LIBERAL CHRISTIAN VIEWS FAVORING SAME-SEX MARRIAGES
Topics covered in this essay about same-sex marriage (SSM):
||Background material from:
Background material from the Book of Genesis:
One liberal interpretation of the first two
chapters of Genesis is as follows:
||According to the "documentary
hypothesis," The first creation story in Genesis was
written by an anonymous author, often referred
to as "P." |
||"P" writes in Genesis 1:20 to 1:27 that during the fifth
and sixth day of creation, God formed the fish, birds, land animals,
and one (or perhaps more) man and woman. All of the species, including the
humans, were expected to be fruitful and multiply -- to reproduce and populate the
||The other creation story starts half-way through Genesis 2:4. Its unknown author
is generally referred to as "J." He
describes, in Genesis 2:7, how God made Adam out of mud.|
||Genesis 2:18 contains a sentence of great importance to the
understanding of human nature and the discussion of committed relationships and marriage: "And
the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I
will make him an help meet for him." (King James Version -
KJV) "Help meet"
also appears in the Jerusalem Bible. It is translated "helper" in other translations
(e.g. Amplified Bible, An American Translation, James Moffatt
Translation, New American Standard Bible, New Century Version, New
International Version, New World Translation, Revised Standard Bible,
Young's Literal Translation). The Living Bible, New Living
Translation, and Today's English Version use a phrase like "a
suitable companion to help him." Actually, the original Hebrew
word implies a partnership of two equals, rather than a relationship
between persons of unequal status. "Co-worker" or "partner" might be a better
translation. The Contemporary English Version, New American Bible,
and Revised English Bible use the term "partner"
indicating an equal status between Adam and Eve.|
||Many of earth's animal species are loners. Bacteria propagate
themselves, by division. Some female spiders eat their mates after
conception. Some wild cats live alone, joining
up with another of their species only to procreate. But humans are
apparently designed differently. Our basic makeup creates a need in most of us to be part of a couple
-- to form a committed
relationship with another person that we love, so that we will have to
face life alone. |
||For some reason that is difficult to comprehend, God paraded all of the land animals and
birds past Adam, trying to select a mate -- a partner -- for him. Adam was
interested in bestiality. He found none of them to be an acceptable
partner. So, as
described in Genesis 2:21, God
took one of Adam's ribs and made a woman for Adam to love and bond with. |
||God conceivably could have created the first humans with either a
heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual orientation -- i.e. with feelings
of attraction to members of the opposite gender, to the same gender, or
to both genders. God is recorded in Genesis as creating one male and
one female with a heterosexual orientation (Adam and Eve). By doing this, he
simultaneously satisfied two
||He made it possible for the first couple to be fruitful and
multiply. It is obvious, from verse Genesis 1:20 and onward,
that God intended humans, animals, fish and birds of all species to grow more numerous and fill the
earth. If God had created a gay couple, the development of the human race would have
ground to a halt, limited to only two individuals.
||He satisfied the needs of Adam and Eve for companionship and made
it possible for them to be involved in a
||One of many models of heterosexual marriage is described by "J" in
Genesis 2:24: "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his
mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh."
Conclusions about SSM from Genesis:
||According to Genesis 2:18, God said: "It is not good that the man
should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him." This applied
only to one man, Adam. However, we might infer that it is a general rule
that most men should not to go through life alone. By extension, we can
infer that the rule also holds for women. Since gays and lesbians seem to
have the same capacity and need to love, one could conclude from this
verse that homosexuals should also form loving couples.
||God had to create Adam and Eve as heterosexuals so that they could be
fruitful and multiply. If he had created Adam and Steve, the world would
not have become filled with humans. Nowdays, with our overpopulation
problem, gays and lesbians offer the advantage of having a low birth rate,
thus alleviating some of the population pressure.
||At least in the first part of Genesis, a couple is considered as two
||Genesis 2:24 describes one of the possible models for marriage. It is
the most common type today: one man and one woman.
Background material from the rest of the Bible:
It is important to realize that the Bible contains
descriptions of many types of marriages
and family structures. We have discovered eight. We may have missed some:
The standard nuclear family: Genesis 2:24 describes how a man
leaves his family of origin, and joins with a woman. They consummate the marriage,
and live as a couple.
Polygamous marriage of one man and more than one women. Solomon
had to 700 women.
Levirate Marriage: a woman would be forced to marry the brother
deceased husband. This is potentially a highly abusive
arrangement for the woman.
A man, woman and female slave: This is also potentially highly
A man, one or more wives, and concubines: Concubines were
typically slaves kept for sexual purposes. They had a very low status
compared to the wife/wives.
A soldier and female prisoner of war: Women taken in captivity
were often forced into concubinage. This would likely be an abusive
A male rapist and his victim: Women who had been raped would be
required to marry their rapist. This would almost certainly be an abusive
A female slave assigned to a male slave: Slave owners could
assign one of his female slaves to be wthe wife of one of his male slaves.
The opportunity for abuse would also be great.
More detail about marrage types in the Bible
There are two biblical passages which condemn men involved in polygynous marriages:
Solomon and Herod the Great. But the criticism did not relate to polygyny
it was over their choice of wives. Solomon chose many foreign women, who
worshiped other Gods and Goddess. Herod chose his brother's wife.
Otherwise, these various marriage types were not criticized in the Bible.
In fact, God showed his support for levirate marriage when he killed Onan
for trying to avoid procreation.
Conclusions about SSM from the rest of the Bible:
There are at least eight different types of marriages mentioned in the
Bible. Most have a strong potential for sexual abuse. Marriage between two persons of
the same gender is not one of the eight.
SSM bears little similarity to
the many potentially abusive forms of of marriage. It is closest to the
nuclear family described in Genesis 2:24: Two persons make a commitment to
each other, leave their parent's home, have sex, and form a new family unit.
One might infer that if the writers of the Bible had been familiar with the
the concept of diversity of sexual orientation, and knew of
loving, supportive, committed gay and lesbian couples, that they would have
written about SSM and
patterned it after the Genesis 2:24 model.
Background material from science:
Liberal Christians generally make use of the findings of medical,
physical and social sciences when developing a
position on moral and ethical issues. This supplements and sometimes
replaces information that they obtain from the Bible.
There is a near consensus among human
sexuality researchers and mental health therapists that:
||Persons with a homosexual orientation are, by definition,
sexually attracted only to persons of the same gender.
||Heterosexuals are sexually attracted only to members of the opposite
||Homosexuality is one of three normal, natural sexual orientations.
None are chosen; none appear to be changeable in adulthood.
||Gays and lesbians, being humans, need companionship,
love, sexual outlet, etc., as do heterosexuals.
||Committed homosexual relationships can be as close, supportive and
long-lasting as for heterosexuals.
||Researchers have tried to convert persons with a homosexual
orientation to heterosexual through electric shock treatments, aversion
therapy, castration, breast amputation, frontal lobotomies, and other
invasive methods. None have succeeded.
||Currently, reparative therapists and
transformation ministries attempt to change
people's sexual orientation. A peer-reviewed study is yet to be
published on the effectiveness of these approaches. However, from the
available data, it appears that very
few, if any, adults have successfully changed their orientation.
From studies of heterosexual couples, we find that:
||Longevity data consistently show that couples in committed
relationships tend to live longer than singles.
||Other studies show that individuals in committed relationships tend to
be far less promiscuous than singles. This
reduces the spread of STDs, and increases social stability.
It seems reasonable to expect that homosexuals in
committed relationships would have a greater life expectancy and a lower
level of promiscuity than single gays and lesbians.
Finally, in the area of political science, religious liberals have
traditionally been strong supporters of human rights. One of the most
fundamental and important civil right is the freedom for a couple to
declare their love and commitment before family, friends, and God, and to
marry each other. In the U.S., this automatically assigns over 1,000 rights,
privileges and obligations to the married couple. In the 19th century,
there were many groups who were not allowed to
marry in America. Until the end of the civil war, this included African-American slaves. Until 1967, inter-racial couples were
also prohibited from marrying. Currently, gay and lesbian couples are the
main remaining group that is prohibited from
marrying. Many religious liberals feel that the right to marry should only be
restricted on the basis of age or health considerations, not on the basis
of sexual orientation.
Conclusions about SSM from science:
A substantial percentage of adult gays and lesbians seek to form
loving, committed relationships with members of the same sex. Side benefits of SSM
would include longer life
span, lessening of promiscuity, increase in social stability. In a democracy, a group of citizens who are defined by
their sexual orientation should not be prevented from exercising a
primary human right: that of marrying the person that they love and to
whom they have
made a commitment.
Copyright © 2002 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally written: 2001-JUL-1
Latest update: 2002-MAY-4
Author: B.A. Robinson