How does Same Sex Marriage "violate" the sanctity of marriage?

Is there a reasonable argument against Same Sex Marriage?

I think the better question might be “Is there a reasonable argument for a secular govt. to codify a religious concept like ‘sanctity’ in relation to legal contracts between consenting adults?”

in short, it doesn’t and there isn’t.

As a heterosexual, a political conservative and a Christian who has changed his mind on this issue, I would like to explain my thoughts on this.

I have deeply held religious beliefs about my own marriage, without requiring or expecting that anyone else, particularly agnostics or atheists, subscribe to those beliefs. Those beliefs govern my conduct toward my spouse and are an important part of what I view as my role in life as a Christian. There was a time when I viewed state-sanctioned same-sex marriage as an affront to my beliefs and some sort of threat to my religious marriage.

The arguments over civil unions and same-sex marriages prompted me to reflect on what my marriage is, what I value about it, and what was actually at stake. I have two marriages. One is the sacred lifelong commitment that I hold so dear, and the other is a civil union sanctioned by the state. The license for the civil union was signed by my pastor in his role as an agent of the state, one who is authorized to approve marriage licenses. The sacred part is between me, my wife and God, witnessed by my pastor and some family and friends.

If the state decides to extend the issuing of marriage licenses to same-sex couples, which I now believe should be done, that has no impact on my marriage. Would my pastor execute such a license? I am sure that he would not. But other pastors in other denominations would, and secular authorities would too if the law permitted. I think that it is wrong for Christian denominations to ask the state to continue to enforce a definition of marriage that is religiously based. Let the denominations themselves do that if they choose. All couples should have the right to a marriage license, which is by definition a license for a civil union indistinguishable, secularly speaking, from my own.


There are plenty of reasonable arguments against certain methods of enacting it into being in the United States.

But legal recognition of same-sex marriage itself is a wise policy for a state to adopt. The “sanctity” of marriage is a religious concept that should not be implemented by civil law.

Well, the “sanctity” part isn’t explicitly codified, so that’s really a strawman. And “sanctity” has a secular meaning, too. I don’t know that politicians are always using its religious meaning when and if they speak of the “sanctity of marriage”. Would you ascribe a religious motive to someone who spoke of the sanctity of the Constitution? Marriage has a religious and secular component, and I would take the meaning of “violating the sanctity of marriage” to be “expanding it beyond it’s traditional scope”.

But, as is being discussed in the other thread, there isn’t a good non-religious argument against SSM. In fact, many people argue that there isn’t even a good religious argument against it. Those who make such non-religious arguments almost always claim, erroneously, that sexual acts between same gendered persons are “unnatural” or somehow antithetical to something like “evolutionary laws” (whatever those are). As if sex acts without a procreative component never happens in nature either between opposite sex or same sex partners!

I certainly don’t think so.

The non-religious arguments tend to boil down to some combination of “gay sex is icky”, “gay sex is unnatural”, or “the purpose of marriage is to have kids”.

If we’re outlawing gay marriage because gay sex is icky, when are we going to outlaw eating squid? A lot of people think that’s icky, too. And the Supreme Court has recently struck down laws preventing consenting adults from doing icky things like sodomy in private (which is presumably where the married gays would be doing their thing) in the Lawrence v. Texas case.

As for “gay sex is unnatural”- so what? So is living in houses, having modern medicine, having cars, using birth control, and all sorts of things that are legal. For that matter, having a system of laws is unnatural. “X is bad” doesn’t follow from “X is unnatural”, just like “X is good” doesn’t follow from “X is natural”.

Saying that the purpose of marriage is to have kids means that a lot of currently valid heterosexual marriages shouldn’t be- marriages between people who are infertile, too old to have kids, or don’t want kids would be invalid. You could argue that this argument means that we should declare all marriages void after the children of the marriage have grown up and left the nest- after all, it serves no purpose to have the marriage continue. If you’re going to say that the purpose of marriage is to have kids, you really are changing the nature of marriage for everyone- you’d be reducing all of what marriage means to people now to a temporary partnership for one purpose- raising kids.

I have to pass on a wiitism Slant said at the recent Cleveland Dopefest, he said that if you are against gay sex, promote gay marriage!

As I see it the issue is not how it would violate the sanctity of marriage, but why do we want to call something that is not marriage a marriage. It just not a marriage to many of us, many think it’s some kind of relationship, but the term marriage just doesn’t fit.

Why not? Can you point out what the difference is, beyond a simple feeling that “it ain’t right”?

Well, this is another of those semantic matters, but see below.

That some are is troubling enough. I really don’t see the secular concern in this instance, and I really don’t think Congress has any plausible deniability on this one.

These days, quite frankly, given the rhetoric of the Christian right and their assertions that the law of the land derives its foundation in, and legitimacy from, religious Law, I’d have cause to, depending on the speaker.

There’s not the remotest requirement for one to equate “traditional” with “sacred”. Certainly some (perhaps most) traditions should not be held inviolate simply because they are traditional. That sounds like an argument from nature, which is a basic fallacy. Some things have been and should be expanded beyond their traditional role, and some traditions have been and should be discarded entirely.

…because the biggest threat to a marriage is a committed monogamous gay couple.

OK, I stole that from Colbert.

Sanctity? Only if it’s a religious term. Then you’ve got all kinds of arguments about what your particular god says. State-recognized marriage is a different thing, and there’s no sanctity about it.

I think this is just an expression of stereotypical right wing idealogy. Stereotypical left wing idealogy involves things like class warfare (that is their big boogeyman) but the main boogeyman of the right wing is a concept of an east/west coast liberal elite that wants to overturn traditional american values. For them I think this is an extension of this, an attempt to prevent activist/liberal judges from forcing their will on the american people.

I don’t see any moral reason to oppose gay marriage and I see endless moral reasons to support it. But I am an athiest with a poor view on religion and with a poor opinion of the concept of ‘change is bad’ which are the 2 motivating factors for opposition to gay marriage.

The arugment that gay marriage will erode traditional marriage is not really fair. Numerous things threaten traditional marriage. Looking at pictures of someone who is more attractive is shown to make you feel less attracted to your spouse so arguably preventing TV shows from having attractive people on them is going to help protect traditional marriage. So is making divorce almost impossible to obtain.

Dunno who first said it, but those who wish to “protect marriage” would do so much more effectively by passing an amendment to ban divorce.

Well on a personal level we are still allowed just feel ‘it ain’t right’ and go with that. But I will try to go a bit into your request. Marriage is the basic unit of humanity of modern civilization, one man and one woman each joining together, complementing each other, not supplementing each other. There is a difference besides plumbing between men and women, if this was not true then why do sexual orientations happen, why do you prefer one gender to another when it comes to your choice for a mate (assuming you are not Bi-sexual), for that matter even pets usually will prefer one gender to another. Each has their own strengths and weaknesses to bring to a relationship, and this union is far stronger due to the complementry effects.
Dunno who first said it, but those who wish to “protect marriage” would do so much more effectively by passing an amendment to ban divorce.

I agree with this also, I have no doubt that hetro civil unions would come about or some other term that would allow splitting up and true marriages would be rare.

You forgot to include the part where you explain why this shouldn’t be applicable to homosexual couples.

How do you define the term marriage, kanicbird? Is it statement of commitment between adults? Is it a business arrangement? Is it a recognition of mutual responsibilities? Is it a tax status? Is it a religiously sanctioned relationship?

The only definition of marriage that I have personally been able to come up with, that would preclude SSM would be one that has the potential to generate offspring, and that would rule out many heterosexual marriages.

If I may further elaborate on **Miller’s ** comment: you seem to be assuming that these complementary differences are based entirely on two different genders. I can tell you, anecdotally, that my partner and I are as different personalities as you could imagine, and we complement each other very well. We happen to have the same plumbing, which has its own issues. But our personalities are more different from each other than my parents’ personalities were (to use an example I am most familiar with).

I agree, but isn’t that just the point? What exactly is a “true marriage” if divorces are so easy? Please go back up the string and re-read the excellent post by **Crotalus ** for a rational view of relationship commitment that you might find palatable.

Finally, your whole discussion does not really address why the civil government should be concerned with preventing same-sex relationships from being called marriages.


Today, marriage is about two people choosing to come together to form a family (that may or may not include children). It seems to me that allowing gay marriage is hardly a radical “transformation” when compared to the transformation of marriage from being arranged affairs where the woman was the man’s property into it’s modern sense.

First of all I must thank **Crotalus **for your courage and insight. I wish there were more people with your background, who were capable of thinking so reasonably.

And then there’s Kanicbird. Any time there’s a gay-related thread, you show up to babble incessantly about your bizarre theories of sexuality, and no amount of reasoning can ever separate you from these crudely subjective opinions. So I won’t even try.