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Dismantling a homosexual marriage myth

By Bill Muehlenberg - posted Thursday, 25 November 2010


A so-called conservative writer parroted some silly arguments for same-sex marriage in the Sunday Age recently. He finishes by saying that marriage is a good thing (which it is), so it should be available for homosexuals as well. He is wrong big time here.

First of all, it is heterosexual marriage which is good for couples, not any old relationship. The wonderful interaction of a man and a woman in the complementarity of heterosexual marriage is what makes it so special and beneficial. This is not true of other types of live-in situations.

But there is an even more important reason why this writer is so very wrong. The truth is, homosexuals do not at all have in mind what most of us understand marriage to be. Indeed, they have something radically different in mind. Most seek to radically expand and alter the common understanding of marriage. Long-term monogamous fidelity is seldom part of this new understanding.

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Simply reading through the homosexual press this becomes clear. Many seem to want to have their cake and eat it too. Article titles such as "How to Stay Married and Still Be a Slut" are not all that uncommon. Many homosexuals happily admit that traditional heterosexual marriage constraints are not exactly their cup of tea.

One homosexual writer for example, Andrew Sullivan, writes that if homosexual marriage contracts come into force, they would have to be “different”: that is, they would have to allow for “extra-marital outlets” and other major changes. Of course that undermines the very essence of marriage, which is the covenant of life-long sexual faithfulness.

It is worth quoting Sullivan further here. He speaks about the “foibles of a simple heterosexual model” for homosexual relationships. And then he makes this telling admission:

I believe strongly that marriage should be made available to everyone, in a politics of strict public neutrality. But within this model, there is plenty of scope for cultural difference. There is something baleful about the attempt of some gay conservatives to educate homosexuals and lesbians into an uncritical acceptance of a stifling model of heterosexual normality. The truth is, homosexuals are not entirely normal; and to flatten their varied and complicated lives into a single, moralistic model is to miss what is essential and exhilarating about their otherness.

Elizabeth Kristol offers some trenchant commentary on this:

Rote? Stifling? Moralistic? These are strange epithets to come upon in the final pages of a book whose goal is to convince readers that homosexuals want to marry and deserve to marry; that homosexual love is as dignified as heterosexual love; that it is inhumane not to allow the dignity of this love to find fruition in marriage; that marriage is so venerable an institution that it is single-handedly capable of leading men out of lives of empty promiscuity into unions of commitment and fidelity. Suddenly we learn, almost as an afterthought, that the institution of marriage may have to change to accommodate the special needs of homosexuals.

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Quite so. Indeed, as has been frequently documented, monogamy is rather rare in homosexual relationships. Many homosexual commentators have made it clear that if and when they do achieve the right to “marry” they will demand to radically redefine what that term means. Several more examples can be mentioned here.

Same-sex marriage proponent Richard Mohr openly affirms the importance of “flexibility” in same-sex unions. He is unashamed in saying this: “Monogamy is not an essential component of love and marriage.”

Lesbian activist Paula Ettelbrick put it this way:

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About the Author

Bill Muehlenberg is Secretary of the Family Council of Victoria, and lectures in ethics and philosophy at various Melbourne theological colleges.

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