That is the title of an essay authored by Patrick Lee, the John N. and Jamie D. McAleer Chair in Bioethics at Franciscan University of Steubenville and the director of the Witherspoon Institute’s Program on Bioethics and Human Dignity. Here are some excerpts from the essay:
In the December 15th edition of Newsweek, both Jon Meacham in his editor’s note and religion editor Lisa Miller in her front-page article mock arguments from scripture. At the same time, they invoke that same Bible’s authority for a “more general” message of “inclusivity,” in order to lobby for making gay marriage a sacrament. Meacham and Miller paint all opposition to the radical re-definition of marriage as hateful bigotry, comparing it to racism, and labeling appeals to the authority of the Bible against homosexual “marriage” and homosexual acts as fundamentalism. Indeed Meacham goes further: it is “the worst kind of fundamentalism.” How much worse than suicide-bombings and beheadings he does not make clear.
Others can dissect the theological and factual howlers in these essays. Here I want to correct the assumption made by Meacham and Miller that the case against same-sex “marriage” must be a Biblical one. Instead, both by faith and by reason one can see that genuine marriage must be heterosexual, that sexual acts outside of marriage are immoral, and that the state, therefore, should not declare any same-sex unions “marriages,” nor actively encourage sexual acts outside of marriage....
Advocates of same-sex “marriage” often argue that since marriage is a community oriented to raising children, and same-sex couples sometimes do raise children, such couples should qualify as marriages. But if having the purpose of raising children were sufficient to qualify as marriage, then orphanages, and some groups of religious women or men, could also be labeled as “marriages,” which is absurd. Likewise, other arrangements are sometimes called “marriage,” but in reality these are different types of relationship. For example, men and women often cohabit and view children as an optional extra or as burdens to be avoided. Or two or more individuals sometimes form alliances for the sake of raising children (for example two sisters, or several celibate religious men or women). But neither of these relationships are marriages: they have distinct purposes or goals.
Other advocates of same-sex “marriage” view marriage as only an emotional relationship, and the sexual acts as extrinsic symbols of that emotional connection. Since same-sex couples can intend their sexual acts to symbolize their love or affection, these unions (they contend) qualify as marriages. But, as just noted, genuine marriage is in fact a multi-leveled relationship that encompasses the bodily, emotional, volitional, and intellectual aspects of the spouses. In genuine marriage the bodily sexual acts are part of the marital union, not just extrinsic symbols. In sexual intercourse between a man and a woman (whether married or not), a real bodily union is established. Human beings are organisms, albeit of a particular type. In most actions—digesting, sensing, walking, and so on—individual male or female organisms are complete units. However, with respect to reproduction, the male and the female are incomplete. In reproductive activity the bodily parts of the male and the bodily parts of the female participate in a single action, coitus, which is oriented to procreation (though not every act of coitus actually reproduces), so that the subject of the action is the male and the female as a unit. Sexual intercourse is a unitary action in which the male and the female complete one another, and become really biologically one, a single organism. In marital intercourse, this bodily unity is an aspect of, a constitutive part of, the couple’s more comprehensive, marital communion....
What does all of this mean for public policy? In a well-ordered society, the state should give legal recognition to real marriage, promote it, protect it, and privilege it over other sexual arrangements—as a good for the spouses and the children their union may form. The state has an essential interest in the health of marriage. Generally speaking, children will receive the best and most loving care if they are raised by their biological parents, who have formed a community aimed at providing the most suitable environment for any children they may help bring into being. Almost always, children can count on their mothers to care for them when they are young; the institution of marriage is dedicated to ensuring, as much as possible, that fathers also will fulfill their responsibilities to the children they help procreate, and to the mothers of their children. Furthermore, where the institution of marriage is strong, people’s sexual passions and energies—frequently difficult to control, often leading to self-centeredness and exploitation—are channeled toward intelligible goods, namely, marriage and family.
If the state declares same-sex unions to be equivalent to marriage, it will profoundly obscure the nature of marriage. In effect, it will send the message that marriage is centrally about the romantic attachment and sexual relationship of adults to each other rather than about a relationship which by its nature is oriented to and suited for becoming family. Doing that would almost certainly further weaken the institution of marriage.
Read the entire essay here.