I've been thinking quite a bit about marriage, particularly following the "Defining Marriage" broadcast last night.
Here are some thoughts, in no particular order:
* Marriage is intrinsic to society. Regardless of our theology, ideology or philosophy, how we define marriage will affect everyone in a society becasue, if nothing else, it affects the way we raise children. We are now reaping a terrible harvest of dysfunctional families, damaged people, crime, substance abuse and much more becasue of the watering down of our commitment to marriage since the 1970's. Easy divorce, recognition and encouragement of de facto relationships and the "try before you buy" approach to living together are all contributing to generations not knowing who they are. As John Anderson pointed out, this costs our nation billions in various social welfare, health and other programmes.
* Marriage is more than sex. Sex is good and designed by God to not just make children but to bond people together and strengthen their love commitment. There are hormones released during sexual intercourse which not only make us feel good but increase our love for our spouse. Sex helps make the commitment of marriage possible. But marriage is ultimately designed to be an exclusive commitment of a man to a woman for life.
* Marriage provides a secure environment in which children can grow and understand their own identity. They receive a different form of affirmation from mum as from dad. Mothers are nurturers and protectors while fathers encourage exploration and courage. Same sex marriage not only denies this complimentary parenting, it also denies the biological identity of the children- you might argue this is the case for any adoption but the point is that this is not fundamental to the design of marriage as it is for same sex relationships.
* Marriage provides security for the partners. When marriage is truly honoured by all, there is no fear of abandonment, no need to compete with an infinite number of potential sexual rivals. Marriage provides for ongoing care and support through all of life's crises and dfficulties.
* There has been an amazing turn around in the thinking of so-called progressives on the issue of marriage. It used to be considered smart to repudiate marriage. "We don't need that piece of paper." Now the same people are demanding this out-dated institution must be made open to everyone.
* Gay activist Dennis Altman was quoted in the "Defining Marriage" broadcast as saying that while there are many long lasting male homosexual relationships they are almost never monogamous. In other words the traditional condition of "forsaking all others" or exclusivity- fundamental to marriage- is rarely practised.
* Former Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson pointed out that once the State determines that marriage is the right of people of the same gender, it then has to defend that against those who disagree. The inevitable consequence is that the rights of those who disagree are taken away. In Denmark the Lutheran church must now sanction same-sex marriage and, if the local priest refuses, the bishop must provide a compliant priest. In Quebec a register of homophobic acts has now been introduced as a means of intimidating those who dare suggest that there is something wrong or immmoral with homosexuality.
* As a follower of Jesus Christ I must follow His teaching and not my own desires. Christians have a different standard to the world- or at least they should. The world says that we should be free to express our sexuality any way we like. Jesus says that I may not do just what I please, that my sexuality and every part of my being are subject to His reign.