One of the most trying issues of our time is that of Homosexuality and Marriage and the Family. Who decides what is what? What rationale is justified in regulating these various facets of society? And ultimately, how should a Christian feel about such things?
Let's talk about a few of the talking points in this debate.
Marriage is an institution that has persisted in one form or another for millennia. That fact is not in question by anybody. What is in question...is how that institution has progressed through the years. Is marriage truly and only between a man and a woman. Well most conservative-minded folks believe yes. Why? Most of the time the answer stems from a response to the degree of "Because God/Nature/whatever created us that way.
Fallacy: Marriage has been between a man and a woman for over 6,000 years.
Fact: Marriage has been many things to many cultures over the last 6,000 years. Even Judeo-Christian traditions going back that far question this viewpoint. Marriage has been used to join households increasing the available resources usable to each, polygamy has been practiced for just as long, meaning that it was not only between man and woman, but man and women as well. Marriage has been used in political alliances, such as the marriage of Louis XIV, King of France to Queen Maria Theresa of Spain for the purposes of securing peace between the two warring nations.
Fact: Native American cultures throughout North American celebrated unions of two men and women together. They are called "Two-Spirits" people. The term also has been studied by Anthropologists which led them to conclude that perhaps some Native American communities had up to four genders. The unions of these individuals were widely celebrated among these tribes and likely predate 6,000 years as asserted by anti-equal marriage advocates.
Fact: Same sex unions were celebrated in Rome, Greece, and in many parts of Mesopotamia until the Roman Catholic Church squashed such expressions and unions in the 300s A.C.E.
Conclusion: Marriage traditions vary per civilization, culture, and religion. To assert it's that hetero-marriage is the only valid marriage is wrong and academically dishonest. It's also ethnocentric to believe that one cultural tradition is superior to another on the merits that it's your tradition.
What constitutes family in our culture has often been motivated by the view of marriage. Marriage between a man and woman, who then produce children is the idyllic marriage. This viewpoint has been perpetuated by the political right who believe it is their sacred duty to protect what, in their eyes, is viewed as "God's Plan" for society.
Concession: I will concede that children should always have two parents. It is the most ideal circumstance for a child. It provides a safe environment and the security of two adults in the household to attend to the every day tasks of the home and to provide varying types of nurturing and rearing to the children in the household.
Fallacy: The the ideal home is one with One Mother and One Father.
Fact: No scientific evidence of any kind has concluded that a home with One Father and One Mother is the most ideal one. The latest study done by Boston University in 2013 which examined gay-parent households concluded that those households function JUST as well as hetero-households. Other studies attempting to assert that hetero-only households are the best households have been soundly rejected by various academic associations across the country.
Fact: The ideal family image that has been part of our society since the 50s has long been perpetuated by government, business, and religious organizations. The growth of the suburbs created this image of mom, dad, children, a dog, two cars, and white picket fence. This image of the family was enshrined as the "American Family"...or as it's often referred to as The Nuclear Family. By no means though is this family structure exclusive in Christianity or any other religion. It is not upheld as the perfect "godly" family by any ounce of scripture.
Homosexuality as a societal structure has only been out int he main stream in US Culture for a short time by comparison. Europe, Japan, Canada and Mexico have all embraced LGBT persons as fully functional members of their societies and go to great lengths to protect their legal rights.
Fallacy: Homosexuals are not natural in their impulses or feelings.
Fact: Actually, that's not true. Homosexuality CAN be observed in nature to an alarmingly huge degree. If homosexuality is not natural, then why do we observe it in over 3000 species on Earth?
Fact: Physiological and unique physically observable psychological differences have been seen in the human brain which differentiates homosexual from heterosexual, such as certain neuron configurations as observed in a study conducted by a Dr. Simon Levay discovered differences between heterosexual neurological configurations and homosexual configurations (Sex and the Brain, Discover Magazine, March 1994).
Fact: Sexual orientation develops during pregnancy. According to a study published by the Best Practice and Research Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism in Sept 2007, the process of the selection of gender identity (that is, the sex a person thinks he or she is psychologically) is developed in the womb concurrently but independently of the physical sex characteristics, such as the penis and testes or the vagina and the ovaries. This occurs when physical characteristics do not align with the psychological characteristics.
Fact: Geneticists such as Simon Levay and several others who do research into genetic disposition of gay men and lesbian women found genetic markers and genes which contribute to the disposition of one's attractions to another of the same sex or both sexes.
In conclusion, marriage and family are subjects to be decided by culture ultimately. It is not for religion or law or anything else to decide what is socially acceptable or not. It is for society to decide that. Our laws prevent harm from befalling people as a result of culture. They protect the minority from the majority and the rights therein. Whether you believe homosexuality is "morally" right or not only affects one person: you. If you think it's wrong, then you're entitled to your opinion. But when your opinion causes harm to others by violating their legal rights...then your opinion has moved into public policy matters. And from here-on, LGBT citizens are going to fight for what is legally theirs by right of virtue, humanity, and law. If you don't like it...that's kinda too bad. Let's move on from this debate, accept each other as equals, and treat each other as though we are all of equal value and worth.