IS SAME-SEX MARRIAGE (SSM) A BAD IDEA?
STILL MORE REASONS WHY THEY ARE UNDESIRABLE
15. Same-sex marriage (SSM) simply costs too much:
Assertion: When people marry, the state or province automatically grants them about 500
benefits; the federal government gives them about 1,000 more. This would be a
drain on the economy -- one that we cannot afford.
16: Same-sex marriage would irreparably harm marriage forever:
Assertion: Some religious conservatives talk in terms of protecting marriage. Others
talk in terms of the devastating effect that same-sex marriage would have on
||Mr. Justice Harry Laforme
of the Ontario Superior Court wrote: "I find that there is no
merit to the argument that the rights and interests of heterosexuals would
be affected by granting same-sex couples the freedom to marry. I cannot
conclude that freedom of religion would be threatened or jeopardized by
legally sanctioning same-sex marriage."
||In Ontario and British Columbia, where gays and lesbians are free to
marry, no opposite-sex couple has been denied permission to marry, except
for the usual requirements related to their age and genetic relationship.
No opposite-sex couple has been denied any of the benefits of marriage
which were due them. Some observers feel that the provinces have become
more supportive of the needs of loving couples and their children since
same-sex marriage was legalized.
||Bill Graham, the Canadian federal Foreign Affairs Minister, became the second
federal minister to lend support to same-sex marriage. He said on 2002-AUG-5: "I respect
those who believe in the integrity of [same-sex] marriage. That is a
very important institution for us as Canadians, and for society. I think
it is equally important that gay and lesbian people who are in an
affectionate relationship over time want to commit themselves to that
relationship." Commenting on the past granting of equality to gays and
lesbians, Graham said: "It started with changes to the Criminal Code
and hate crimes legislation, and then was followed by changes to the human
rights code and substantial changes to the Pension Act and other acts to
provide essentially the equivalent of common law marriage status to gay
and lesbian couples, equal to that of a heterosexual common-law union. It
[same sex marriage] is the final part of the picture." He noted that
some Canadians are concerned of social chaos if same-sex marriage is
approved. He noted that previous equity legislation also engendered
similar dire predictions, but caused barely a ripple after taking effect.
17: Almost all of the churches are opposed to SSM:
Assertion: Diane Knippers, of the conservative Christian Institute on Religion and
Democracy, wrote: "The message of the universal Christian
Church on marriage and human sexuality is crystal clear. It’s not simply the
teaching of the largest churches--Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Evangelical.
It’s also the other more liberal “mainline" Protestant churches..." Only
the Unitarian Universalist Association, which is only
partly Christian, the Metropolitan Community Church, the United Church of
Christ, the United Church of Canada, and Reform Judaism favor SSM. All, or almost all, of
the other 1,000 or so Judeo-Christian religious groups in North America
||This is true. Very few religious denominations support SSM. But this
is totally expected, because the fight for equal rights for gays,
lesbians, and bisexuals has barely begun. If you research every
significant social change in North America with a religious and/or moral
component, you will find that it is secularists and those faith groups who
place great emphasis on human rights and justice who first embrace change.
This happened with the Quakers, Mennonites, and Unitarians over the
abolition slavery; initially, all of the other Christian churches were in
favor of preserving slavery. But the abolition movement grew with the
eventual support from a broad range of denominations. A similar transition
has happened in the 20th century over women's suffrage, the availability
of birth control, abortion access, and now equal rights for homosexuals,
including the right of loving, committed gay and lesbian couples to marry.
What Ms. Knipper is saying is that we are early in the process, and that
-- to date -- only the most liberal denominations have supported SSM. The
rest will eventually follow. Consider how many denominations today oppose
interracial marriage. Yet it was illegal as recently as 1967 in some
18: Sex between a man and woman is the heart of marriage:
Assertion: Diane Knippers also mentioned: "Sexual intercourse is intended as the
expression of the very powerful physical force that bonds a man and a woman
into the most essential, basic, and universal unit of human society. It
ensures the propagation of the human race--and joins parents to the common
task of rearing children. Ultimately, it creates a mystical one-flesh union
between a man and a woman, a union in which two bodies, exquisitely designed
precisely for one another, are joined in self-giving love and generous
pleasure." 4 The implication is that sex does not have
these functions in a SSM.
||Sexual expression is precisely the same "very powerful physical
force" that usually bonds couples, whether opposite-gendered, gay or
||Along with the approximately 2.1 million infertile married couples of
childbearing age in the U.S., lesbian couples need assistance in the form
of artificial insemination or in-vitro fertilization to have children. But
many go this route.
||Sexual behavior certainly can create "....a mystical one-flesh
union between a man and a woman in which two bodies "are joined in
self-giving love and generous pleasure." But exactly the same
phenomenon occurs between two lesbian spouses or gay spouses. Just
befriend a same-sex couple and ask.
||Sex is an important part of marriage. But it is only one part. It is
the sharing, the commitment, the planning, the supporting, the
sacrificing, and other factors which form the main components of marriage.
These are present in all intimate and successful opposite-sex and same-sex
19: SSM will damage international relations:
Assertion: Mel Middleton, apparently of the Canada Family Action Coalition in
Alberta described the 2003-JUN decision of the Government of Canada to
legalize SSM as: "...a knife in the back to our democratic allies in the
third world." Speaking to pro-democracy individuals in East Africa he
found that most believe that the Canadian "government's decision
is going to make it extremely difficult for democrats in oppressive third
world countries such as Sudan to counter the charges that their oppressors
are certain to make -- that 'western democracy' leads to decadence, moral
depravity and societal decay." 6
20: SSM legislation will permit incestuous marriages:
Assertion: Jean-Claude Cardinal Turcotte,
Roman Catholic Archbishop of Montreal, talked to the press about SSM at a
news conference arranged by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.
He is quoted as saying: "When you change the definition of the
institution, you open the door to things you can't foresee. If marriage is a
union between two persons who love each other - that's the new definition,
without the allusion to sex - where does the notion stop? Will you recognize
the marriage between a father and his daughter? Between a brother and his
sister? Or two brothers or two sisters?...It's very dangerous because we
don't know the consequences." 7
||Canadian Justice Minister
Martin Cauchon responded to the Archbishop's concerns. He told reporters
in Calgary AB that both marriage and sex between a parent and child or two
siblings is illegal. "The question that they raise is an offence based
under the Criminal Code....I see no connection to what we are doing."
||The Archbishop's comments
moved Shelley Sullivan of Oakville ON to write a letter to the editor of
the Toronto Star which said: "If the marriage of two persons could lead
to incest through the marriage of brother and sister, or father and
daughter, how is it that the current definition of marriage, a man and a
woman, does not exclude the possibility?...The answer is quite simple: The
law excludes it and that would not change." 8
||Kathleen Lahey, a law
professor at Queen's University at Kingston, who was involved in the
British Columbia SSM case said that the Archbishop is trying to reduce the
concept to "its most absurd extreme...It is not a credible argument...I
know of no example anywhere in the world in which opening marriage to
same-sex couples has led to opening marriage to incestuous relationships,
or the other argument that is often made, polygamous relationships."
21: Most people are opposed to SSM.
Assertion: In a democracy, the majority rules. Since most people
oppose allowing same-sex couples to marry, the will of the majority should
prevail. SSM should remain forbidden.
||The majority does not necessarily rule in democracies. That is why
every state/province and federal government has a constitution. One
function of governmental constitutions is to guarantee basic human
rights even though the majority would deprive minorities of those
rights. If we allowed the "tyranny of the majority" then governments
would strip away basic human rights from unpopular groups, such as
Agnostics, Atheists, Pagans, gays, lesbians, etc.
||In some states of the U.S. and in Canada, the majority of adults
favor extending the right to marry to same-sex couples.
||In most or all states in the U.S., the majority of youth and young
adults favor allowing same-sex marriage.
We hope to add additional points
in the future. If you have any to suggest, please
Email them to us.
Additional arguments why same-sex marriage (SSM) is undesirable are
located in a separate essay.
- The judgment of the court, dated 2002-JUL 12, is reported at 60 O.R. (3d)
Nicholaas van Rijn, "Graham backs gay marriage: Foreign affairs
minister second to voice support," The Toronto Star, 2002-AUG-6, Page A8.
The Institute on Religion and Democracy has a web site at:
Diane Knippers, "Sex and the Episcopalians. Is it really too much to
ask for the Church to uphold and defend traditional marriage?," Beliefnet,
Roxanne Nelson, "Financing infertility," 1999-MAY-19, CNN.com, at:
Mel Middleton, "Some extremely pertinent questions (unanswered by
government) raised about 'homosexual marriage'," Canada Family Action
Coalition, undated, at:
Michelle MacAfee, "Catholic bishops say same-sex marriage could open
door to incest," 2003-SEP-10, at:
Shelley Sullivan, "Catholic's logic badly confused," The Toronto
Star, 2003-SEP-12, Page A27.
Copyright © 2003 & 2004 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally written: 2003-JUL-12
Latest update: 2004-MAR-3
Author: B.A. Robinson