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Gay marriage: an argument against

By Peter Sellick - posted Wednesday, 1 August 2012

I would like to thank Ken Davis for his article "The gay marriage debate" because it makes some valid points about what the argument is really about.

He debunks homophobia as the reason for opposition as well as the hysterical arguments about the slippery slope.

Having said that I disagree with him in his conclusion that gay marriage should be introduced into our society.


I do not argue on religious grounds, rather, my argument against gay marriage is based on ontological considerations i.e. of the nature of being. These arguments are not based on evidence as if we could do a sociological survey or perform psychological experiments but on a deeper understanding of what sex and gender signify.

This understanding is deeper than a dictionary definition that may change with time, it is anchored in the depth of who we are as human beings.

The argument for gay marriage is based on the egalitarian argument, that it is unfair not to have gay marriage.

The problem with this is that ontological significations are ignored for the sake of fairness. But ontology cannot be decided on those grounds, male and do female exist, the sexual union of a male and a female is sexual in that it brings forth children.

This understanding of marriage is not based on religious preconceptions although it is supported by them, it is based on the gender division inherent in humanity. Such division cannot simply be erased because gays want to push their egalitarian agenda to the last bastion: marriage.

The threat of gay marriage is that it erases difference that is indelible to the human condition. While political correctness champions the acceptance of difference, and I agree that gays should not be discriminated against, it also erases difference so that we have to ignore gender.


It is obvious that gays are different and the campaign for gay marriage seeks to erase that difference. We are to think that hetero and homo "marriages" are the same but clearly they are not. They may be long term and loving and I applaud that but they are not sexual in the ontological sense even if they are in the erotic sense.

This is the rub. Gay relationships are sterile and cannot be compared with normal marriage. This is the difference that precludes them from being called marriages.

The struggle that gays experience when they "come out" is partly due to the fear of social censure but it is also a matter of them coming to the realisation that they are different in a radical way. Ken Davis is right about sexual orientation, it is not chosen in a way that the other description as "sexual preference" may suggest.

While we have no idea of the biology or the psychology of sexual orientation we do know that it is deeply rooted and not amenable to manipulation. In other words it is gifted in the same way that being hetero is gifted.

The gift makes them different, they cannot look forward to generating children out of their love. They need a third person to produce a family.

This is an important difference that cannot be erased by in-vitro fertilization even though healthy and well cared for children may result. It is the fundamental reason that gay relationships may be approved of and blessed but may not be equated with traditional marriage.

To do so is to ignore difference for the sake of fairness.

I think gays should give up on marriage and live out the freedom that has been gained for them. Being free of raising a family enables men and women to focus on pursuits that would be impossible when locked into the necessities of economics and location that come with raising a family in a similar way that the Roman church has benefited from celibate clergy, but without the loneliness.

This freedom must have been important in allowing the great gay artists and writers and dramatists and poets to have the flexibility and freedom to create so many works that enrich us.

While I am not sure of gay pride, pride being a sin, if gays have pride in being gay, then why do they want to mimic traditional marriage between straights? It will always sit badly for the reasons outlined above.

Why do they want to erase the one obvious difference between them and the straight population? My hunch is that the language of human rights, that is often not useful in these cases, plus the ideology of equalitarianism pushes both straights and gays to a total erasure of the difference and they will only be content when this has been achieved.

This will mean that the terms "husband" and "wife" will be swallowed up in political correctness and our language will again be reduced by the idea that we are all the same.

My message for gays? That traditional marriage is not for you is not an insult or an example of discrimination but a recognition of real difference that you faced when you first came out. That difference will not be submerged in traditional marriage. It is valuable; Give thanks.

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About the Author

Peter Sellick an Anglican deacon working in Perth with a background in the biological sciences.

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