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Assuming one believes that the bible is the word of god, believes that the bible says homossexuality is wrong (or commonly quoted, an abomination), and because of that gays should not marry, how come one says same-sex marriage should be unlawful and homosexuality itself should not? In other words, if one wants to prohibit same-gender marriages because homosexuality is an abomination, shouldn't one be proposing to make it unlawful just to be gay or act upon homosexuality such as build a household or simply have sex with someone of the same gender?

Edit: I would like to clarify the point of my question a little better. I am not really interested in if Gay Marriage should be outlawed or not (I personally believe it should not, but that's besides the point). Of course I am also not suggesting the viability of attempting to outlaw homosexuality itself, which is absurd in our society. My point is that I see people DEFENDING certain rights of homosexuals' such as the right to have homosexual relationships, public display of affection, the right to constitute a family, adopt, etc, and at the same time say their marriage should be banned because homosexuality is a sin/abomination. That is the disconnect I am trying to understand.

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Hi and welcome to Christianity SE. To me this question seems to be duplicate. Have you seen this question - What is a Christian's justification for a legal prohibition of homosexual marriage? –  Monika Michael Aug 2 '12 at 6:19
    
@MonikaMichael: If you think it's really a duplicate, cast a close vote; you have the necessary rep. –  El'endia Starman Aug 2 '12 at 6:36
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@NinjaMan I would. But he's a new user and I thought I'd better give him a chance to edit/clarify it before closing it outright. –  Monika Michael Aug 2 '12 at 6:47
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I had seen the existing question but I don't believe it is a duplicate. My question is in regards to both points - homosexuality and homosexual marriage - one is not pushed to be illegal and the other is. –  Gustavo Cavalcanti Aug 2 '12 at 11:37
    
Ok, thanks for all the answers, I do appreciate the points of view, even they totally oppose my own point of view, but I was not after opinions. I was after a definitive answer from a christian point-of-view but apparently this is not possible. So how can I mark an answer correct? :) I think I need to go with the most up-voted. Also I was not after validating my point-of-view not trying to convince/being convinced. I was genuinely trying to learn the perspective of Christianity. –  Gustavo Cavalcanti Aug 7 '12 at 17:22
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8 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

I don't know anyone who says that he believes homosexual marriage is bad but homosexual sex in general is okay. The nature of the current legal debate is that homosexuals are demanding a change in the laws regarding marriage, which some who believe homosexuality to be a sin are opposing. If I understand you correctly, you are saying that you see an inconsistency if someone opposes gay marriage but does not at the same time campaign to make gay sex in general illegal.

But that's the nature of political debate, isn't it? You can't deal with every possible issue at the same time. It's not inconsistent to fight for or against one particular law without simultaneously campaigning for or against every other law that exists on any related topic, plus every law that you can imagine that might be passed. You can't deal with everything at once. You can only fight so many battles at one time.

Suppose during the 1950s someone campaigned against racially segregated schools. Would you say that he is "inconsistent" because he does not also campaign against job discrimination? Maybe he doesn't have the time or resources to conduct both campaigns. You have to pick your battles.

There's also the whole big question of the relationship between law, morality, and religion. Should Christians work to make everything that the Bible calls a sin made illegal? Or, even assuming that that was politically possible, would that be an inappropriate role for government?

I think a case could be made that the government should have laws defining and regulating marriage, because these are relevant to taxation, inheritance, and other things that are routinely considered legitimate functions of government. And if the government must define it, then it cannot escape the question of whether a gay couple can or cannot be considered married. But what gay people do in their own homes does not necessarily impinge on legitimate functions of government. (Personally, I'm not really convinced by this argument, but I think it's reasonable.)

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+1 Great answer. Now that is something that answers the question and nothing but the question. –  Monika Michael Aug 2 '12 at 8:45
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The funny thing is, I agree with the central point of this answer, but from the other side: gradually, point by point, the liberal/secular left is removing the injustices against homosexuals. First illegality, then more and more equality rights, next: marriage. –  Marc Gravell Aug 2 '12 at 11:21
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Jay, thanks for your answer. There is something I still don't understand. The analogies you say, in my opinion, cannot be used in this case because school segregation is not a premise for job discrimination and vice-versa. In other words, homosexuality is not one issue and ban on homosexual marriage another - instead the first is often the justification of the second. –  Gustavo Cavalcanti Aug 2 '12 at 11:45
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This answer seems to be missing ... an answer. What I take from it is that you can't reconcile being against marriage but not homosexuality in general and that once same-sex marriage is illegal, Christians should take up further causes until ultimately homosexuality itself is illegal. Is that a reasonable interpretation? –  SigueSigueBen Aug 2 '12 at 13:46
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@SiqueSiqueBen What I was trying to say at the end was that I agree that not everything that is immoral or anti-Christian should be illegal, but I'm not sure exactly how that principle applies in this case. Some people make the argument I outlined. I think this argument is interesting, but I'm not prepared to endorse it.Nevertheless, I mention it because others on this forum might find it interesting or useful to their own thoughts. –  Jay Aug 5 '12 at 18:07
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Homosexuality is the punishment for idolatry.

Romans 1:24-27 NKJV

24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

God delivers death penalties now.

Matthew 5:17 NKJV

Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.

Acts 23:3 NKJV

Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! For you sit to judge me according to the law, and do you command me to be struck contrary to the law?”

John 8:7 NKJV

So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”

The death penalty is prescribed for homosexuality.

Leviticus 20:13 NKJV

If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.

Therefore God will kill homosexuals, and by believers having faith that God will fulfill the law, we are no longer required to kill them. Yet a punishment has been prescribed for idolatry and since that punishment is homosexuality then homosexuality should be allowed to occur.

Romans 13:1 NKJV

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.

Therefore if God is in charge of Governing Authorities, and God has prescribed homosexuality as a punishment to idolatry, and God also has the say on when the death penalty will take place. Then the Governments stand on homosexuality is correct, and reflects both God's opinion and mercy.

Yet the body of Christ can request to prohibit same sex marriage. For what wife cannot ask of her husband?

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shouldn't one be proposing to make it unlawful just to be gay or act upon homosexuality

There's an important difference between the two. From the Catechism:

2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered." They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

These statements are not inconsistent. Being homosexual is perfectly consistent with refraining to act on lustful homosexual urges. Likewise, being heterosexual is perfectly consistent with refraining to act on lustful heterosexual urges.

I say "lustful" homosexual urges because if homosexuality involves feelings of love for those of the same sex, feelings of love that have nothing to do with the pursuit of sex or sexual pleasure, then there is nothing wrong with those. For example, if being a male and homosexual makes a person more prone to risking his own life to save the life of another man, in a case where a heterosexual would have been tempted by the thought "I only rescue women and children", then this sort of "urge" can only be described as good.

With that point aside:

While "pick your battles" certainly is one explanation, I think it gives too much credit. I can't imagine the vast majority of the people you mention having a careful political strategy in mind when they endorse or are indifferent towards some forms of sin, but adamantly oppose others.

Many people, Catholics included, really are inconsistent in their beliefs. The Catholic Church has a very consistent and comprehensive account of sexual ethics, under which homosexuality and contraception are sinful for exactly the same reason. Yet some Catholics who are opposed to "gay marriage" (pardon the scare quotes) would willingly endorse contraception. If they truly understood why they were so adamantly opposed to "gay marriage", they would be very remorseful for having used contraception and for many other sexual sins.

So yes, we are inconsistent, we have no excuse, we are hypocrites, we are sinners yet we judge the sins of others, we rattle on in praise of our own humility without changing, we behave uncharitably towards those who most need compassion. My God, we are sorry.

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Please note that the following is an attempt to explain how some people believe that their opposition to same sex marriage is reasonable and not directed against the homosexual community. It is not an argument for or against same sex marriage, it is merely an exploration of an attitude.


In your question clarification you say:

"...

=> (1) such as the right to have homosexual relationships,

=> (2) public display of affection,

=> (3) the right to constitute a family, adopt, etc,

=> (4) and at the same time say their marriage should be banned because homosexuality is a sin/abomination. "

From an objective Catholic perspective, as mentioned in a previous answer, everyone is a sinner. Also, from a Catholic perspective, everyone is due respect as a child of God.

As a personal opinion then, I can see that (1) and (2) make sense: respect for the person can be defended and can be advocated in law.

However (3) and (4) are not clearly related to (1) and (2).

I believe point (4) points to an emotional reaction to the issue of gay marriage, and it does so from both sides of the debate. On the anti-gay marriage side this attitude certainly exists and, I beleive, is not particularly helpful in a democracy considering a change to laws. But, on the pro-gay side point (4) points to an equally emotional reaction in that it declares that this is the reason anti-gay marriage advocates oppose gay marriage. So let's be clear: I can agree that many people oppose gay marriage for this reason, but not all opponents oppose gay-marriage for this reason.

A serious, democratically valid, and rational (both independent of religious teaching and within the context of religious teaching) basis exists for many people to oppose gay marriage and it affects point (3) the right to constitute a family, adopt, ...

From a Catholic moral perspective it is legitimate to promote laws that are aimed at reducing discrimination against gays, because discrimination is a moral wrong.

However, these same people can resist gay marriage because the idea of "gay marriage" is incoherent.

To pick at only one thread in this complex, in the Catholic marriage ceremony the couple is required to answer Yes to this question (the wording varies somewhat, this is an approximate quote -- check the exact wording in your country):

"Will you accept children as a gift from God?".

This indicates the root of the more robust opposition to gay marriage.

Again from a Catholic perspective answering "Yes" to this question indicates the following (and this is a very abbriviated list!)

  • The couple is able, at least in principle, of having children.
    People get tied up on this one because the church will marry infertile couples -- but these marriages do not violate the male/female fecundity in principle. These marriages still conform to the principle of male/female/fecundity in their character. So, for many people marriage and natural procreation through normal and natural intercourse is a key element of what marriage is. Homesexual pairings cannot be a "marriage" because they miss this element.

  • Children are a gift. Any particular couple may or may not receive the gift, or may think they have received too many gifts, but the concept "gift" is an essential component of the concept "marriage". This particular concept is can be almost incomprehensible in societies like ours where the focus is on the idividual and individual happiness and above all on control of your life, thus the widespread use of contraceptives etc. In any case, children are to accepted and cherished and loved regardless of our own desires in these affairs. Again, children are essential to the Catholic concept of marriage.

  • An essential component of marriage is that is an acceptance of service to others, especially children. From a Catholic point of view people marry because each person in the couple wants to marry, but the commitment extends far beyond the desires of each person in the couple. Catholic sacramental marriage commits the person to love the other, for life, whether or not that love is reciprocated. It also commits the couple to love their children, whether they were "wanted" or not. The general point here is that a Catholic Sacramental marriage pretty much ignores the desires and emotional state of the each member of the couple in the years following the marriage, even into old age. So, wanting children is not a sufficient criteria for legitimizing marriage.

There are many other points that can be made along these lines. Most are profoundly at odds with the moderen concept of the person as an independent, self actualized being. Actually these concepts are not really "at odds"; the are radically opposed the many modern ideas of what a person is.

I have presented here a Catholic point of view on some Catholic ideas about marriage. However, similar arguments can be made starting from completely secular theses.

So, part of what worries many Catholics specifically and Christians generally in these debates is that the proposed laws allowing gay marriage actually exclude children as part of the new definition of marriage.

The reference case on same sex marriage in the Supreme Court of Canada is typical of high court decisons all over the world on this issue:

"The natural limits argument can succeed only if its proponents can identify an objective core of meaning which defines what is “natural” in relation to marriage. Absent this, the argument is merely tautological. The only objective core which the interveners before us agree is “natural” to marriage is that it is the voluntary union of two people to the exclusion of all others. Beyond this, views diverge. We are faced with competing opinions on what the natural limits of marriage may be." (from http://scc.lexum.org/decisia-scc-csc/scc-csc/scc-csc/en/item/2196/index.do).

Similar statements, some even more explicit in stating that children have no bearing on marriage, can be found in other decisions.

So, many Christians, non-Christians or even anti-Christians can oppose same sex marriage because they are proundly uncomfortable with the long term implications of a redefinition of marriage that ignores children, nature and the service marriage provides to society. For them the fact that decisions long ago make no mention of children is frivolous: who, before birth control, would have thought it was necessary to mention children? The link was so obvious as to not require any statement at all.

Overall, many worry that the redefinition will, in the long run, be bad for women, children, and for society as whole.

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In answering What is a Christian's justification for a legal prohibition of homosexual marriage?, I wrote:

This is an active endorsement of a sin, as opposed to mere toleration as would be the case with merely allowing activities that are otherwise sinful. Indeed, all of what is listed could be considered adiaphora - it is clearly not good stuff, and is actively discouraged amongst those who choose to follow "The Way," but there is no justification for legal compulsion to the contrary. In contrast, a government explicitly deriving its power from the consent of the governed is making a explicit endorsement of the normative nature of same-sex relationships in declaring marriage "equal" to heterosexual relationships.

Defining marriage is a positive action that implicitly must make a judgement call. It says "We actively endorse this behavior." Not outlawing homosexuality is more benign - it says, "This may be bad, but it does not rise to the level of must be prohibited."

That's the distinction

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How about the other encouraged rights granted to homosexuals such as the right to constitute a family, adopt children, among others? Are they examples of endorsing the unwanted behavior, just like in marriage? –  Gustavo Cavalcanti Aug 2 '12 at 19:52
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There is a very significant distinction between what is moral and what is legal. The Bible clearly states that there are many things that are immoral, such as lying, deceit, adultery, greed, envy, jealousy... and homosexuality. All of these things are legal (in the USA), unless you lie under oath. (However, politicians are generally expected to lie.)

The laws in the United States do not enforce all morality. They enforce only a small part of morality. You have the legal right to be a very immoral person without suffering any penalty for it from the government.

However, as Christians, we hope to influence the laws of the government to encourage righteousness as much as possible. The more unrighteousness there is, the more our society degrades. Indeed, if pornography, strip clubs, extremely violent movies and violent video games were all outlawed, most people would agree that society would be healthier. If less women went through the trauma and dangerous health effects of abortions, that would be better as well.

From a Christian perspective, God is the one who created marriage between a man and woman and even designed sexual intercourse to be between a man and a woman. So, Christians hope to maintain a definition of marriage in our society that corresponds to the definition of marriage that comes from God Himself.

There is really nothing to reconcile here. No matter what is deemed legal, that does not change what is moral.

I do expect that one day homosexual marriage will become the law of the land. That still will not change the morality of it.

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"If less women went through the trauma and dangerous health effects of abortions, that would be better as well." - do you know what works well for that? Good access to birth control via contraception... –  Marc Gravell Aug 2 '12 at 14:13
    
@MarcGravell That's pretty unrelated, but ok. The cost of birth control is extremely low. The purpose of insurance is to cover costs that someone cannot afford--not costs that you can afford. Your car insurance does not cover oil changes or wiper blades or gasoline. Can you imagine if car insurance was required to cover gasoline. Those that travel a lot would benefit at the expense of those that don't, and those that drive SUV's would benefit at the expense of those that drive Chevy Volt's. Covering all birth control when it's already very cheap is economically asbsurd. –  Narnian Aug 2 '12 at 14:21
    
I didn't even mention insurance. I meant also: the judgemental side of things. The regular pronouncements that responsible use of birth control == bad. –  Marc Gravell Aug 2 '12 at 22:03
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@MarcGravell Well, I don't know of anyone who wants to prevent access to contraceptives. Many of us don't want to pay for them for others, but that's all. –  Narnian Aug 2 '12 at 22:06
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It all comes down to: is your country run essentially as a theocracy, with law deriving directly from religion?

In many countries where this is the case, homosexuality is indeed illegal. Which is a deep shame.

I'm guessing you're asking more from a western perspective; here, the problem immediately becomes a conflict; national law is usually derived from rational analysis taking into account civil liberties, impact, benefit, practicality, etc. Homosexuality ultimately doesn't do harm (remember we're talking about this world, not the particular afterlife of any particular religion); however, making people suppress their sexuality and identity does do real demonstrable harm. For this and many other reasons, homosexuality is not illegal. However, the laws on marriage in many places prevent them from expressing this fully, and enjoying the full recognition of marriage. In the US in particular, this is visible especially in things like end-of-life, insurance, inheritance, etc - where there is a big difference, for no good reason. There is a common claim "give them civil-union instead", but different-but-same never is. If they are the same: call it the same.

When it comes to marriage, it is more the case of trying to catch up with the general population's acceptance of homosexuality; indeed, the main barrier here is the simply fact that there are a lot of lobbyists, predominantly religious, and predominantly Christian, who shout very loudly whenever anyone broaches the subject. Frankly, though, I think it is now a question of "if", but "when". I actually think Christianity would save itself a lot of self-harm by accepting this sooner, and handling the transition in a rational and grown up way; right now it is genuinely embarrassing itself and driving away a lot of congregation.

It should be noted that the people doing the lobbying generally do not represent any concensus position, but rather - their own position. So the "n million Christian's say..." is rather misleading. Indeed, plenty many Christians do not take a far-conservative approach on this, and are entirely satisfied with this in terms of the bible. To sanitise an existing parody on the subject:

enter image description here

Frankly, I just don't get it: nobody is asking the people doing the shouting to engage in a homosexual relationship. There are far more important issues in this world. It would please me greatly if we could spend that energy on more important topics.

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"national law is usually derived from rational analysis taking into account civil liberties, impact, benefit, practicality" Are you serious? –  Monika Michael Aug 2 '12 at 8:34
    
@MonikaMichael erm.... yes? How would you phrase lawmaking? –  Marc Gravell Aug 2 '12 at 8:34
    
Well I'm getting tired of playing the Nazi card. So I'll just let this one slip by. –  Monika Michael Aug 2 '12 at 8:38
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@MonikaMichael I am genuinely at a loss as to what you are objecting to / disagreeing with on that statement. –  Marc Gravell Aug 2 '12 at 11:19
    
Great picture! :) –  Gustavo Cavalcanti Aug 2 '12 at 12:00
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Good question. 

The question really asks to what degree should government impose the truth on the world. The Bible does condemn homosexuality but it does not in my view villianize the homosexual beyond the sins of any regular sinner, in which it accuses everyone.  I say this because I do not think it s Biblical for homosexuals to feel more sinful than thiefs, or adulterers, etc.

I myself have never been tempted to have homosexual thoughts, but if I had, and been a homosexual, I do not think this would have made me a worse sinner. I was a great sinner and still sin in many ways after finding Christ.

I have digressed but because in the confusion on a political topic, we must first state a Biblical position on homosexuality.  Now when it comes to marriage most western laws are probably defined from a Christian-Jewish background, so most people feel gay marriage is a further sacrilege against God's intended purpose of marriage.  It is a kind of blasphemy that's considered worse than homosexuality itself. However, this only explains the attitude not the answer. Should the government outlaw blasphemy? Most would say no.  Should the government outlaw adultery? That would be hard to pass through legislation wouldn't it? Should the government outlaw gay marriage? I think it is good enough to let the government decide.  The church does not need to spend its time trying to govern the world, but preach the gospel.  Let the world govern the world.

If I was asked to vote, I would vote against, but other than that I think the church need not worry so much about the many blasphemies of this world. Did the Apostles try to change the sodomy practiced by Greeks and Romans, yes, but not through lobbying the government. I think the main point is such a marriage is not honored by God, but if the state honors it, I guess that's of secondary concern. 

Conclusion: Should gay marriage be outlawed?, ask your government. Should one avoid homosexual activity? ask the Bible and it will say yes.

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"impose the truth" - whose truth should we use? –  Marc Gravell Aug 2 '12 at 8:00
    
@MarcGravell - As I prefer a democracy -‘the truth’ is that believed by the people. As a Christian with the right to vote, I will vote for whoever promotes more of ‘the truth’ Christians believe from the Bible. My post implies separation of church and state so multiple versions of the truth can co-exist so that the government can worry about governing people and the church can worry about saving souls through the gospel. –  Mike Aug 2 '12 at 9:47
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I guess I just disagree with the terminology "the truth" for something that is subjective, and which you suggest multiple versions can co-exist. That is not "truth"; that is opinion. If the opening line was "...should government impose my opinions on the world", I think it would be far more honest. –  Marc Gravell Aug 2 '12 at 11:16
    
@Marc So you believe morality to be subjective and relative. I believe morality to be objective and absolute. Why should your ideas about morality be imposed by law rather than mine? –  Jay Aug 3 '12 at 4:43
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@Jay I was responding to Mike, obviously, who had previously noted: "multiple versions of the truth can co-exist"; that is incompatible with your "objective and absolute". I didn't actually comment about morality at all. –  Marc Gravell Aug 3 '12 at 5:30
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