Same Sex Marriage Debate
Same Sex Marriage Debate - Why Gay Reactions are Anything but Gay
A few years ago, I was in Chicago conducting a leadership seminar for a major insurance company. One of my fellow instructors—a woman I’ll call Mary—announced to the attendees that she was a lesbian living with her partner. That led me into a friendly but rather lively exchange with her later that evening.
After a group of us had dinner, Mary and I were engaging in small talk in the lounge of the restaurant. Now, I really like Mary—she is outgoing, witty, and certainly good at her insurance profession. So when the other folks were a few feet out of earshot, I decided to ask her a little bit more about herself.
“Mary,” I said, “Do you mind if I ask you a personal question?”
Since Mary is very direct, she was all for it.
“No, go ahead!” she said.
Being as discrete and unassuming as I could, I asked with a smile (you always have to smile in situations like this), “You mentioned that you’re living with your partner. Do you find the gay lifestyle difficult? Has your family accepted it? Are they happy with it?”
Mary straightened up and adopted a more assertive tone.
“Of course they’ve accepted it! I come from a very enlightened family. They are very happy for me and just want me to be happy.”
“What do you think about it?” she said, turning the tables on me, with a slight hint of a smile.
Since I’m very direct as well, I answered, “Forgive me, Mary, but I think it’s wrong.”
“You think it’s wrong!” she fired back, eyebrows raised. Her tone was more confident than hostile. Like the lady who e-mailed me about our TV show, Mary then said, “Who are you to judge me, Frank?”
“Who are you to judge me for judging?” I countered.
As if I hadn’t said a word, she repeated, “Who are you to judge me, Frank?”
“Mary,” I said, leaning in for emphasis, “If we are not to judge, then why are you judging me for judging?”
Again, as if I was talking to a wall, she completely ignored my response. “I just think it’s bigoted and intolerant of you not to accept my lifestyle,” she announced.
“Are you bigoted and intolerant for not accepting my lifestyle?” I asked. “But I do accept your lifestyle,” she fired back.
“No, you don’t,” I told her. “Part of my lifestyle is to speak out against harmful behavior like homosexuality. You’re intolerant of that, so you’re judging me just as much as I’m judging you.”
This verbal jousting went on for better than ten minutes. We had a civilized and friendly conversation, but Mary did what I find many people do when confronted with truth they don’t like—they ignore it or suppress it. In Mary’s case, she ignored it. She simply would not acknowledge that several of her claims were unreasonable because they were either self-defeating or hypocritical. For example, she told me to not judge but judged me in the process. She accused me of intolerance while being intolerant herself. Later in the conversation, she told me there are no moral absolutes, but then she went on to assert that tolerance and same-sex marriage are two moral absolutes that everyone must support.
Same Sex Marriage Debate - The Reasons Behind the Reactions
Although she wouldn’t acknowledge her inconsistency, Mary was at least pleasant to talk to. Many others, I’ve found, try to suppress the truth by getting hostile. They attack me rather than my arguments. Name-calling and profanity replace good reason. Nowadays, if you refuse to pretend that same-sex relationships are just as good as those of the opposite sex, you will be attacked personally. Ironically, the most intolerant folks are often those who say they are fighting for tolerance. Why is this so? Because some people would rather follow their desires than follow the truth. They don’t want to be changed by the truth. They want to do the impossible—they want to change the truth to validate their behavior. That’s why they try to suppress the truth or the truth teller.
Why else would someone attack me personally for citing the indisputable evidence that heterosexuality is more healthy and beneficial to society than homosexuality? I didn’t make up those facts. Why else would someone get emotional when I point out the obvious fact that men and women were designed for one another, but men-men or women-women were not? I didn’t design the human body. I didn’t invent what our founders called “The Laws of Nature.”
Why else would someone get mad at me for highlighting the moral truth that if hurting other people is wrong, it’s wrong even when it happens through homosexual sex? That’s not my morality—I didn’t make it up. I’m just citing the morality that is built into the very nature of the universe. In fact, aspects of that same moral code convict me as well. It teaches me to not hurt others, and there are many times I find that inconvenient. But since failing to live according to the morality brings grave consequences, it hurts us more in the long run to deny it, suppress it, or to attack those who remind us of it.
What is the point of me telling you all this? It’s not to complain. If people want to call me and other same-sex marriage opponents names, that’s fine. I’m telling you this to point out that this debate over same-sex marriage is not just an intellectual one. Since we are intellectual, emotional, and volitional beings, sometimes we allow our emotion and will to overrule the mind. In this debate you’ll find too many people letting their emotions and will get in the way of sound thinking. They do not want to be confronted with the facts because those facts convict them. Again, as Augustine said, people love the truth when it enlightens them, but they hate it when it convicts them.
So if you oppose same-sex marriage, you will probably be tagged as an enemy of homosexuals by homosexual activists. They will not meet you with rational arguments for their position, but with hysterical cries that you are the next Hitler.77 If history is any guide, they will put a swastika on me and anyone else who agrees with this book. Their propaganda machine will spew the most intolerant invectives you’ll ever see. That’s why so many conservatives shy away from this subject. No one wants to stomach the abuse.
This raises the question: Why do homosexual activists tend to be so mean-spirited? Is it just because they have no valid arguments? I think there’s more to it than that.
Think about how you react when you are exposed doing wrong. If you don’t want to stop the behavior, the last thing you want is someone calling you on it. Those coming between you and your pet sin may feel the heat of your wrath, even though you know they are right. This happened to me behind the wheel recently. I was running a little late and the person in front of me actually had the gall to drive the speed limit. Can you imagine? There I was trying to make up some time, and the person in front of me was actually obeying the law! Rage welled up inside of me. “You know you get the speed limit plus ten—let’s go!”
I had to resist the nearly overwhelming urge to cross the double yellow line and blow by him while screaming my best Jersey put down (yes, I’m originally from New Jersey). I resisted, but it was tough. The most alarming truth about the incident was that the feelings of rage came even though I knew he was right. Now, imagine you have homosexual desires. Whether they are the result of nature or nurture is irrelevant. You have them, and you are tired of fighting them. Once you’ve made the choice to act on them, you’ll probably seek others who’ve made the same choice because you want companionship and validation. How do you think you’re going to feel about those who oppose your behavior? You might feel hatred toward them—or at least contempt—even though you know they’re right. (In fact, if I felt rage driving, I would expect the feeling to be even more intense when related to sex—one of the most emotionally powerful and addictive acts in which we engage.)
Why does such rage seize us? It has to do with how the human conscience works. Our consciences don’t just tell us what is right—they also urge us to live right. That means if we choose to live in a way that is against our consciences, we probably won’t go peacefully on our merry way. The part of our conscience that urges us to live right will continue to convict us for suppressing the truth and living immorally. So we will aggressively seek rationalizations to prove to everyone, including ourselves, that we actually are living right.78 Our conflicted consciences may boil over into rage against anyone who suggests our behavior is wrong. We simply can’t tolerate anyone who calls attention to the truth we are suppressing. Their opposing views must be silenced.
By the way, this suppress-support-and-silence process is not unique to homosexuals. Most people who decide that they want to continue to defy their conscience will in some way suppress the truth, support their behavior with slick rationalizations, and then attempt to silence those who point out their errors. You’ve probably seen this if you’ve ever confronted an adulterer or a thief. They’ll usually get defensive and come up with all sorts of excuses. What makes homosexuals different, along with abortion rights advocates, is that they have been able to turn their pet sin into a political movement. It’s difficult to convince people that adultery and theft should be legally endorsed behaviors, but moralizing slogans about “equality” and “choice” enable homosexuals and abortionists to confuse enough people into thinking that they somehow have a right to homosexuality and abortion.
77 Dr. Michael Brown, who has conducted very respectful dialogue with members of the homosexual community, experienced this name-calling firsthand. See his editorial to the Charlotte Observer reprinted here: http://www.coalitionofconscience.org/americasScapegoats.aspx. Of course, there are a few on the far right who also resort to name-calling. That’s why I urge those on both sides of this debate to use arguments not slander. It’s not only the right thing to do, but when we use arguments rather than slander natural marriage will win.
78 J. Budziszewski calls this “The Revenge of Conscience” in his book by the same name. The Apostle Paul describes the negative effects of sin on the mind in his letter to the Romans 1:18-32.
What is your response?
Yes, today I am deciding to follow Jesus
Yes, I am already a follower of Jesus
I still have questions