May 17, 2012
During a May 6 appearance on NBC’s
Meet the Press, Vice President Biden said, “I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women and heterosexual men and women marrying another are entitled to the same exact rights…” Three days later, in an ABC News’ interview, President Obama came out in favor of redefining marriage to include same-sex unions. The media was elated. But, no one was shocked by the news. After all, this present administration has publicly come out against the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.
Vice-President Biden’s remarks, whether planned or spontaneous, were consistent with the policies of the present administration. On June 29, 2009, the President hosted the first-ever White House LGBT Pride reception. The following October, he created a National Resource Center for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Elders. On January 1, 2010, he banned discrimination in federal workplaces based on gender identity. And, on July 19, 2011, he endorsed the legislative efforts to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.
Hardly a surprise, therefore, that the President has finally announced clearly and publicly his desire to recognize same-sex unions as equal to marriage. So now, for the first time in the nation’s history, a sitting president and vice-president have declared their “comfort” with redefining marriage. The effect of this is yet to be seen.
The President spoke of his own experience of knowing gay couples. He certainly is one with almost every American in this regard. For the average American, the question of same-sex marriage is no longer a theoretical question. Almost every family, sooner or later, must decide how to relate to either a family member or a friend with same-sex attraction. Fortunately, most people today are compassionate and understanding. They respect the individual, even when they do not accept the person’s choice of an alternate way of life.
Redefining marriage introduces a major shift in the very structure of society itself. Therefore, we should be very careful to understand the question of marriage and not confuse it with other important issues. Can consenting adults choose freely to engage in certain personal behavior without interference by the State? This is not the issue. Do those with same-sex attractions have the same inalienable rights given by God as heterosexuals? Most certainly! Do those with same-sex attractions deserve respect as persons? Of course, they do.
We are not even arguing whether or not homosexual activity is sinful. This certainly is worthy of discussion. But not here. To understand the question, we need to define it clearly. And, the question is none of the above issues. Rather, it is the very nature of marriage and its role in society.
Just a day before the President’s remarks, North Carolina became the thirty-first state to pass a constitutional amendment upholding marriage as a union between a man and a woman. This understanding of marriage cuts across national borders and transcends religious affiliations. Marriage as the union of a man and a woman in a permanent relation, committed and open to life, is a timeless truth recognized by every culture and common sense.
Long before any government came into being, there was marriage. There certainly have always been other types of relationships. But no age has tried to redefine marriage to accommodate these other love-relationships. Because marriage is essential to family, governments protect it and grant it the status that it rightly deserves. Marriage is a natural institution that supports and builds up a society. Marriage impacts children and children are the future of humanity.
Men and women are equal. Yes! But they are not the same. Each has irreplaceable gifts to complement one another. In raising a family, the complementary and cooperative roles of a mother and father in parenting provides the necessary and the best foundation for a child’s development. Study after study has shown that no other factor is more vital to the healthy development of children than having a mom and a dad.
The legal definition of marriage may be changed, as it has been in some places. But the reality of what marriage truly is remains the same. Other relationships may be called marriage, but that does not, thereby, make them a marriage nor does it empower them to accomplish the unique and irreplaceable role of husband and wife, a father and mother, loving each other and raising a family.
Can we really be comfortable as a nation with deliberately altering the circumstances that deprive a child of his or her right to a mother and a father? Can we be comfortable with the highest authorities in our country urging changes that would impoverish our future? At times, the truth makes us uncomfortable. But only the truth will set us free.
When it comes to marriage, comfort is not the issue!