Perhaps the most hotly-debated issue in our society.. no .. in most of the world’s well-organized societies today is the legality of same-sex marriages and the added complexities those marriages entail, i.e. insurance benefits and adoption options. With that being said, I want to clarify or correct the apparent and mainstream cultural thought (at least the one that is published by liberals): opposing same-sex marriage makes one a homophobic. This could not be farther from the truth.
For starters, a clarification of terms may be required. According to dictionary.com, Homophobia is defined as follows: unreasoning fear or antipathy towards homosexuals and homosexuality. An unreasoning fear is a concern/anxiety which is thoughtless and/or utterly illogical (see definitions for unreasoning and fear).
With those terms in mind, I posit that we, who have properly working mental faculties and have given rational consideration to same-sex marriages and have concluded that such relationships are not ones that we will endorse, are not homophobes. Allow me to say there are two kinds of people who oppose homosexuality and homosexual marriages: (1) those whom love and respect homosexuals, as human beings, but disagree with such relationships [whether out of religious convictions, physiological observations, or a combination of both]; and (2) those who are violently opposed to homosexuals and who express hatred and harmful intent to them. (Granted there are people who are perhaps homophobic but to suggest that everyone who opposes homosexuality and the changing of the traditional definition of marriage is homophobic is a sweeping generalization, and one that is just as intolerant of those of the conservative side of the issue as the conservatives are proclaimed to be by liberals [example of duplicity on the part of liberals].)
There are interest groups, Facebook groups and many individuals who campaign to end homophobia. However, for those of us who clearly have reasoned on this issue, that is not necessary because there is no fear of homosexuals. I respectfully oppose such relationships all the while having no irrational anxiety towards homosexuals. In fact, my mother went to school with a gay man, one whom I have spoken with him many times growing up, ate family dinner with him present, am very courteous to and respectful when he comes to visit my parents for birthday parties and social events. I have nothing but love and respect for the man despite our disagreement on his preferred sexual orientation. The assertion that those who oppose something has an irrational fear of that thing is absurd. Another example: I oppose drugs, addiction and the legalization of them. I can do so, or at least should be able to do so without being called irrational and a bunch of derogatory terms. Also, my opposition to drugs like marijuana, heroin, cocaine, etc. does not imply that I do not respect the people who are drug-dependent or that I love them any less. The same goes for homosexuality and same-sex marriage. I do not hate nor am I afraid or homosexuals; I love them, as people, but do not recognize those relationships to be a good model for human relationships.
Rational Reasons For Opposing Homosexuality and Same-Sex Marriage
1. Human flourishing. This aspect can be rooted in religious conviction, physiological observation, as well as both simultaneously. Both theists and atheists would point this aspect out. Human flourishing is dependent upon the act of procreation. Simple analysis of sexual organs show the compatibility between male and female. In other words, they have corresponding parts that like that of a puzzle. I don’t believe I need to be too explicit about what I mean. I read somewhere that non-religious people in Japan think homosexual relationships aren’t proper simply because one can observe from science the compatibility and purpose of sexual organs.
2. Religious Conviction: It’s Sin. In many religions and many sacred texts, homosexuality is seen as wrong or immoral. Being a Christian and therefore believing the Bible is the Word of God, I will point out a few places where homosexuality is deemed to be sin: Gen. 19:1-3; Lev. 18:22. 20:13; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9; Jude 7. Please note: I do not believe homosexuality to be a greater sin than lying or stealing or murder (whether physically or in the heart: hating others). Sin is sin. We are all sinners (Romans 3:23). We all have our own struggles and that is why we need grace. Christ offers that grace; He offers forgiveness, whether it be any kind of sexual immorality (note that homosexuality isn’t the only kind of sexual immorality. Adultery, fornication between unmarried heterosexual couples are sin, as well) or the smallest of lies. Christ forgives sin but one must repent (turn from that sin) and trust in Christ and His death, burial and resurrection.
3. Complimentary Mental and Emotional Capacities. (forgive me if this section seems truncated; I’m no expert in psychological study). Men and women are wired differently. (Here is some information on a recent brain-scan study;). Other similar studies and information can be found here and here. In general, men and women compliment each other. Gender roles are not something that should discarded as “old-fashioned” or irrelevant for 2014 because whether it be the 1500’s or 2014, men and women have different emotional and mental capacities. For example: typically, men find satisfaction in being the provider and protector of the home whereas women need that sort of security as she cares for the house and the children. I realize many women/wives/mothers work but this is still no less true, emotionally and mentally, that women seek and enjoy that kind of comfort and security. All of this is not to say that one sex is better than another but to say that they are wired differently and compliment one another. Toughness contrasted with tenderness, strength and weakness, aggressiveness and passivity. These differences between men and women could serve as a rational justification for a man-woman partnership versus a homosexual partnership.
It is argumentum ad populum and appealing to emotion to say that all those who do not accept what is being accepted as “right” by the majority are homophobic or bigots or discriminatory. There is nothing discriminatory or hateful about saying cocaine addiction is harmful/unhealthy/hindrance to human flourishing/etc, and therefore rejected, all the while showing love and charity in helping the addict. The same applies for those of us who do not regard homosexuality as acceptable. This does not always make one a homophobe, as I hope to have illustrated earlier, as there are good and thoughtful reasons for holding the definition of marriage and relationships we hold. Speaking as a Christian, we are to love everyone and that doesn’t mean we have to tolerate sin. The difficulty of homosexuality is that it is often a lifestyle (it is repeated over and over) whereas, stealing a pencil from your classmate is a single act (though it could become something more). Repentance is walking away from a sin and it is only by the grace of God that we can walk as we are called to walk in Christ. I fail; you fail. We will continue to fall into things that bring about guilt and shame, but we strive for more, for better despite temptations (which is another issue for another post- struggling with the temptation, in this case, of homosexual activity while not acting on those urges) and despite our failures.
I say all of that to say this: there is nothing homophobic about anyone who has good reasons or rationale for rejecting homosexual relationships. I know, at least for myself and from others who I have personally talked to, there is no hate involved, no irrational fear that homosexuals will rule the planet and the human race will be doomed forever, or some other extravagant scenario. We simply disagree with that model of human relationships for perhaps some of the reasons I mentioned above. And just because we disagree we and our views would prefer to be treated with respect, and avoid the name-calling, especially of the irrational and emotionally-driven claims that we are all homophobes.