraging stability and commitment.

Exactly. But to what end? Do two adults need stability and commitment in a relationship? No. The reason stability and commitment are sought is not for the adults, but for the children produced through the relationship. If no children can be possible, stability and comitment are nice, I suppose, but totally irrelevant to societal structure. Life existed for you before your other (June 29, 1999, to be exact); it will go on after. But for the two year-old child?

THe God of objective truth makes demands on all of us, not just gay couiples. I also have a strong passionate love for a certain person of the opposite sex at least as strong as your feelings for Greg. In fact, I have that feeling for two of them. One of them I am married to; the other I am friends with. Although I would go to the ends of the Earth and give my life for either of them, and am attracted sexually to both, my God says I can only be married to one, and can only express my love in the ultimate way - creating a new human life - only with the one I am married to. So the way I can express my love for my nonspousal friend is limited, although my love for her may not be, and I will be her friend for life. I would rather have both of them as my spouse, but my God says that is not a proper way. Ultimately, His will, not mine, be done. It is the same choice you face.

Posted by: c matt at June 29, 2004 5:47 PM

Chuck,

I've responded to your statements about God in a separate post.

Posted by: Justin Katz at June 29, 2004 8:52 PM

Good post, c matt.

Posted by: Mike S. at June 29, 2004 10:03 PM

Sorry I was late in responding (work obligations) but it looks as though other people understood what I had said and responded better than I could : ) But one note:

***"We want to get married because we deeply love each other, so much so that we want to make a lifelong commitment to each other's happiness and welfare, and we want to declare this commitment before our friends and family members." Seem pretty reasonable? I knew you'd think so.***

Mike S. gave a strong response to this. My only additional comment is that in expressing this desire to have a public recognition for his relationship, Chuck is admitting even as he appears to deny it that gay marriage wouldn't just go away if tax policy were changed. Whether the tax policy should or should not be the way it is (flat tax, anyone?) changing it would not really serve to satisfy those who seek "equality" in every sense of social, legal and political approval.

Posted by: Kimberly at June 30, 2004 9:30 AM