Is Marriage Hetero?

(I am changing some of my “Pages” to “Posts,” so some of this info is older to my site)

This post deals with two questions at separate times asked of me explaining why marriage should be considered in it’s ideal form ~ heterosexual. This post deals only with laws of biology and natural law. It does not deal with states Constitutional opportunity to define marriage, or issues peripheral to what is my response to two honest questions proffered to me.

John, you asked a very constructive question in regards to marriage and sexuality, let me repeat your question here:

  • “If it doesn’t have to do with being turned on, mentally and physically, and acting upon one’s desires, then what does define our sexuality? What defines us being heterosexual?”

Keep in mind that you have caused me to search out better definitions and understandings with respect to our current conversation, so I am starting to build on past knowledge, and may only be able to answer you thoroughly in the future and not at this immediate time.

However, I believe I have come to terms with what it is that we are discussing, and I believe I can define “sexuality” in a way that you can take away from this conversation and say, “So this is where the crux of the debate lay on their side.”

Okay, let me start this long – arduous – definition of heterosexuality. First of all, the claim that the law ought to be morally neutral about marriage or anything else is itself a moral claim. As such, it is not morally neutral, nor can it rest on an appeal to moral neutrality. We are both debating a subject, and as such, both are using reference points, subject/object distinctions, and the like. We are far from being neutral and must admit we are trying to propose one mortal system over another. I am sure we are both agreed on this.

The CORE of the traditional view and understanding of marriage (remember that homosexuality has long been condemned as immoral by the natural law tradition of moral philosophy, as well as by Jewish and Christian teaching, not only that, it may have been recognized by past cultures, but never authorized… as the gay rights movement is asking for today):

Marriage is a two-in-one-flesh communion of persons that is consummated and actualized by acts that are reproductive in type, whether or not they are reproductive in effect (or motivated, even in part, by a desire to reproduce). The bodily union of spouses in marital acts is the biological matrix of their marriage as a multi-level relationship: that is, a relationship that unites persons at the bodily, emotional, dispositional, and spiritual levels of the being.

Marriage, precisely as such a relationship, is naturally ordered to the good of procreation and to the nurturing and education of children) as well as to the good of spousal unity, and these goods are tightly bound together with a healthy society.

The distinctive unity of spouses is possible because human (like other mammalian) males and females, by mating, unite organically – in other words, they become a single reproductive principle. Although reproduction is a single act, in humans (and other mammals) the reproductive act is performed not by individual members of the species, but by a mated pair as an organic unit. Germaine Grisez has made this point:

“Though a male and a female are complete individuals with respect to other functions – for example, nutrition, sensation, and locomotion – with respect to reproduction they are only potential parts of a mated pair, which is the complete organism capable or reproducing sexually. Even if the mated pair is sterile, intercourse, provided it is the reproductive behavior characteristic of the species, makes the copulating male and female one organism. Masturbatory, sodomitical, or other sexual acts that are not reproductive in type cannot unite persons organically: that is, as a single reproductive principle. Therefore, such acts cannot be intelligibly engaged in for the sake of marital (i.e., one-flesh, bodily) unity as such. They cannot be marital acts!”

Rather, persons who perform such acts must be doing so for the sake of ends or goals that are extrinsic (definitions at the end) to themselves as bodily persons: Sexual satisfaction, or (perhaps) mutual sexual satisfaction, is sought as a means of releasing tension, or obtaining (and, sometimes, sharing) pleasure, either as an end in itself, or as a means to some other end, such as expressing affection, esteem, friendliness, etc. In any case, where one-flesh union cannot (or cannot rightly) be sought as an end-in-itself, sexual activity necessarily involves the instrumentalization of the bodies of those participating in such activity to extrinsic ends.

In marital acts, by contrast, the bodies of persons who unite biologically are not reduced to the status of mere instruments. Rather, the end, goal, and intelligible point of sexual union is the good of marriage itself. On this understanding, such union is not a merely instrumental good, i.e., a reason for action whose intelligibility as a reason depends on the other end. The central and justifying point of sex is not pleasure (or even the sharing of pleasure) per se, however much sexual pleasure is sought – rightly sought – as an aspect of the perfection of marital union; the point of sex, rather, is marriage itself. Considered as a bodily (“one-flesh”) union of persons consummated and actualized by acts that are reproductive in type.

Because in marital acts sex is not instrumentalized, such acts are free of the self-alienating and dis-integrating qualities of masturbatory and sodomitical sex.

Unlike these and other nonmarital sex acts, marital acts effect no practical dualism which volitionally and, thus, existentially separates the body from conscious and desiring aspect of the self which inhabits and uses the body as its instrument. (On person-body dualism, its implications for ethics, and its philosophical untenability, see: John Finnis, Joseph M. Boyle, and Germaine Grisez, Nuclear Deterrence, Morality and Realism [Oxford University Press; 1987], pp. 304-309.)

As John Finnis has observed, marital acts are truly unitive, and in no way self-alienating, because the bodily or biological aspect of human beings is “part of, and not merely an instrument of, their personal reality.”

But, one might ask, what about procreation? On the traditional view, isn’t sexual union of spouses instrumentalized to the goal of having children? It is true that Augustine was an influential proponent of something like this view, and there has always been a certain following for it among Christians. The strict Augustinian position was rejected, however, by the mainstream of philosophical and theological reflection from the late Middle Ages forward, and the understanding of sex and marriage that came to be embodied in the civil law of matrimony does not treat marriage as a merely instrumental good. Matrimonial law has traditionally understood marriage as consummated by, and only by, the reproductive-type acts of spouses; by contrast, the sterility of spouses – so long as they are capable of consummating their marriage by a reproductive-type act (and, thus, of achieving bodily – organic unity! This is why court annul a marriage that hasn’t reached this unity) – has never been treated as an impediment to marriage, even where sterility is certain and even certain to be permanent (as in the case of the marriage of a woman who has been through menopause or has undergone a hysterectomy).

According to the traditional understanding of marriage, then, it is the nature of marital acts as reproductive in type that makes it possible for such acts to be unitive in the distinctively marital way (“one-flesh”). And this type of unity is intrinsic, and not merely instrumental, value.

Thus, the unitive good of marriage provides a noninstrumental (and thus sufficient) reason for spouses to perform sexual acts of a type that consummates and actualizes their marriage. In performing marital acts, the spouses do not reduce themselves as bodily persons (or their marriage) to the status of means or instruments.

At the same time, where marriage is understood as a one-flesh union of persons, children who may be conceived in marital acts are understood not as an ends which are extrinsic to marriage (either in the strict Augustinian sense, or the modern liberal one), but, rather, as gifts which supervene on acts whose central justifying point is precisely the marital unity of the spouses. Such acts have unique meaning, value, and significance, as I have already suggested in this post, because they belong to the class of acts by which children come into being – what I have called “reproductive-type acts.” More precisely, these acts have their unique meaning, value, and significance because they belong to the only class of acts by which children can come into being, not as “products” which their parents choose to “make,” but, rather, as perfective participants in the organic community (i.e., the family) that is established by their parents’ marriage. It is thus that children are properly understood and treated – even in their conception – not as objects of the desire or will of their parents, but as subjects of justice (and inviolable human rights); not as property, but as persons.

Excerpts from Robert P. George, The Clash of Orthodoxies: Law, Religion, and Morality in Crisis.



Glossary

Extrinsic (Random House Webster CD-Rom) – all are relevant.

1. Not essential or inherent; not a basic part or quality; extraneous: facts that are extrinsic to the matter under discussion.

2. Being outside a thing; outward or external; operating or coming from without: extrinsic influences.

3. Anatomy. (of certain muscles, nerves, etc.) originating outside the anatomical limits of a part.

Intrinsic (Random House Webster CD-Rom) – all are relevant.

1. Belonging to a thing by its very nature: the intrinsic value of a gold ring.

2. Anatomy. (of certain muscles, nerves, etc.) Belonging to or lying within a given part.


A question posed to me years ago by one of my son’s friends:


Question 3) What is your views on gays? Are they bad? Are they going to hell? Are you born this way?

The homosexual man or woman is just as much a sinner as you or me. We all need Christ. To touch on the hell issue first, I believe hell is a testament to free-will, and dignity as well. C.S. Lewis mentioned that hell is locked from the inside. The only thing separating mankind from God is a belief in the finished work on the Cross. By choice people reject their Creator, they choose their path, God never imposes it. Many who are saved are not immediately pure in action, nor will they ever be. Sometimes people take decades to work through their faults (counseling, prayer, reading God’s Word, etc), so just like the person who may cheat on his wife regularly, when he comes to a saving knowledge of God, he will be challenged to change his ways and seek counseling and prayer and reference from God’s Word. The same with a gay man or woman. If they truly have a saving knowledge of God, they will be challenged by the Holy Spirit to seek biblical guidance in their life, and like many others, they will turn away from their homosexual lifestyles.

However, there is a “created order,” or, even a natural order (if you do not believe in God). My argument for heterosexual (between a man and a woman) unions is usable both by the atheist (non believer in God) and the theist (a believer in God – in the Judeo-Christian sense). Here is the crux of the matter in regards to “nature’s order:”

“…take gold as an example, it has inherent in its nature intrinsic qualities that make it expensive: good conductor of electricity, rare, never tarnishes, and the like. The male and female have the potential to become a single biological organism, or single organic unit, or principle. Two essentially becoming one. The male and female, then, have inherent to their nature intrinsic qualities that two mated males or two mated females never actualize in their courtship… nor can they ever. The potential stays just that, potential, never being realized…..

“….Think of a being that reproduces, not by mating, but by some act performed by individuals. Imagine that for these same beings, movement and digestion is performed not by individuals, but only by the complementary pairs that unite for this purpose. Would anyone acquainted with such beings have difficulty understanding that in respect to movement and digestion, the organism is a united pair, or an organic unity?”

So you see, the two heterosexual organisms that join in a sexual union cease being two separate organisms for a short time and become one organism capable of reproduction. This is what the state and the church are sealing in a marriage, this intrinsic union. The homosexual couple can never achieve this union, so “natures order” has endowed the heterosexual union with an intrinsic quality that other relationships do not have or could never attain. Both the atheist and theist can argue from this point, because either we were created this way or we evolved this way. Either way, nature has imposed on the sexual union being discussed.

Also, I do not think it is wholly genetic. I believe choice is involved as well as violence. For instance, take this thought from a pro-choice, lesbian woman, Tammy Bruce:

“ . . . . and now all manner of sexual perversion enjoys the protection and support of once what was a legitimate civil-rights effort for decent people. The real slippery slope has been the one leading into the Left’s moral vacuum. It is a singular attitude that prohibits any judgment about obvious moral decay because of the paranoid belief that judgment of any sort would destroy the gay lifestyle, whatever that is…. I believe this grab for children by the sexually confused adults of the Gay Elite represents the most serious problem facing our culture today…. Here come the elephant again: Almost without exception, the gay men I know (and that’s too many to count) have a story of some kind of sexual trauma or abuse in their childhoodmolestation by a parent or an authority figure, or seduction as an adolescent at the hands of an adult. The gay community must face the truth and see sexual molestation of an adolescent for the abuse it is,* instead of the ‘coming-of-age’ experience many [gays] regard it as being. Until then, the Gay Elite will continue to promote a culture of alcohol and drug abuse, sexual promiscuity, and suicide by AIDS.”

* By the age of 18 or 19 years, three quarters of American youth, regardless of their sexual orientation, have had sexual relations with another person. Gay males are more likely than heterosexual males to become sexually active at a younger age (12.7 vs. 15.7 years) and to have had multiple sexual partners. The ages at the time of the first sexual experience with another person are closer for lesbians and heterosexual females (15.4 vs. 16.2 years).

(New England Journal of Medicine)

What she is basically saying is that there are emotional reasons, usually trauma, or circumstances that push these young boys into the choices they make in regards to their sexuality. For instance, one of my co-workers is a homosexual man. He is a wonderful guy; I would invite him to my wedding if I could go back in time. He is very open about his past, he was “initiated” into the homosexual lifestyle by a grown black man when he was 14. In other words, he was raped. Whether he feels now that he consented, or the person was a family friend or complete stranger. This act of sex with a minor by a grown man is rape. And this rape, at an age where boys are having surges of hormones and confused about a lot of things is what Tammy Bruce was speaking to. It is a psychological trauma that if not dealt with has traumatic results in one’s life. This sometimes works its way into sexual matters. There are many homosexual people, Al Rantel (790am 6pm to 9pm), to name a more popular one, that believe marriage should be kept between a man and a woman. Tammy Bruce wants it, but she, like most Republicans, want the states to decide, and not the Supreme Court.

Also, in 1993, the biggest march by the “gay” community (Elite gay community) on Washington was held, and they had this as part of their platform:

  • The implications of homosexual, bisexual, and transgendered curriculum at all levels of education.
  • The lowering of the age [12 years old to be exact] of consent for homosexual and heterosexual sex.
  • The legalization of homosexual marriages.
  • Custody, adoption, and foster-care rights for homosexuals, lesbians, and transgendered people.
  • the redefinition of the family to include the full diversity of all family structures.
  • The access to all programs of the Boy Scouts of America.
  • Affirmative action for homosexuals.
  • The inclusion of sex-change operations under a universal health-care plan.

Obviously the Elite gay community Tammy Bruce spoke of [made up of Leftist Progressives] knows which age is best for “recruiting,” e.g., traumatizing.More can be said on all the above issues, but my book is not yet written. I will post three quotes from Tammy Bruce (a pro-choice lesbian):

Even if one does not necessarily accept the institutional structure of “organized religion,” the “Judeo-Christian ethic and the personal standards it encourages do not impinge on the quality of life, but enhance it. They also give one a basic moral template that is not relative,” which is why the legal positivists of the Left are so threatened by the Natural Law aspect of the Judeo-Christian ethic. (Tammy Bruce, The Death of Right and Wrong: Exposing the Left’s Assault on Our Culture and Values [Roseville: Prima, 2003], 35.)

…these problems don’t remain personal and private. The drive, especially since this issue is associated with the word “gay rights,” is to make sure your worldview reflects theirs. To counter this effort, we must demand that the medical and psychiatric community take off their PC blinders and treat these people responsibly. If we don’t, the next thing you know, your child will be taking a “tolerance” class explaining how “transexuality” is just another “lifestyle choice”…. After all, it is the only way malignant narcissists will ever feel normal, healthy, and acceptable: by remaking society – children – in their image (Ibid., 92, 206)

The below are two non-Biblical arguments presented in video form.

In the above video just past the 2:38 mark, the below point is made, the strongest point of the video:

Culture has a right to redefine marriage.

Spousal rights and marital traditions have changed. However, marriage has always been between males and females because of the unique function they perform in society.

Marriage can’t be a social construction because cultures emerge when humans reproduce.

This means that cultures cannot be the constructors of the marriages that make culture possible in the first place. Bricks make the building, not the building the bricks. Culture does not construct marriage. Marriage and family construct culture.

The above is a favored video of mine. The point about police work and other jobs in society and later how the government doesn’t discriminate against other professions when it promotes police work. Great, useable point.

And, if this were to be characterized as “Biblical,” so what? This thinking fails to distinguish the reasons for a law from the content of the law:

…Such “exclude religion” arguments are wrong because marriage is not a religion! When voters define marriage, they are not establishing a religion. In the First Amendment, “Con­gress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” the word “religion” refers to the church that people attend and support. “Religion” means being a Baptist or Catholic or Presbyterian or Jew. It does not mean being married. These arguments try to make the word “religion” in the Constitution mean something different from what it has always meant.

These arguments also make the logical mistake of failing to distinguish the reasons for a law from the content of the law. There were religious reasons behind many of our laws, but these laws do not “establish” a religion. All major religions have teachings against stealing, but laws against stealing do not “establish a religion.” All religions have laws against murder, but laws against murder do not “establish a religion.” The cam­paign to abolish slavery in the United States and England was led by many Christians, based on their religious convictions, but laws abolishing slavery do not “establish a reli­gion.” The campaign to end racial discrimination and segregation was led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a Baptist pastor, who preached against racial injustice from the Bible. But laws against discrimination and segregation do not “establish a religion.”

If these “exclude religion” arguments succeed in court, they could soon be applied against evangelicals and Catholics who make “religious” arguments against abortion. Majority votes to protect unborn children could then be invalidated by saying these vot­ers are “establishing a religion.” And, by such reasoning, all the votes of religious citizens for almost any issue could be found invalid by court decree! This would be the direct opposite of the kind of country the Founding Fathers established, and the direct opposite of what they meant by “free exercise” of religion in the First Amendment.

Wayne Grudem, Politics According to the Bible [Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010], 31.

As well as what legal changes have been wrought by the Judeo-Christian worldview that has been positive for societies all over this world:

Historian Alvin Schmidt points out how the spread of Christianity and Christian influence on government was primarily responsible for outlawing infanticide, child abandonment, and abortion in the Roman Empire (in AD 374); outlawing the brutal battles-to-the-death in which thousands of gladiators had died (in 404); outlawing the cruel punishment of branding the faces of criminals (in 315); instituting prison reforms such as the segregating of male and female prisoners (by 361); stopping the practice of human sacrifice among the Irish, the Prussians, and the Lithuanians as well as among other nations; outlawing pedophilia; granting of property rights and other protections to women; banning polygamy (which is still practiced in some Muslim nations today); prohibiting the burning alive of widows in India (in 1829); outlawing the painful and crippling practice of binding young women’s feet in China (in 1912); persuading government officials to begin a system of public schools in Germany (in the sixteenth century); and advancing the idea of compulsory education of all children in a number of European countries.

During the history of the church, Christians have had a decisive influence in opposing and often abolishing slavery in the Roman Empire, in Ireland, and in most of Europe (though Schmidt frankly notes that a minority of “erring” Christian teachers have supported slavery in various centuries). In England, William Wilberforce, a devout Christian, led the successful effort to abolish the slave trade and then slavery itself throughout the British Empire by 1840.

In the United States, though there were vocal defenders of slavery among Christians in the South, they were vastly outnumbered by the many Christians who were ardent abolitionists, speaking, writing, and agitating constantly for the abolition of slavery in the United States. Schmidt notes that two-thirds of the American abolitionists in the mid-1830s were Christian clergymen, and he gives numerous examples of the strong Christian commitment of several of the most influential of the antislavery crusaders, including Elijah Lovejoy (the first abolitionist martyr), Lyman Beecher, Edward Beecher, Harriet Beecher Stowe (author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin), Charles Finney, Charles T. Torrey, Theodore Weld, William Lloyd Garrison, “and others too numerous to mention.” The American civil rights movement that resulted in the outlawing of racial segregation and discrimination was led by Martin Luther King Jr., a Christian pastor, and supported by many Christian churches and groups.

There was also strong influence from Christian ideas and influential Christians in the formulation of the Magna Carta in England (1215) and of the Declaration of Independence (1776) and the Constitution (1787) in the United States. These are three of the most significant documents in the history of governments on the earth, and all three show the marks of significant Christian influence in the foundational ideas of how governments should function.

Wayne Grudem, Politics According to the Bible [Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010], 49-50.

Why We’re Losing Liberty ~ Robert George (PragerU)

Was the Constitution written in a way that was designed to protect freedom and limit the government’s size? Has it been effective in doing that? And what’s the Supreme Court’s record when it comes to protecting our rights? Robert George, Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University, answers these questions and more.

Marriage, is it Hetero? (Q&A Included) ~ Two Imports from my Old Blog

AnimalsAristotle

John, you asked a very constructive question in regards to marriage and sexuality, let me repeat your question here:

  • “If it doesn’t have to do with being turned on, mentally and physically, and acting upon one’s desires, then what does define our sexuality? What defines us being heterosexual?”

Keep in mind that you have caused me to search out better definitions and understandings with respect to our current conversation, so I am starting to build on past knowledge, and may only be able to answer you thoroughly in the future and not at this immediate time.

However, I believe I have come to terms with what it is that we are discussing, and I believe I can define “sexuality” in a way that you can take away from this conversation and say, “So this is where the crux of the debate lay on their side.”

Okay, let me start this long – arduous – definition of heterosexuality. First of all, the claim that the law ought to be morally neutral about marriage or anything else is itself a moral claim. As such, it is not morally neutral, nor can it rest on an appeal to moral neutrality. We are both debating a subject, and as such, both are using reference points, subject/object distinctions, and the like. We are far from being neutral and must admit we are trying to propose one mortal system over another. I am sure we are both agreed on this.

The CORE of the traditional view and understanding of marriage (remember that homosexuality has long been condemned as immoral by the natural law tradition of moral philosophy, as well as by Jewish and Christian teaching, not only that, it may have been recognized by past cultures, but never authorized… as the gay rights movement is asking for today):

Marriage is a two-in-one-flesh communion of persons that is consummated and actualized by acts that are reproductive in type, whether or not they are reproductive in effect (or motivated, even in part, by a desire to reproduce). The bodily union of spouses in marital acts is the biological matrix of their marriage as a multi-level relationship: that is, a relationship that unites persons at the bodily, emotional, dispositional, and spiritual levels of the being.

Marriage, precisely as such a relationship, is naturally ordered to the good of procreation and to the nurturing and education of children) as well as to the good of spousal unity, and these goods are tightly bound together with a healthy society.

The distinctive unity of spouses is possible because human (like other mammalian) males and females, by mating, unite organically – in other words, they become a single reproductive principle. Although reproduction is a single act, in humans (and other mammals) the reproductive act is performed not by individual members of the species, but by a mated pair as an organic unit. Germaine Grisez has made this point:

“Though a male and a female are complete individuals with respect to other functions – for example, nutrition, sensation, and locomotion – with respect to reproduction they are only potential parts of a mated pair, which is the complete organism capable or reproducing sexually. Even if the mated pair is sterile, intercourse, provided it is the reproductive behavior characteristic of the species, makes the copulating male and female one organism. Masturbatory, sodomitical, or other sexual acts that are not reproductive in type cannot unite persons organically: that is, as a single reproductive principle. Therefore, such acts cannot be intelligibly engaged in for the sake of marital (i.e., one-flesh, bodily) unity as such. They cannot be marital acts!”

Rather, persons who perform such acts must be doing so for the sake of ends or goals that are extrinsic (definitions at the end) to themselves as bodily persons: Sexual satisfaction, or (perhaps) mutual sexual satisfaction, is sought as a means of releasing tension, or obtaining (and, sometimes, sharing) pleasure, either as an end in itself, or as a means to some other end, such as expressing affection, esteem, friendliness, etc. In any case, where one-flesh union cannot (or cannot rightly) be sought as an end-in-itself, sexual activity necessarily involves the instrumentalization of the bodies of those participating in such activity to extrinsic ends.

In marital acts, by contrast, the bodies of persons who unite biologically are not reduced to the status of mere instruments. Rather, the end, goal, and intelligible point of sexual union is the good of marriage itself. On this understanding, such union is not a merely instrumental good, i.e., a reason for action whose intelligibility as a reason depends on the other end. The central and justifying point of sex is not pleasure (or even the sharing of pleasure) per se, however much sexual pleasure is sought – rightly sought – as an aspect of the perfection of marital union; the point of sex, rather, is marriage itself. Considered as a bodily (“one-flesh”) union of persons consummated and actualized by acts that are reproductive in type.

Because in marital acts sex is not instrumentalized, such acts are free of the self-alienating and dis-integrating qualities of masturbatory and sodomitical sex.

Unlike these and other nonmarital sex acts, marital acts effect no practical dualism which volitionally and, thus, existentially separates the body from conscious and desiring aspect of the self which inhabits and uses the body as its instrument. (On person-body dualism, its implications for ethics, and its philosophical untenability, see: John Finnis, Joseph M. Boyle, and Germaine Grisez, Nuclear Deterrence, Morality and Realism [Oxford University Press; 1987], pp. 304-309.)

As John Finnis has observed, marital acts are truly unitive, and in no way self-alienating, because the bodily or biological aspect of human beings is “part of, and not merely an instrument of, their personal reality.”

But, one might ask, what about procreation? On the traditional view, isn’t sexual union of spouses instrumentalized to the goal of having children? It is true that Augustine was an influential proponent of something like this view, and there has always been a certain following for it among Christians. The strict Augustinian position was rejected, however, by the mainstream of philosophical and theological reflection from the late Middle Ages forward, and the understanding of sex and marriage that came to be embodied in the civil law of matrimony does not treat marriage as a merely instrumental good. Matrimonial law has traditionally understood marriage as consummated by, and only by, the reproductive-type acts of spouses; by contrast, the sterility of spouses – so long as they are capable of consummating their marriage by a reproductive-type act (and, thus, of achieving bodily – organic unity! This is why court annul a marriage that hasn’t reached this unity) – has never been treated as an impediment to marriage, even where sterility is certain and even certain to be permanent (as in the case of the marriage of a woman who has been through menopause or has undergone a hysterectomy).

According to the traditional understanding of marriage, then, it is the nature of marital acts as reproductive in type that makes it possible for such acts to be unitive in the distinctively marital way (“one-flesh”). And this type of unity is intrinsic, and not merely instrumental, value.

Thus, the unitive good of marriage provides a noninstrumental (and thus sufficient) reason for spouses to perform sexual acts of a type that consummates and actualizes their marriage. In performing marital acts, the spouses do not reduce themselves as bodily persons (or their marriage) to the status of means or instruments.

At the same time, where marriage is understood as a one-flesh union of persons, children who may be conceived in marital acts are understood not as an ends which are extrinsic to marriage (either in the strict Augustinian sense, or the modern liberal one), but, rather, as gifts which supervene on acts whose central justifying point is precisely the marital unity of the spouses. Such acts have unique meaning, value, and significance, as I have already suggested in this post, because they belong to the class of acts by which children come into being – what I have called “reproductive-type acts.” More precisely, these acts have their unique meaning, value, and significance because they belong to the only class of acts by which children can come into being, not as “products” which their parents choose to “make,” but, rather, as perfective participants in the organic community (i.e., the family) that is established by their parents’ marriage. It is thus that children are properly understood and treated – even in their conception – not as objects of the desire or will of their parents, but as subjects of justice (and inviolable human rights); not as property, but as persons.

Excerpts from Robert P. George, The Clash of Orthodoxies: Law, Religion, and Morality in Crisis.



Glossary

Extrinsic (Random House Webster CD-Rom) – all are relevant.

1. Not essential or inherent; not a basic part or quality; extraneous: facts that are extrinsic to the matter under discussion.

2. Being outside a thing; outward or external; operating or coming from without: extrinsic influences.

3. Anatomy. (of certain muscles, nerves, etc.) originating outside the anatomical limits of a part.

Intrinsic (Random House Webster CD-Rom) – all are relevant.

1. Belonging to a thing by its very nature: the intrinsic value of a gold ring.

2. Anatomy. (of certain muscles, nerves, etc.) Belonging to or lying within a given part.


A question posed to me years ago by one of my son’s friends:

Question 3) What is your views on gays? Are they bad? Are they going to hell? Are you born this way?

I have written heavily on this subject, both papers are on my blog at:

The homosexual man or woman is just as much a sinner as you or me. We all need Christ. To touch on the hell issue first, I believe hell is a testament to free-will, and dignity as well. C.S. Lewis mentioned that hell is locked from the inside. The only thing separating mankind from God is a belief in the finished work on the Cross. By choice people reject their Creator, they choose their path, God never imposes it. Many who are saved are not immediately pure in action, nor will they ever be. Sometimes people take decades to work through their faults (counseling, prayer, reading God’s Word, etc), so just like the person who may cheat on his wife regularly, when he comes to a saving knowledge of God, he will be challenged to change his ways and seek counseling and prayer and reference from God’s Word. The same with a gay man or woman. If they truly have a saving knowledge of God, they will be challenged by the Holy Spirit to seek biblical guidance in their life, and like many others, they will turn away from their homosexual lifestyles.

However, there is a “created order,” or, even a natural order (if you do not believe in God). My argument for heterosexual (between a man and a woman) unions is usable both by the atheist (non believer in God) and the theist (a believer in God – in the Judeo-Christian sense). Here is the crux of the matter in regards to “nature’s order:”

“…take gold as an example, it has inherent in its nature intrinsic qualities that make it expensive: good conductor of electricity, rare, never tarnishes, and the like. The male and female have the potential to become a single biological organism, or single organic unit, or principle. Two essentially becoming one. The male and female, then, have inherent to their nature intrinsic qualities that two mated males or two mated females never actualize in their courtship… nor can they ever. The potential stays just that, potential, never being realized…..

“….Think of a being that reproduces, not by mating, but by some act performed by individuals. Imagine that for these same beings, movement and digestion is performed not by individuals, but only by the complementary pairs that unite for this purpose. Would anyone acquainted with such beings have difficulty understanding that in respect to movement and digestion, the organism is a united pair, or an organic unity?”

So you see, the two heterosexual organisms that join in a sexual union cease being two separate organisms for a short time and become one organism capable of reproduction. This is what the state and the church are sealing in a marriage, this intrinsic union. The homosexual couple can never achieve this union, so “natures order” has endowed the heterosexual union with an intrinsic quality that other relationships do not have or could never attain. Both the atheist and theist can argue from this point, because either we were created this way or we evolved this way. Either way, nature has imposed on the sexual union being discussed.

Also, I do not think it is wholly genetic. I believe choice is involved as well as violence. For instance, take this thought from a pro-choice, lesbian woman, Tammy Bruce:

“ . . . . and now all manner of sexual perversion enjoys the protection and support of once what was a legitimate civil-rights effort for decent people. The real slippery slope has been the one leading into the Left’s moral vacuum. It is a singular attitude that prohibits any judgment about obvious moral decay because of the paranoid belief that judgment of any sort would destroy the gay lifestyle, whatever that is…. I believe this grab for children by the sexually confused adults of the Gay Elite represents the most serious problem facing our culture today…. Here come the elephant again: Almost without exception, the gay men I know (and that’s too many to count) have a story of some kind of sexual trauma or abuse in their childhoodmolestation by a parent or an authority figure, or seduction as an adolescent at the hands of an adult. The gay community must face the truth and see sexual molestation of an adolescent for the abuse it is,* instead of the ‘coming-of-age’ experience many [gays] regard it as being. Until then, the Gay Elite will continue to promote a culture of alcohol and drug abuse, sexual promiscuity, and suicide by AIDS.”

* By the age of 18 or 19 years, three quarters of American youth, regardless of their sexual orientation, have had sexual relations with another person. Gay males are more likely than heterosexual males to become sexually active at a younger age (12.7 vs. 15.7 years) and to have had multiple sexual partners. The ages at the time of the first sexual experience with another person are closer for lesbians and heterosexual females (15.4 vs. 16.2 years).

(New England Journal of Medicine)


What she is basically saying is that there are emotional reasons, usually trauma, or circumstances that push these young boys into the choices they make in regards to their sexuality. For instance, one of my co-workers is a homosexual man. He is a wonderful guy; I would invite him to my wedding if I could go back in time. He is very open about his past, he was “initiated” into the homosexual lifestyle by a grown black man when he was 14. In other words, he was raped. Whether he feels now that he consented, or the person was a family friend or complete stranger. This act of sex with a minor by a grown man is rape. And this rape, at an age where boys are having surges of hormones and confused about a lot of things is what Tammy Bruce was speaking to. It is a psychological trauma that if not dealt with has traumatic results in one’s life. This sometimes works its way into sexual matters. There are many homosexual people, Al Rantel (790am 6pm to 9pm), to name a more popular one, that believe marriage should be kept between a man and a woman. Tammy Bruce wants it, but she, like most Republicans, want the states to decide, and not the Supreme Court.

Also, in 1993, the biggest march by the “gay” community (Elite gay community) on Washington was held, and they had this as part of their platform:

  • The implications of homosexual, bisexual, and transgendered curriculum at all levels of education.
  • The lowering of the age [12 years old to be exact] of consent for homosexual and heterosexual sex.
  • The legalization of homosexual marriages.
  • Custody, adoption, and foster-care rights for homosexuals, lesbians, and transgendered people.
  • the redefinition of the family to include the full diversity of all family structures.
  • The access to all programs of the Boy Scouts of America.
  • Affirmative action for homosexuals.
  • The inclusion of sex-change operations under a universal health-care plan. 

Obviously the Elite gay community Tammy Bruce spoke of [made up of Leftist Progressives] knows which age is best for “recruiting,” e.g., traumatizing.More can be said on all the above issues, but my book is not yet written. I will post three quotes from Tammy Bruce (a pro-choice lesbian):

Even if one does not necessarily accept the institutional structure of “organized religion,” the “Judeo-Christian ethic and the personal standards it encourages do not impinge on the quality of life, but enhance it. They also give one a basic moral template that is not relative,” which is why the legal positivists of the Left are so threatened by the Natural Law aspect of the Judeo-Christian ethic. (Tammy Bruce, The Death of Right and Wrong: Exposing the Left’s Assault on Our Culture and Values [Roseville: Prima, 2003], 35.)

…these problems don’t remain personal and private. The drive, especially since this issue is associated with the word “gay rights,” is to make sure your worldview reflects theirs. To counter this effort, we must demand that the medical and psychiatric community take off their PC blinders and treat these people responsibly. If we don’t, the next thing you know, your child will be taking a “tolerance” class explaining how “transexuality” is just another “lifestyle choice”…. After all, it is the only way malignant narcissists will ever feel normal, healthy, and acceptable: by remaking society – children – in their image (Ibid., 92, 206)

 

Intrinsic Benefits [i.e., built in by nature] from Male/Female Heterosexual Marriage ~ Excerpts from `What Is Marriage?`

This is an important set of excerpts from the book, What is Marriage?, and is linked to my Cumulative Case. I highly recommend getting the book and reading chapters three and four, you can also follow up on the many references to the quotes I did not include below:


Against this, some on the libertarian Right say that mar­riage has no public value, and call for the state to get out of the marriage business altogether. Voices on the Left say that marriage has no distinctive public value; they say the state may work it like clay, remaking marriage to fit our preferences. Here we show where both go wrong.

[….]

First, as we have seen by reflection that procreation uniquely extends and perfects marriage (see chapter 2), so the best available social science suggests that children tend to do best when reared by their married mother and father. Studies that control for other factors, including poverty and even genetics, suggest that children reared in intact homes do best on the following indices:

Educational achievement: literacy and graduation rates

Emotional health: rates of anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and suicide

Familial and sexual development: strong sense of identity, timing of onset of puberty, rates of teen and

out-of-wedlock pregnancy, and rates of sexual abuse

Child and adult behavior: rates of aggression, attention deficit disorder, delinquency, and incarceration

Consider the conclusions of the left-leaning research institution Child Trends:

[R]esearch clearly demonstrates that family structure matters for children, and the family structure that helps children the most is a family headed by two biological parents in a low-conflict marriage. Children in single-parent families, children born to unmarried mothers, and children in stepfamilies or cohabiting relationships face higher risks of poor outcomes. . . . There is thus value for children in promoting strong, stable marriages between biological parents. . . . [Fit is not simply the presence of two parents, . . . but the presence of two biological par­ents that seems to support children’s development.

According to another study, in the Journal of Marriage and Family, “[t]he advantage of marriage appears to exist primarily when the child is the biological offspring of both parents.” Recent literature reviews conducted by the Brookings Institu­tion, the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, the Center for Law and Social Policy, and the Institute for American Values corroborate the importance of intact households for children.

Single-motherhood, cohabitation, joint custody after di­vorce, and stepparenting have all been reliably studied, and the result is clear: Children tend to fare worse under every one of these alternatives to married biological parenting. To make marriages more stable is to give more children the best chance to become upright and productive members of society. Note the importance of the link between marriage and children in both stages of our argument: just as it provides a powerful reason to hold the conjugal view of marriage, so it provides the central reason to make marriage a matter of public concern.

But this link is no idiosyncrasy of our view. It is amply con­firmed in our law. Long before same-sex civil marriages were envisioned, courts declared that marriage “is the foundation of the family and of society, without which there would be nei­ther civilization nor progress.” They recalled that “virtually every Supreme court case recognizing as fundamental the right to marry indicates as the basis for the conclusion the institu­tion’s inextricable link to procreation.” In their account, not just ours, “the first purpose of matrimony, by the laws of nature and society, is procreation”; “the procreation of children un­der the shield and sanction of the law” is one of the “two princi­pal ends of marriage.” In fact, “marriage exists as a protected legal institution primarily because of societal values associated with the propagation of the human race.” Examples can be multiplied ad nauseam.

A second public benefit of marriage is that it tends to help spouses financially, emotionally, physically, and socially. As the late University of Virginia sociologist Steven Nock showed, it is not that people who are better off are most likely to marry, but that marriage makes people better off. More than signal maturity, marriage can promote it. Thus men, after their wed­ding, tend to spend more time at work, less time at bars, more time at religious gatherings, less time in jail, and more time with family.

The shape of marriage as a permanent and exclusive union ordered to family life helps explain these benefits. Permanently committed to a relationship whose norms are shaped by its apt­ness for family life, husbands and wives gain emotional insur­ance against life’s temporary setbacks. Exclusively committed, they leave the sexual marketplace and thus escape its heightened risks. Dedicated to their children and each other, they enjoy the benefits of a sharpened sense of purpose. More vigorously sow­ing in work, they reap more abundantly its fruits. So the state’s interest in productivity and social order creates an interest in marriage.

[….]

MAKING MOTHER OR FATHER SUPERFLUOUS

Conjugal marriage laws reinforce the idea that the union of husband and wife is, on the whole, the most appropriate envi­ronment for rearing children—an ideal supported by the best available social science. Recognizing same-sex relationships as marriages would legally abolish that ideal. No civil institution would reinforce the notion that men and women typically have different strengths as parents; that boys and girls tend to benefit from fathers and mothers in different ways.

To the extent that some continued to see marriage as apt for family life, they would come to think—indeed, our law, public schools, and media would teach them, and variously penalize them for denying—that it matters not, even as a rule, whether children are reared by both their mother and their father, or by a parent of each sex at all. But as the connection between mar­riage and parenting is obscured, as we think it would be eventu­ally, no arrangement would be proposed as ideal.

And here is the central problem with either result: it would diminish the social pressures and incentives for husbands to remain with their wives and children, or for men and women having children to marry first. Yet the resulting arrangements—parenting by divorced or single parents, or cohabiting couples —are demonstrably worse for children, as we have seen in chap­ter 3. So even if it turned out that studies showed no differences between same- and opposite-sex parenting, redefining marriage would undermine marital stability in ways that we know do hurt children.

That said, in addition to the data on child outcomes sum­marized in chapter 3, there is significant evidence that moth­ers and fathers have different parenting strengths—that their respective absences impede child development in different ways. Girls, for example, are likelier to suffer sexual abuse and to have children as teenagers and out of wedlock if they do not grow up with their father. For their part, boys reared without their father tend to have much higher rates of aggression, de­linquency, and incarceration. As Rutgers University sociolo­gist David Popenoe concludes, “The burden of social science evidence supports the idea that gender-differentiated parenting is important for human development and that the contribution of fathers to childrearing is unique and irreplaceable.” He con­tinues: “[W]e should disavow the notion that ‘mommies can make good daddies,’ just as we should disavow the popular notion . . . that ‘daddies can make good mommies.’ . . . The two sexes are different to the core, and each is necessary—culturally and biologically—for the optimal development of a human being.” In a summary of the relevant science, Univer­sity of Virginia sociologist W. Bradford Wilcox finds much the same:

Let me now conclude our review of the social scientific lit­erature on sex and parenting by spelling out what should be obvious to all. The best psychological, sociological, and biological research to date now suggests that—on average—men and women bring different gifts to the parenting enterprise, that children benefit from having parents with distinct parenting styles, and that family breakdown poses a serious threat to children and to the societies in which they live.

Of course, the question of which arrangements our policies should privilege is normative [should be based on natures/natural conditions]….

Note that for a relationship to be ordered to procreation in this principled and empirically manifested way, sexual orientation is not a disqualifier. The union of a husband and wife hears this connection to children even if, say, the husband is also attracted to men. What is necessary is rather sexual complementarity—which two men lack even if they are attracted only to women. It is not individuals who are singled out—as being less capable of affectionate and responsible parenting, or anything else. What are instead favored as bearing a special and valuable link to childrearing are certain arrangements and the acts that complete or embody them—to which, to be sure, individuals are more or less inclined.

† The need for adoption (and its immense value) where the ideal is practically impossible is no argument for redefining civil marriage, a unified structure of incentives meant precisely to reinforce the ideal—to minimize the need for alternative, case-by-case provisions.

Sheif Girgis, Ryan T. Anderson, and Robert P. George, What Is Marriage: Man and Woman: A Defense (New York, NY: Encounter Books, 2012), 37, 42-45, 58-60.

 

Homosexual Marriage, Parenting, and Adoption ~ First Things

I will put the Rabbi’s Second Part first, truncated a bit (will not include the Conclusion). After which I will put portions of his First Part below the Second. The entire article is worth reading, I was impressed with the input from the Rabbi… what a great addition to the ongoing discussion.

Part Two
Rabbi Bernheim shows that in this debate there is a confrontation between two worldviews. On the one hand is the worldview of the LGBT activists who wish to deny sexual difference and replace fixed sexual identity with a chosen sexual orientation, in service of the project of destroying marriage. On the other is that of the biblical vision of the irreducible difference between man and woman and of their complementarity, a constitutive difference that opens up transcendence.

Part One
Rabbi Bernheim offers an analysis of arguments advanced by those who favor a law establishing homosexual marriage, first giving the argument that we hear for it and then what we often neglect to say.

Homosexual Marriage, Parenting, and Adoption
The Chief Rabbi of France says what we often forget to say.
Gilles Bernheim, via First Things

PART TWO

The Negation of Sexual Difference

LGBT activists wish to deny sexual difference. One of their tools is “gender theory.” First used by feminists in their struggle for sexual equality, gender theory was taken up by homosexual activists in their fight against sexual difference. In the 1960s, Anglo-Saxon feminist movements denounced the social differences that persisted between men and women based solely on sexual difference. Their ideas gave birth to the notion of “gender,” which can be defined as the social role attributed to each sex. Gender is relative to norms and standards that determine what is considered masculine or feminine. In other words, it defines the difference and the social hierarchy between men and women as a function of their sex. Such gender norms are supposed to be the systematic basis for male domination over women.

Whereas sex is a matter of biological difference between men and women, gender refers to social differences based on these sexual differences. Gender could therefore be described as the social dimension of sexual difference. Theories that confine individuals to certain roles, jobs, or images, such as “the man at work and the woman in the home,” are thus denounced as oppressive.Gender theorists believe, as Simone de Beauvoir said, that “one is not born a woman, one becomes a woman” by assuming certain “gender characteristics” that are, for the most part, cultural constructions that these theorists denounce. One is born “neuter,” and it is society that imposes a male identity on each man because of his masculine sex and a female identity on each woman because of her feminine sex, with all the inequalities implied in this difference.

These theorists do not define the individual by his or her sex (man or woman) but by his or her sexuality (homo-, hetero-, etc.). They tend to efface the biological and anatomical dimension that separates the two sexes in order to see only multiple genders, dictated by culture and by history. Since they consider sexual difference to be a social and cultural construction and therefore artificial, feminist movements denounce existing social relationships and demand a culture capable of protecting women. One implication of this protection is the renunciation of heterosexuality.

The most radical theorists go further: They express the wish to eliminate all disparities between men and women and to achieve perfect equality between them. Since they believe there can be no difference without inequality, they demand the end to sexual difference between men and women. (What a paradox it is, in a society where we swear by nothing so much as the acceptance of difference, to perceive difference as a problem. But there is no antinomy between difference and equality; the opposite of equality is not difference, and equality is not contradicted by sexual difference.)

Since these theorists presume that sexual difference is the enduring cause of the submission of the woman to the man, equality necessarily implies the end of sexual difference. Thus it appears that the final goal of the feminist revolution is not only to have done away with the privilege of masculinity but also to eliminate the very distinction between the sexes. If gender is a pure social construction, then all social representation of sexuality is acquired and artificial. In this way, little by little, sex understood as a natural category is put in question and sexuality itself as a natural given is relativized.

Queer theory pushes gender theory to its extreme point and blames as heterosexist the assumption that heterosexuality is the norm and therefore superior to other sexual orientations. Once heterosexuality has lost its self-evidence, all forms of sexual construction become possible. Queer theory demands the creation of a new anthropology that would not be subject to “obligatory heterosexuality” or to “the self-evidence of heterosexuality,” with the aim of returning to some earlier stage before the existence of sexual or “gendered” difference. It wishes to have done with the “gendered” perception of the individual and with all “gendered” usage of words, so that “man” or “masculine” might designate a feminine body and the body itself is no longer understood as a given reality. Being only a social construction, sexual identity no longer in any way determines the psychic constitution of the individual. Thus there is no point in taking it into account.

In the place of sexual identity, which is considered a thing of the past, queer theory proposes the notion of a “sexual orientation” chosen by each individual based upon the gender that somehow defines his or her interior being. By distinguishing the sexed (sexuality as a given fact) from the sexual (sexuality as a behavior), queer theory defends the idea that one can be physically masculine but psychologically feminine, or the reverse. It follows that, independent of one’s biology or sex, one can experience desires that are homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, or asexual.

Queer theory thus invites the individual to leave behind the straitjacket of “manhood” or “womanhood” that he did not choose and express himself according to his self-perceptions. For example, a person who is male biologically and “gendered” as a woman could have heterosexual desires and thus live with another man. From this point of view, the sexual orientation chosen by the individual would never be definitive and could vary over the course of one’s life. If gender is constructed, it can thus be deconstructed. Femininity and masculinity become simple roles that one can choose to take on or to reject, to parody or to exchange as one wishes. Women, men, heteros, homos, bisexuals, or transsexuals . . . . In this merry-go-round of genders, sexual identities are replaced by individual expressions, which are ceaselessly created and recreated in relationship to one another. What is authoritative is no longer an individual’s sexual identity but his sexual orientation.

A Tammy Bruce Quote

Even if one does not necessarily accept the institutional structure of “organized religion,” the “Judeo-Christian ethic and the personal standards it encourages do not impinge on the quality of life, but enhance it.  They also give one a basic moral template that is not relative,” which is why the legal positivists of the Left are so threatened by the Natural Law aspect of the Judeo-Christian ethic…. these problems don’t remain personal and private. The drive, especially since this issue is associated with the word “gay rights,” is to make sure your worldview reflects theirs. To counter this effort, we must demand that the medical and psychiatric community take off their PC blinders and treat these people responsiblyIf we don’t, the next thing you know, your child will be taking a “tolerance” class explaining how “transexuality” is just another “lifestyle choice”…. After all, it is the only way malignant narcissists will ever feel normal, healthy, and acceptable: by remaking society – children – in their image…. and now all manner of sexual perversion enjoys the protection and support of once what was a legitimate civil-rights effort for decent people. The real slippery slope has been the one leading into the Left’s moral vacuum. It is a singular attitude that prohibits any judgment about obvious moral decay because of the paranoid belief that judgment of any sort would destroy the gay lifestyle, whatever that is….

Tammy Bruce, The Death of Right and Wrong: Exposing the Left’s Assault on Our Culture and Values (Roseville: Prima, 2003), 35, 92, 206, 90

It is in the name of tolerance that defenders of queer theory demand social recognition for all forms of sexual orientation, but tolerance in this case is nothing but a Trojan horse in the fight against heterosexuality, a social norm that they judge to be an obsolete imposition, since it is built upon sexual difference.

This fight clearly aims at the current model of the family, which is felt to be a form of social conditioning and an obstacle to the expression of the activists’ “deep self”—that is, their gender. Medicine and law will have to adapt themselves to these personal expressions of sexuality. If an individual who is physically masculine can in fact be psychologically feminine or the reverse, and if it is the will of the individual and no longer nature that determines sex, then why not institutionalize the union of two people, whoever they might be? And, in particular, what would be the point of refusing to confide children to such a couple, since all the different models are considered equivalent?

Faced with such a series of demands, we are justified in asking whether the activists’ purpose is not finally the destruction, pure and simple, of marriage and of the family as these have been traditionally conceived. With this aim in mind, homosexual marriage and the right to adoption for same-sex couples appear as nothing more than a means for exploding the foundations of society, making possible all kinds of unions, finally liberated from an ancestral morality, and therefore definitively doing away with the very notion of sexual difference.

The Biblical Vision

The complementarity between man and woman is a fundamental principle in Judaism, in other religions, in some nonreligious intellectual traditions, and in the organization of society, as well as in the opinion of a very large majority of the population. For me, this principle has a biblical basis. Others will find its foundation elsewhere. Here I will concentrate on the biblical view, not to the exclusion of other views.“So G-d created man in his own image, in the image of G-d he created him; male and female he created them” (Gen. 1:27). The biblical account grounds sexual difference in the act of creation. The polarity of masculine–feminine pervades all that exists, from clay to G-d. It is part of what is given primordially and what guides the respective vocations—the being and the agency—of man and woman. The duality of the sexes is part of the anthropological constitution of humanity.

Thus, every person is brought sooner or later to recognize that he possesses only one of the two fundamental versions of humanity and that the other will remain forever inaccessible. Sexual difference is thus a mark of our finitude. I am not the whole of humanity. A sexed being is not the totality of the species; it needs a being of the other sex to produce its likeness.

Genesis finds the similarity of the human being with G-d only in the association of the man and the woman and not in each one taken separately. This suggests that the definition of a human being is perceptible only in the conjunction of the two sexes. Because of his sexual identity, each person is referred beyond himself. From the moment a person becomes conscious of his sexual identity, he is thus confronted with a kind of transcendence. The person is required to think beyond himself and to acknowledge the independent existence of an inaccessible other—that is, of one who is essentially related to himself and desirable yet never wholly comprehensible.

The experience of sexual difference thus becomes the model for all experiences of transcendence; it designates an indissoluble relation with an absolutely inaccessible reality. On this basis we can understand why the Bible so readily uses the relation between man and woman as a metaphor for the relation between G-d and man: not because G-d is masculine and man is feminine but because it is man’s sexual duality that most clearly manifests an unsurpassable otherness within the closest relation.

It is significant that, in the Bible, sexual difference is mentioned just after the affirmation of the fact that man is in the image of G-d. This means that sexual difference is embedded in this image and thus blessed by G-d. Sexual difference must therefore be understood as a fact of nature infused with spiritual intentions. This, we think, is indicated by the fact that in the seven days of creation, the animals are not presented as sexed beings. What characterizes them is not the difference between the sexes but the difference of orders and, within each order, the differences among species: There are the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the beasts of the earth, etc. All living beings are produced, according to the repeated refrain, “after their kind” (Gen. 1:21). In this account, sexuality is not mentioned except in the case of mankind, for it is precisely in the loving relation, which includes the sexual act by which man and woman “become one flesh,” that the two fulfill their proper end: to be in G-d’s image.

Sex is therefore not an accidental attribute of the person. Genitals are the bodily expression of a sexuality that affects a person’s whole being—body, soul, and spirit. It is because man and woman perceive themselves as different in their sexed being, while they are both equally persons, that there can be complementarity and communion. “Masculine” and “feminine,” “male” and “female,” are relational terms. Masculine is masculine only insofar as it is oriented toward the feminine—and, through the feminine, toward the child; and this holds true for every instance of paternity, carnal or spiritual. The feminine is feminine only as oriented toward the masculine; and, through the man, toward the child—in every case, then, toward the maternal, whether carnal or spiritual.

The second account of creation deepens this teaching by presenting the act of creation of the woman in the form of a surgical operation by which G-d extracts the one who will become Adam’s companion from what is most intimate to him. Henceforth, neither man nor woman will make up the whole of humanity, and neither one will know all that is human. This expresses a double finitude: I am not everything; I am not even all that is human; and I do not know all that is human: The other sex always remains partly unknowable to me. This double finitude implies that self-sufficiency is impossible for a human being. This limitation is not a privation but a gift that allows for the discovery of the love that springs from wonder in the face of difference.

Through desire man discovers sexual difference at the heart of nature. “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh.” Openness to this other leads to self-discovery as complementary difference: “She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” In Hebrew, “one flesh” refers to “the One,” Ehad—the divine name par excellence, according to the Shema: “Hear, O Israel: the Lord is G-d, the Lord is one.” It is in this union, which is at once carnal and spiritual, a union made possible by difference and by complementary sexual orientation, that man and woman reproduce, in the created order, the image of the One G-d.

As a counterpoint, the third chapter of Genesis presents sin as the refusal of limitation and therefore of difference: “For G-d knows that when you eat of it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be as gods, knowing good and evil.” “The tree of knowledge of good and evil”—“the tree of knowing good and knowing evil”—symbolizes precisely the two ways of apprehending the limit. First, “good knowing” respects otherness and accepts the fact of not knowing all and consents to not being all. This way of knowing opens toward love and therefore toward “the tree of life” planted by G-d in the middle of the garden. Second, “evil knowing” refuses limits and difference. It eats the other in the hope of reconstituting the whole within the self and of acquiring omniscience. This refusal of the relation of otherness leads to greed and envy, to violence, and ultimately to death.

Isn’t this what is implied in the notion of gender: the refusal of otherness, of difference, and the demand to take on sexual behaviors independent of sexual difference, the first gift of nature? Is this not, in other words, the pretension to “know” the woman as the man, to become the whole of humanity, to emancipate oneself from all natural conditions, and therefore “to become as gods”?

PART ONE

Homosexual marriage in the name of equality?

What we hear: “Homosexuals are victims of discrimination. They must have the right to marry, the same as heterosexuals.”

What we often neglect to say: From the fact that people love each other it does not follow necessarily that they have the right to be married, whether they be heterosexual or homosexual. For example, a man cannot marry a woman who is already married, even if they love each other. Likewise, a woman cannot be married to two men on the grounds that she loves both of them and that both want to be her husband. A father cannot marry his daughter, even if their love is uniquely paternal and filial.

Of course, we understand the wish of people who are in love that their love be recognized. Still, there are strict rules defining what kinds of unions can be recognized as marriages and what kinds cannot. Thus “marriage for everyone” is only a slogan, since after the authorization of homosexual marriage the law would maintain forms of inequality and discrimination that would continue to apply to those who love each other but to whom marriage is not available.

The argument for marriage for all conceals a split between two existing visions of marriage. According to one worldview, which I share with a great number of people, both believers and nonbelievers, marriage is not only the recognition of a loving attachment. It is the institution that articulates the union between man and woman as part of the succession of generations. It is the establishment of a family—that is, a social cell that creates a set of parent–child relations among its members. Beyond the common life of two individuals, it organizes the life of a community consisting of descendants and ancestors. So understood, marriage is a fundamental act in the construction and the stability of individuals as well as of society.

According to another worldview, marriage is an obsolete and rigid institution, the absurd legacy of a traditional and alienating society. Is it not paradoxical to hear those who share this worldview raising their voices in favor of homosexual marriage? Why do those who reject marriage and prefer free unions demonstrate alongside activists in favor of homosexual marriage?

Whichever worldview you hold, it is clear that what is going on behind the slogan of “marriage equality” is a substitution: An institution fraught with legal, cultural, and symbolic significance would be replaced by a de-sexed legal category, thus undermining the foundation of individuals and of the family. In the name of equality and the struggle against discrimination, should we suppress all references to sexual difference in relations between citizens and the state, beginning with the marriage ceremony and the family records that issue from this ceremony?

[….]

Homosexual parenting in the name of love?

One Adopted Woman Speaks

Dawn knows from personal experience that the environment in which a child is raised matters. Her story delivers a provocative, gripping, no-holds-barred account of what it was like to grow up with a homosexual father, his partners, and a chronically ill and passive mother. Candidly, transparently, yet respectfully, Dawn raises the blinds on a home shrouded in secrecy, conflict, confusion, and abuse.

What we hear: “What is most important is love. A homosexual couple can give much love to a child, sometimes even more than a heterosexual couple.”

What we often neglect to say: To love a child is one thing; to love a child with a love that provides the necessary structure is another. There can be no doubt that homosexuals have the same capacity to love a child and to convey this love as do heterosexuals, but the role of parents extends beyond the love they feel for their children. To reduce the parental bond to its affective and educative aspects is to overlook the fact that the parent–child bond is a psychological vector of fundamental importance for the child’s sense of identity.

All the affection in the world will not suffice to produce the basic psychological structures that address the child’s need to know where he comes from. For the child establishes his own identity only by a process of differentiation, which presupposes that he knows whom he resembles. Thus he needs to know that he issues from the love and the union between a man, his father, and a woman, his mother, thanks to the sexual difference between them. Even adopted children know that they originate from the love and the desire of their parents, even when these are not their biological parents.

Father and mother represent a genealogy for the child. The child needs a clear and coherent genealogy in order to find his place as an individual. What has always and will always constitute our humanity is the capacity for language in a sexually differentiated body and as part of a genealogy. To identify a child’s parentage is not only to indicate who will raise the child, with whom he will have affective relations, and who will serve as his adults of reference. It is also, most important, to situate him in a generational chain. The chain guarantees each individual a place in the world in which he lives, for he knows where he came from.

Today we face the immense risk of irreversibly scrambling the chain of generations. Just as one cannot destroy the foundations of a house without the house collapsing, one cannot reject the foundations of our society without putting that society in danger.

“Homosexual parenting” is not parenting. The term itself was invented to mitigate the impossibility of homosexuals’ being parents. This new foundation, invented to promote the legal option of giving a child two “parents” of the same sex, is part of a fiction. Neither marriage nor parenthood has ever been based on the sexuality of individuals but rather on sex itself—that is, on the anthropological distinction between man and woman.

Thus, by abandoning the man–woman distinction in favor of the heterosexual–homosexual distinction, homosexual activists demand not parenthood (paternity or maternity) but the right to some new abstract parental status that reduces the role of the “parent” to the exercise of certain functions such as education. This overlooks the fact that, even in the case of adopted children, to be a parent is not only to educate the child but also to recreate lines of paternity and maternity.

We must therefore strongly reaffirm that to be a father or a mother is not merely an affective, cultural, or social function. The term “parent” is not neutral; it involves sexual difference. To accept the term “homosexual parenting” is to strip the word “parent” of its intrinsic bodily, biological, and fleshly meaning.

The Association of Gay and Lesbian Parents and Future Parents has proposed several substitutes for the term “parent” depending on the various functions to be performed: “stepparent,” “co-parent,” “homo-parent,” “mother to another,” “biological parent,” “legal parent,” “social parent,” “second parent,” etc. It seems unlikely that a child could manage naturally to find a stable meaning in relation to all such terminologies.

[….]

Adoption to protect the right to a child?

What we hear: “Homosexuals are victims of discrimination. Just like heterosexuals, they must have the right to have children.”

What we often neglect to say: The right to a child does not exist. The desire to have a child in no way establishes the right to have a child, neither for heterosexuals nor for homosexuals. The wishes of an infertile heterosexual couple may not be honored if conditions are not optimal. For example, one may judge that a young and healthy couple is better suited to have a child than an older couple in fragile health. If a right to a child for homosexual couples were recognized, then all heterosexual couples denied children would feel themselves victims of discrimination in one way or another and would have grounds for claiming the same right.

There is no question of denying the suffering experienced by homosexual couples owing to their infertility—a suffering they share with heterosexual couples who cannot procreate. Such homosexual couples now demand that their suffering be recognized and alleviated. But no one has the right to be relieved of suffering at another’s expense, particularly when this is to the disadvantage of the weak and innocent. Their suffering is not a sufficient reason to give them the right to adopt.

The child is not an object of rights but a subject of rights. To speak of a “right to a child” instrumentalizes and objectifies the child. In the current debate, the child as a person, as a subject, is absent in the arguments of those who demand adoption for homosexual couples. This absence allows adults demanding rights to avoid asking about the rights of the child, what the child might need, and whether the child might prefer having a father and mother instead of two parents of the same sex. This is a case where our carelessness borders on cynicism. The right of the child is radically different from the right to the child. The former right is fundamental. It consists in particular in giving the child a family in which he will have the best chance to have the best life.

Adoption to help the children waiting to be adopted?

What we hear: “Thousands of children are waiting for adoption, and it would be better for them to be adopted by a homosexual couple than to remain in an orphanage.”

What we often neglect to say: The adopted child needs a father and mother even more than other children. At the deepest level, viscerally, he desires to find a place close to the basic cell that gave him life: a father and a mother. The adopted child is burdened by the simultaneous traumas of abandonment and of the family’s double identity. Even more than other children, this child needs a clear sense of a biological chain. This is because he or she has no sense of being the fruit of a loving union. He was not desired, he has no one’s eyes, and he cannot recognize himself in any member of his new family.

It is common for the adopted child to reject one of the two sexes. It is therefore important that the child be able to identify with two parents of different sexes: with his mother, because he needs to be reconciled with the woman; and with his father, in order to know the presence of a man, without whom his mother would not have been able to have a child.

Money Quote
Adoption exists to provide the child a family, and not the reverse.

Homosexual adoption thus risks aggravating the trauma of the abandoned child, for the generational chain would be doubly broken: first in the reality of the child’s abandonment, and second, symbolically, in the fact of the homosexuality of the adoptive parents. Do we have the right to ask a child who has already been wounded by his past to adapt to the affective situation of his parents, a situation that is very different at once from that of the great majority of other children and from what the child aspires to rediscover? Is it the adopted child’s responsibility to adapt to the affective life choices of his or her parents?

Adoption exists to provide the child a family, and not the reverse. Adoption is intended to address the child’s hardship. It is thus essential to clearly discern the intentions of every couple that submits a request for adoption: Is the child to be adopted for himself, or to satisfy the couple’s need? Does the couple want to remedy the child’s hardship, or does it seek a remedy for its own pain in not being able to have a child? To be sure, a couple would not adopt a child if it did not feel the need to do so. Nevertheless, we must be sure that the child’s interests come first, as this is stated in our family law: Every child has the right to a family—first of all to his own family, and, failing this, to a family suited to become his own by adoption. This is why it is necessary to remind ourselves that desiring a child is not sufficient grounds for adoption, and that apparently simple solutions based on compassion are not always good solutions: Much harm can be done in the name of the good.

New forms of homosexual parenting to create equality?

What we hear: “The meaning of parenting is evolving, particularly thanks to medically assisted procreation. The law must take account of such developments.”

What we often neglect to say: The lesbian and feminist association LesBienNées (The Well-Born) gives the four forms homosexual parenting would take following its legal authorization: “It can be the result of a family’s recomposition with a partner of the same sex following a heterosexual union. It can come about within a system of co-parenting in which gays and lesbians agreed to have a child who will be raised cooperatively between the two households. It can also be the result of an adoption. Or, finally, it can be the result of artificial insemination or of a medically assisted procreation.”

LGBT activists seek to advance the idea that any limits on the rights of “parenting” would be a violation of the principle of equality and thus an injustice, thereby setting aside the fact that a child is always born of the union of a man and a woman—even if this union may sometimes be medically assisted. These activists demand the consistent application of the principle of equality to leverage their cause, in particular in the case of medically assisted procreation for lesbian couples.

These new forms of homosexual parenting have opened the door to a frightening array of possible combinations. For example, a lesbian might donate an egg to her partner, who would then be inseminated and carry a child for the couple. The sperm might be provided by a couple of male homosexuals who would then function as co-parents for the child, who would thus have four parents. Such combinations and others are now a reality. These invented combinations give rise to two demands. The first is to legitimize them because they already exist. The second is the creation of a universal right to any such combination, on the grounds that access to these means of reproduction in foreign countries is expensive and therefore a source of inequality.

It is well understood that, in many domains of life, an infraction—that is to say, a failure to respect a prohibition—cannot be sufficient grounds for lifting the prohibition that has not been respected. In other words, the reality of certain facts is not sufficient to create a legal reality. This holds as well for the new forms of homosexual parenting.

It is also clear that what is at stake in medically assisted procreation and in surrogate pregnancy goes far beyond the mere question of homosexual parenting and far exceeds what is provided for in French family law. It is essential, therefore, that the subjects continue to be treated in the proper framework of the law of bioethics and that this framework not be taken hostage by demands aiming to erase all sexual difference in our society.

[….]

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