California’s Proposition 8 and Morality

Well outside of Obama’s historic election win, the biggest political story was probably the victory of Proposition 8 in California.  Basically Proposition 8 was an amendment to the California constitution to ban same sex marriage.  The proposition was spurred by the California Supreme Court nullifying a law that the voters had passed in 2006, that out-lawed gay marriage.  This was quintessential judicial activism.

Well LGBT and same sex marriage supporters have already begun their protests and proclaiming that “their rights” have been violated, and that this is a failure of separation of church and state.  They could not be more wrong.

All people, and I repeat ALL people have the right to marry, both heterosexual and gay, and both are restricted from marrying someone of the same sex. Just like both gay and straight are restricted from marrying a child, or two people at once.

This is because states sanction and give benefits for marriage, not because of religious convictions, but civic good.  The state has a vested interest in seeing marriages between men and women occur because it is the fundamental relationship in which children are conceived and raised.  That is really it.  So when the state sanctions and encourages marriage it does so because it is trying to foster the normative conditions for the production and rearing of the next generation.  And ontologically, heterosexual marriage is the only union which can naturally produce children.  This is not ideological discrimination, just biological and anatomy fact.  A good case study of all of this and what happens when the state does not intentionally encourage heterosexual marital unions that produce children is Russia.  Because traditional marriage and traditional sexual morals have deteriorated so extensively, Russia is facing a declining population and serious fears about its economic and military future in the next 30 years.

All of this to say the idea that the separation of church and state is being violated and morality is being forced on homosexuals is just plan ignorant.  Because all law is morality, you cannot legislate anything but morality.  All laws are proscriptions of things you must do, or must not do so that society will run well.  All political arguments are therefore whose morals and what morals will be legislated.  In addition, claiming that legislating morality is a breach of separation of church and state is a categorical error of not understanding that morality and church are not synonymous.

The real funny thing about all of this is that when those who are outraged about morality being imposed upon them, fail to be consistent when their morality is encoded into law and imposed upon others…not even a whimper.

UPDATE:  Protests have been raging since Tuesday and this Sunday gay activists gathered at Saddleback to protest proposition 8.  Sad all the way around as it is such a convoluted picture of how we would want the church to make news in our communities.  Sometimes I am hopeful that we can move beyond the culture wars, and others times not so much…



9 Responses

  1. Ryan! This is SO good man. You put into words some of the thoughts i’ve had swarming around in my head, but haven’t been able to articulate yet. You made some EXTREMELY good points that i am sure i will be using in future conversations. Thanks for a great post.

  2. A well-written post, Ryan. You are clean and articulate.

  3. The genders are each beautiful and unique. Each gender has a parental influence that is unique to give to the next generation, modeling what it means to be a mom or a dad. In families where one gender is lacking either by death or divorce, society agrees that it is a tragedy in the life of a child. To intentionally create that situation and celebrate it as equal turns reason on it’s head.

    I think one of the strongest points against same sex marriage is that it institutionalizes a situation that by definition creates motherless or fatherless children.

    I agree with France. They rejected same sex marriage based on the inherent rights children have to a mother and a father. Children’s rights, they argued, come before an adult’s right to sexual preference.

  4. I’ve been documenting everything with the LA protests, including the defacing of the temple and everything that went with it. Pretty heavy stuff the last few days.

  5. Sorry, this is the one with the temple graffiti. The other link is good too though.

  6. Hey Aaron thanks for the kind words, and I am glad it was helpful. I wrote it primarily because I think issues like this often can be confusing and require some serious thinking to see clearly. We have got to move past the minimalist ethic that is constantly advocated in mainstream culture as it is very inconsistent and impossible to maintain. I am sure this is not the end of the debate (probably only the beginning) but as Christ followers I hope we are prepared to winsomely love and articulate a clearly thought position on the matter.

  7. What do you mean by “minimalist ethic”?

  8. A minimialist ethic is the mantra of “well as long as you don’t hurt anybody else.” It has become the pervading ethic of our culture and sounds quite appealing at face value, but it breaks down even upon a rudimentary examination.

  9. In what ways does it break down? (Other than the fact that nothing we do really has no effect on others).

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