Redefining marriage won’t hurt yours will it, so what’s the big deal?
How many of us have heard this one? What’s the big deal about letting homosexuals marry? It won’t hurt your marriage.
This sounds like a powerful objection, but it’s simply empty rhetoric.
For a start, most of us are encouraged to look for the good of others. It’s interesting that those who make such statements as this usually also tell us that we should seek the happiness of others and give them what they want. On the one hand then, I am encouraged to do this because it meets my own interests. In the other case, I am not to look for my own interests. Which is it?
Still, let’s look also at the way the argument is. There is a hidden premise.
That which will not hurt you is that which you should not worry about. Homosexuals marrying will not hurt you. Homosexuals marrying is that which you should not worry about.
But how would this work in other situations?
The kids of the neighbor are being abused by their father. Well that hurts them certainly, but it does not hurt me or my children. Therefore, I should not worry about it.
There is a high frequency of female rape in your community. Supposing you are not married and not even interested in marrying and have no female relatives nearby, then it affects no one that I know, therefore I should not be worried about it.
Our country is going to war. I know no one in the military and I know no one we are fighting against. Therefore, I should not worry about it.
In being good citizens of society, we all know that we should have an active concern in seeking the good of our society regardless of if it affects us directly or not. Even if I am not homeless, I should go and help those who are. Even if I am not going hungry, I should be willing to go and help those who are. (Interestingly, these were the same people who also complained that Christians were going to Chick-Fil-A instead of going to the soup kitchens. Would it have been fair to say “Starving people don’t affect me so why should I go?”)
In fact, in all of this we have not yet answered the question of if it hurts us. I contend that the answer is yes.
Let’s use divorce as an example. Let’s suppose we live in a society where people are profoundly aware of no-fault divorce. They are aware due to a high divorce rate in their area. Say that a couple gets married. The man has no intention of divorcing the wife. The woman has no intention of divorcing the husband. Both can repeat this to each other but when a hard time hits, both could be tempted to think “I will not divorce my spouse, but I wonder if I’m starting to wear on them.”
Even supposing that it is true that divorce never enters the mind of either, when they are asked by each other and answer “I would never think about it!” it could be easy to say “They’re just saying that.” This leads to the breakdown of trust. Never mind the effect that something like this will have on children who need to grow in an environment of stability.
We were told divorce would not really hurt kids. We were wrong.
Now this time we are to believe that not having a mother or not having a father as the default position will not hurt kids. A study like Regnerus’s has come along to help dispel this myth. I have no doubt that ten to twenty years down the line, even more research will come in to support this. If marriage as an institution is lowered, all instances of that institution will be lowered.
Yes. What happens does hurt my marriage but even if it did not, I believe it hurts society so I cannot be silent.