Thursday, May 10, 2012

Don't Call it Marriage

As the US presidential elections approaches, the fight is increasingly between the incumbent Democrat, Barack Obama, and the Republican representative, Mitt Romney. Both candidates have stirred up controversies of various sorts, of which the most talked-about is their statements on faith matters. Romney's status as a Mormon has brought about arguments for and against the candidacy. Evangelicals from different camps have shared varying opinions about whether Romney is able to represent their religious interests effectively. Now, Obama has jumped into the pot of controversy. This time it is same-sex marriage. Making a statement after the North Carolina ban on same-sex marriage, Obama plays into the sentiments of the same-sex marriage proponents, and very likely to win the votes of this influential group of people, reportedly about 50% of the electoral vote. I am not sure about the numbers, but to me, it is clear that Obama's open support for same-sex marriage is more about votes and less about religious convictions.

I know of friends who are staunchly behind Obama's stand. They are mindful of the ways the LGBT sector have been marginalized through discriminative actions. They are also speaking out to uphold their understanding of democracy where everyone has the right to choose and to adopt whatever lifestyle choices made. In the words of the former Canadian Prime Minister, they will chime with the same melody, that the state is not to pry into matters of the bedroom.
The state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation.” (Pierre Elliott Trudeau)
Simply put, political decisions are to be de-linked from morality issues. After all, policies of the state affect everyone, while morality matters are more subjective.

I also know of friends who find Obama's stance unbelievable, and lament at the downward spiral of a once great American state that uphold good family values based on basic Christian beliefs. At the crux of the matter is the word "marriage." I believe that the LGBT group is mainly asking for equal rights to be extended to them. It is about the privileges of marriage that they are seeking. It is also about allowing them to choose whatever sexual orientation they want.

How then do we solve the impasse? I believe that as long as the word marriage is wrangled out of its traditional understanding, there will always be controversies. If that is the case, why not keep the marriage word reserved as between a man and a woman? For same-sex couples, choose another word altogether, and then get the state to sanction the word for them. 

I am not here to attack anybody's right to do this or to do that, to argue for or against same-sex matters. I am here to state again marriage (as a word) is between a man and a woman. Those who are same-sex, please do not use the word marriage. Call it legal union, shared relationship, or whatever, so that you can get whatever rights/benefits you want. The reason why same-sex couples are using the word marriage to describe same-sex union is simply because there is no other word so far for them to obtain similar benefits. Why don't we all agree to reserve the legal union between a man and a woman as marriage, while those who are same-sex, go choose to use another word altogether? Once the semantics are dealt with, we can all learn to live and let live without having to dig up this issue every time some leader make an opinion. Regardless of what opinion, it always tend to be divisive.

Here is a list of links that affirms the marriage as between a man and a woman. Credit to Eric Teetsel, executive director of the Manhattan Declaration.

1) What is Marriage?
by Sherif Girgis, Robert George, and Ryan T. Anderson

2) Why I'm Optimistic About Natural Marriage
by Andrew Walker

3) Why Is Marriage Important? (video)
by John Piper

4) Who Needs Marriage?
by Chuck Colson

5) Marriage in Society: The Generation Clash (pps. 47-57)
by Matthew Lee Anderson

6) What Would Bonhoeffer Do?
by Eric Metaxas

7) Dennis Prager Debates Perez Hilton on Same-Sex Marriage (Warning: YouTube contains objectionable content)

8) Religion, Reason, and Same-Sex Marriage
by Matthew J. Franck

9) A Marriage in Full
by Gary A. Anderson

10) On Marriage and the Moral Limits of Human Sexuality
by Metropolitan Jonah

Eric Teetsel
Executive Director, Manhattan Declaration

Again, keep marriage clear as legally between a man and a woman. For same sex unions, choose another word altogether. Otherwise, this issue will continue to divide families, societies, and even nations.


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