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Some Facts about Marriage

Marriage is not by definition restricted to opposite-sex couples
Same-sex marriage ceremonies have been known throughout history and throughout the world. Since definitions of words are meant to be descriptions of actual usage, the claim that by definition marriage is a relationship between opposite sex couples is refuted by history. Not long ago the same people now opposing same-sex marriages were arguing that by definition marriage was a relationship between persons of the same skin color.

Marriage is not a state endorsement or approval
A civil marriage license is not a sign that the state endorses or in any way approves of the couple granted the license. Incarcerated, convicted murderers, rapists and child molesters are allowed to marry. A marriage license means nothing more than that the couple meets the minimal requirements to be married and can properly fill out the application form.

Marriage is not tied to procreation
The ability to procreate is not a requirement for marriage. The purpose of marriage in modern times is first and foremost for companionship and personal and financial support, and this fact is recognized by laws allowing marriage of infertile couples, very elderly couples, and couples who use birth control methods to prevent conception. In a world already overpopulated and unable to adequately feed everyone, it is irrational for the state to encourage procreation.

Civil (legal) marriage is not the same as religious marriage (holy matrimony)
Much of the criticism of the idea of same-sex marriage only seems persuasive because of the tendency many people have to confuse legal marriage with holy matrimony. The fact that these are two separate ideas is clear when one realizes that not all marriages are performed in a church, nor by a religious authority. A justice of the peace can perform a legal marriage with no accompanying ceremony of holy matrimony. It happens all the time. Same-sex marriage is about civil (legal) marriage only!

Legal same-sex marriage would not burden religion
Legal recognition of same-sex marriages would not impose any burden on religion. Ministers, priests, rabbis and other religious leaders who are permitted to perform legal marriages in conjunction with ceremonies of holy matrimony are not required to perform marriage ceremonies that conflict with their religious beliefs or conscience. Legal recognition of same-sex marriage would not change this.

Legal same-sex marriage would not demean holy matrimony
The argument that letting same-sex couples marry would demean religious marriage plays on the confusion between legal marriage and holy matrimony. Same-sex marriage is about legal marriage and has no implications for religious marriage. Atheists and other non-Christians are allowed to marry (in the legal sense) and people don't worry that religious marriage is thereby being demeaned. Religious motivations per se are never valid reasons for civil laws in the U. S., because our constitution guarantees separation of church and state in order to protect minority religious views.

Same-sex marriage is not gay marriage
When opposite-sex couples go to get married, no one asks them if they are straight. Marriage is not about being straight or gay. Marriage is about joining one's life with another person for mutual benefits of many sorts, chief among them being companionship, and personal and financial support. It's not about sexual orientation and it's not necessarily about sex at all.
Opposite-sex couples with no sexual interest in one another can be legally married and I know happily married couples who married with no intention of ever having sex. If opposite-sex marriage is not heterosexual marriage, by virtual of not necessarily being sexual at all, then same-sex marriage is not gay marriage.


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Copyright ©2009 by Duane T. Williams. All rights reserved.
Last edited 21 December 2009.