I enjoy when the opposition hands me material on a silver platter. Thanks to the Manhattan Declaration, we have confirmation of the real reasons why right wing fundamentalists and conservatives oppose same sex marriage. As of today, over 180,000 people have signed this Declaration. One voice, making the same statement. At last, our enemy has defined themselves.
One of the main founders of the Manhattan Declaration, Chuck Colson, was part of the Watergate scandal and went to jail for obstructing justice. He is a convicted felon who became a born again evangelical while in prison. Many doubt that his conversion is real. One of many endeavors sponsored by Mr. Colson is his desire to have the Bible taught in public schools. This is a very small snippet from the Wikipedia entry on Mr. Colson.
A quip that ‘Colson would walk over his own grandmother if necessary’ mutated into claims in news stories that Colson had boasted that he would run over his own grandmother to re-elect Nixon. Plotz reports that Colson sought to hire Teamsters’ thugs to beat up anti-war demonstrators. Colson proposed firebombing the Brookings Institution and stealing politically damaging documents while firefighters put the fire out.
Ah yes. This is definitely the kind of guy that Jesus would hang out with.
Back to the Manhattan Declaration. Let’s examine parts of it, shall we?
The impulse to redefine marriage in order to recognize same-sex and multiple partner relationships is a symptom, rather than the cause, of the erosion of the marriage culture. It reflects a loss of understanding of the meaning of marriage as embodied in our civil and religious law and in the philosophical tradition that contributed to shaping the law….
I actually have no idea what this wordiness means, other than its intent is to lure you into believing that marriage has THEIR meaning embodied in our civil law. I’ve included it because we will get to their meaning of marriage quite soon.
It would lock into place the false and destructive belief that marriage is all about romance and other adult satisfactions, and not, in any intrinsic way, about procreation and the unique character and value of acts and relationships whose meaning is shaped by their aptness for the generation, promotion and protection of life.
The bold is my emphasis. However, procreation is italicized in the original version.
Jackpot! We have it. The false and destructive belief that marriage is about romance and ‘other’ adult satisfactions. Marriage is NOT about love. I don’t know what is implied by ‘other adult satisfactions’. I know they don’t mean procreation or sex (how do you know Geekgirl? Ah, we’ll get there.) Right now I am pondering the ‘adult satisfactions’ that my marriage has brought me. Companionship, someone to share my life with, for better or worse… what does that remind me of? Oh well, never mind. Let’s continue.
They [meaning gays and lesbians] fail to understand, however, that marriage is made possible by the sexual complementarity of man and woman, and that the comprehensive, multi-level sharing of life that marriage is includes bodily unity of the sort that unites husband and wife biologically as a reproductive unit.
Marriage is actually made possible by the government when it hands out marriage licenses. Period. End of sentence. Yet I sense they are slipping away from procreation, as in having children, and into something else here.
Marriage is what one man and one woman establish when, forsaking all others and pledging lifelong commitment, they found a sharing of life at every level of being—the biological, the emotional, the dispositional, the rational, the spiritual—on a commitment that is sealed, completed and actualized by loving sexual intercourse in which the spouses become one flesh, not in some merely metaphorical sense, but by fulfilling together the behavioral conditions of procreation. That is why in the Christian tradition, and historically in Western law, consummated marriages are not dissoluble or annullable on the ground of infertility, even though the nature of the marital relationship is shaped and structured by its intrinsic orientation to the great good of procreation.
Let’s shorten that first sentence to get to the point. Marriage is what one man and woman establish by fulfilling together the behavioral conditions of procreation. Behavioral conditions of procreation. You can’t fool me. I’m a biologist. I know what this means.
Marriage is one man and woman having sexual intercourse.
So it’s NOT about procreation. We know this now because the church does not annul marriages on the grounds of infertility. As long as you have the kind of sex that could, in theory, lead to procreation, you can be married. You don’t need romance or love. You just need a willing penis and a willing vagina. Take note, it cannot be only metaphorical.
Not convinced? Read this direct quote from Dr. Ronald Sider, one of the signers of the Manhattan Declaration, from an interview with the Village Voice. What is sad about Dr. Sider is he professes to be a Democrat who supports equality for gays and lesbians.
It’s quite clear that… men and women who have sex and make babies stay together. It’s better for their children, and it’s better that children grow up with their moms and dads — and that’s why societies have defined marriage, to protect making babies. The real question is, what is marriage?
Mr. Sider is incorrect here. Many studies have shown that gay parents are as good, if not better, than straight parents. It’s also very insulting to single parents who try hard to do a very good job.
You can say what you just said, but you’re not listening to me. My argument was not a religious argument. It is about what marriage means. It’s true, a lot of contemporaries have redefined marriage. Marriage now means an emotional, romantic relationship between people. If that is what marriage is, then it should ought [sic] to be available to gays or lesbians. But if marriage is what every culture has always said it was, then it makes no sense to offer it to everyone.
He doesn’t elaborate on what every culture has always said it was. But we all know this argument is put forward as if the only model of marriage that has ever existed is their own. Forget polygamy, Native American cultures and women as property.
We have a couple hundred years of public law in this country on this. But nobody would argue that everybody ought to have identical things regardless of who they are. Children don’t have identical rights; grandparents don’t have identical rights with parents. It depends on who you are, what rights you properly get. It’s not true somebody who is living in a relationship, which is not marriage, should have the rights of marriage.
Wow. Now we’re comparing rights of children and grandparents to those of same sex couples who want the same rights as opposite couples. The arguments against this point are so obvious, I won’t take up your time. That last sentence is the one that really bothers me. It is a slap in the face to every loving, monogamous same sex couple.
I want gay Americans to be protected by the law. I want an end to gay bashing. I want them to have jobs, and have housing. I want them to visit their partner in the hospital, and to inherit property and pay taxes [together] legally. Those are all proper things a good society does to establish equality. Even though gay people are not practicing what I believe is the proper sexual relationship, I think they should be protected by the constitution and have all of their civil rights. It doesn’t follow that we shouldn’t follow gay marriage. But I very much believe that we should have civil rights for everybody. …. I think …. people with a gay orientation, ought to seek God’s help to live lives of joy without sexual intercourse.
Outside of some grammatical issues, Mr. Sider doesn’t actually say how society should give these rights to gays and lesbians. But when you get them, you still should not have sex. And it won’t be called marriage.
What case does the Manhattan Declaration make against the legalization of same sex marriage?
No one has a civil right to have a non-marital relationship treated as a marriage. Marriage is an objective reality—a covenantal union of husband and wife—that it is the duty of the law to recognize and support for the sake of justice and the common good.
The law has no duty to create a legal version of marriage. We are often reminded by the religious right that the Constitution doesn’t say anything about the right to marry. However, we as a society have recognized that giving legal protections to couples and families protects individuals and society as a whole. But if you are a same sex couple, evidently the sake of justice and the common good do not apply. Here is your confirmation that you are, indeed, second class citizens.
First, the religious liberty of those for whom this is a matter of conscience is jeopardized. Second, the rights of parents are abused as family life and sex education programs in schools are used to teach children that an enlightened understanding recognizes as “marriages” sexual partnerships that many parents believe are intrinsically non-marital and immoral. Third, the common good of civil society is damaged when the law itself, in its critical pedagogical function, becomes a tool for eroding a sound understanding of marriage on which the flourishing of the marriage culture in any society vitally depends.
First, no one’s religious liberty is at stake except for those religions that support same-sex marriage. For the millionth time, no church will be forced to recognize same sex marriages. In fact, under current marriage laws the Catholic Church has, and will continue, to deny marriages to even opposite-sex couples that they believe do not meet the criteria for a Catholic sanctified ceremony. For those of you who think marriage is a religious institution, here is my suggestion. Skip the marriage license. Just have a ceremony at your church. Now ask your minister what legal benefits you just gained.
Second, you are worried about what schools (probably won’t) teach? The immorality of same sex marriage? About half of heterosexual marriages end in divorce and 40% of children are born out of wedlock. Yet Christians feel the biggest threat to marriage is two people of the same sex wanting to commit to each other legally and financially? No, that’s not quite it. We see this in point number three.
Third, it’s a sexual partnership that is non-marital and immoral. Why is it non-marital? Because, as we have just read, marriage is about the physical act of male-female intercourse. When we take away the bloated sugar coated language of this declaration, we can see their real concern.
They don’t like what gay people do in bed.
And because they don’t like it, they state, as if they have true control, that no one has a civil right to a non-marital relationship being recognized as marriage. This logic is more twisted than a pretzel. Civil law regarding marriage has no requirement for procreation, nor does it have a requirement for sexual intercourse. I checked my marriage license. Not there.
Let’s look at something so traditional I bet many of us know this by heart. The traditional marriage vows, said in many a church.
I, (name), take you (name), to be my (wife/husband), to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.
This vow looks suspiciously similar to love, romance and other adult satisfactions to me. If religion insists that marriage is about the biological act that can lead to procreation, why isn’t it mandatory for heterosexuals getting married in a Christian church to include a vow to have sexual intercourse? Now I’m sure we wouldn’t want to use such a descriptive term in front of our families and children. What did you call it? Fulfilling together the behavioral conditions of procreation?
I, (name), take you (name), to be my (wife/husband), to have and to hold from this day forward, to fulfill together the behavioral conditions of procreation, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.
What did we learn? Without male-female sexual intercourse, it is not marriage. And the threat to marriage? An emotional, romantic relationship.
In other words, love threatens marriage.
geekgirl: Jude is a straight woman, a mom and has been married for 32 years to the same wonderful man. She believes in Buddhism and attends the United Church of Christ. She is a molecular biologist, her best friend is a lesbian, and she believes that every human deserves equal rights, respect and a life free from hate, fear and discrimination. The only thing she hates is pickles. Her science blog can be found at LGBT Latest Science.