Gay Marriage: Why I speak out

 

A rare piece from the New York TimesThe Marriage Ideal, by Ross Douthat,  was uncharacteristically reasonable and balanced on the subject of gay marriage. While I don’t agree with all of Douthat’s analysis, I appreciated his exposure of “postmodern polygamy” and his reasoned suggestion that “lifelong heterosexual monogamy at its best can offer something distinctive and remarkable — a microcosm of civilization, and an organic connection between human generations—that makes it worthy of distinctive recognition and support.” Finally, he acknowledges, “I don’t think that a society that declares gay marriage a fundamental right will be capable of even entertaining this idea.”

This is an honest opinion that unfortunately will be labeled by some as hateful and homophobic. According to the radical agenda of the gay community, people are not free to have opinions that differ from full endorsement and even celebration of gay marriage. Do you see a problem with this?

On a more personal note, I have not enjoyed being a voice of opposition to gay marriage. I have only written and spoken in a reasonable and compassionate manner, and yet I’ve been wrongfully labeled as hateful and homophobic. I am neither. I am also not interested in winning arguments —although I realize that such dialogue must occur in a democratic process that seeks the moral vision for a nation.

My greater concern is based on the fact that I believe that marriage of the heterosexual, monogamous type is best for human flourishing —even if such marriages have fallen on hard times. I work tirelessly to promote good marriages through extensive premarital and marital counseling. I have also counseled those struggling with homosexual orientation.

I believe that humans were created for heterosexual not homosexual unions. Gratefully, I am free to hold this belief and to talk and write about it despite the hateful anger directed against me for having such beliefs. I also know that the statistical data clearly reveals the destructive nature of homosexual relationships. In a study from 2004, “the dissolution rate of homosexual couples was more than three times that of heterosexual married couples, and the dissolution rate of lesbian couples was more than four-fold that of heterosexual married couples” (JMF). According to the National Institute of Justice: “Same-sex cohabitants reported significantly more intimate partner violence than did opposite-sex cohabitants–39% of lesbian cohabitants reported being raped, physically assaulted, and/or stalked by a cohabitating partner at some time in their lifetimes, compared to 21% of heterosexual women. Among men, the comparable figures are 23.1% and 7.4%”  (July, 2000).

These facts are largely hidden from public view when gay marriage is debated. But those who live in the gay community know full well the painful truth of these statistics. And this goes to the heart of my pastoral concern about the gay marriage debate. Opposing gay marriage is not about hating people who desperately want to love. This is a manipulative diversion. It’s about helping people be free from lifestyles that are harmful. Sadly, it must be acknowledged that many in the homosexual lifestyle came from horrible heterosexual homes where hate not love was dominate. I grieve to see all of this but must choose to look beyond the masks that cover the pain. This is my duty as a human and even more so as a pastor.

Steve Cornell

26 comments on “Gay Marriage: Why I speak out

  1. DM says:

    Thank you for being faithful both to the Scriptures and the God of the Bible. Speaking the Truth in Love is a hard balance to keep. I hear both.

  2. J Evans says:

    Sadly, your words can be broken down into two telling sentences.

    1. “I have only written and spoken in a reasonable and compassionate manner, and yet I’ve been wrongfully labeled as hateful and homophobic.”

    2. “It’s about helping people be free from lifestyles that are harmful.”

    This is NOT compassionate. You do not know me. You have no idea where I came from, and where other gay people came from. You should know how wonderful and loving my parents are. And yet, I’m gay. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH ME. And you don’t get to tell me that there is something wrong with me because the God you choose tells you so. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH ME. Your statistics are made up.

    I do not say that you are not allowed to hold these opinions. You can believe that all you want. HOWEVER, when my government recognizes that I (a minority) am being bullied by a majority whose decisions are based in religion, and preventing me from equality, I need to be protected from people like you. You can still believe what you want, but you cannot put it into law.

    One more time – I AM GAY. Furthermore, I hold a PhD from a top flight university and I am a teacher. Do you think I should be fired because I am gay and I work with our nation’s youth? If you do, I think you see where your prejudices lie, and that it’s not just about marriage, it’s about wanting all of “the gays” to be eradicated. Do you want to turn people on to God? Stop coming off as so judgmental in areas that make no difference to anyone. If you knew me, I bet you’d like me. I don’t need to be “fixed,” and I certainly can’t “pray the gay away.” It doesn’t work. But you wouldn’t know that since you’re not gay; I’m supposing.

    Sure, a lot of gay people are bad, i.e. the point of your post here. But guess what, so are a lot of straight, Christian people. The only difference is, the bad straight Christian people can repent, and magically, in your church’s eyes, everything is fine. You kill someone? Awesome. Just repent and you’re good. HOWEVER. I will not repent for being gay, because I’m not sorry for it. It took me a long time growing up in the church with people saying in sermons that I was a “sick, disgusting person.” The whole time, I’m thinking, “I am? I don’t think I am.” And there’s our problem. If you think God makes everyone, then remember, he made me, and he made me awesome, and I’m not sorry.

    • I would not even think for a moment that you should be fired for choosing a legally permitted lifestyle. And, although it’s your choice (and I respect this in a free nation), I do not believe that you were meant to be in a homosexual lifestyle. As you might imagine, I do not accept the comparison between unchangeable matters of nature (like race and gender) and the kinds of sexual practices people choose. I see this as a false and manipulative comparison. Many people have left the homosexual lifestyle to live in heterosexual relationships. But again, you are free under the laws of this and other nations to live as you have chosen. You should not be hated or treated as if you have a psychological disorder (like those who project homophobia on me). Existing laws are adequate to protect you from this kind of wrongful treatment. We do not need special laws for people who choose to live a gay lifestyle. And, be sure of this, I would always treat you with respect.

    • Sberg says:

      The Problem J Evans is that you are choosing to act on your homosexuality. You could choose to have a heterosexual relationship even though you are gay. You could force yourself to be with a person of the opposite sex even though this relationship would be unfair not only to you but also your partner. You could sentence yourself to live a lonely and unhappy life. It is unfair of you to bully these poor individuals who are not only speaking out against you but asking you to change who you are. You don’t have to remain a homosexual. Look to George Allan Rekers for guidance. You know, the founder of NARTH (gay rehabilitation). He was able to live a heterosexual lifestyle, that was until he got caught with a male escort from rentboy.com. I believe that is the definition of ironic. Some people don’t understand, and some choose to not understand. But I believe everyone should be knowledgeable of a topic before they open their mouths. Throwing out information like ” Many people have left the homosexual lifestyle to live in heterosexual relationships” is misleading at best. How many is many? How successful were these relationships? Was sexual orientation actually changed or did these people simply wish to conform? I think we know the answer. But just incase you’re a little dull here is what the APA has to say on the matter . ” “[Enduring change to an individual's sexual orientation is uncommon. The participants in this body of research continued to experience same-sex attractions following SOCE [sexual orientation change efforts] and did not report significant change to other-sex attractions that could be empirically validated, though some showed lessened physiological arousal to all sexual stimuli]” Thanks for playing.

      • We have all been sexual deviants—if only in our thoughts. We all need God’s grace and forgiveness. We are all continuously being tempted toward deviant sexual behavior.

        Although some people could be biologically inclined toward homosexual behavior and others had it forced on them against their wills, ultimately it becomes a behavior people choose or resist like all sexual conduct. I assume you could love someone of the same sex and care for them but that the relationship becomes homosexual when you engage in sex with that person. Let’s be very clear that we are talking about sexual behavior. I do not think it is best to speak of any type of sexual behavior outside of the context of human choosing. On this view, for someone tempted by homosexual desire, the answer is not: “You must become heterosexual.” The answer is the same for all sexual temptation: resist temptation and obey God.

        What advocates of gay marriage say is that our society has permitted and blessed heterosexual attraction but does not offer the same blessing to same-sex attraction. This is true. In fact, in the history of human culture (until recently), no society has approved consensual, long-term homosexual relationships. Most cultures have had laws forbidding homosexual behavior.

        Because humans are fallen beings, we have not done a good job fulfilling God’s design for marriage and sexuality. And, the Bible (being the candid and real book that it is), does not hide the ways that God’s servants distorted and disobeyed his original intention for marriage and sexuality. There are glaring examples even among so-called heros of the faith of sexual unfaithfulness, polygamy, and other violations of God’s design. It is notable that when Jesus was asked about divorce, he drove the discussion back to the way God originally established marriage. He said, “Haven’t you read, that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh?

        Most people recognize a need for some laws restraining certain types of sexual behavior (e.g. rape, incest, sexual contact between adults and children). We do not approve sexual behavior simply because a person desires it or feels it to be natural to himself. Although I believe that heterosexual behavior is the God-intended design for human beings, I do not believe that all heterosexual behavior is acceptable (adultery is one example of wrongful heterosexual conduct). If someone asks me if I chose my heterosexuality, I am not sure what answering such a question will accomplish. I think the question is designed to trace the origins of sexual orientation. But even if I was born genetically preconditioned to be sexually attracted to women, it doesn’t mean that this attraction is always right. It might be but it might also be wrong.

        Answering source questions will not necessarily lead to moral assessments. Morality has to do with right and wrong. Source questions are also more complex than many admit. Sources can include genetic, cultural, experiential and social contributors. But sources cannot force me to behave in a certain way. They can exercise strong influence but I must exercise my will in relation to the influences. Human dignity demands this position. This means, among other things, that I must look elsewhere for deciding matters of right and wrong.

        If an adulterous woman complains that her adultery (i.e. her wrongful heterosexual behavior) was because of her distant and uncaring husband, we might be sympathetic toward her situation but we cannot endorse her behavior (at least, I cannot).

        I know the comparison is resented but for the sake of argument, if a pedophile feels driven to his behavior from what he identifies as a natural urge that must be genetic in origin, or if he argues for the “wonderful nurturing relationship” with the children he sexually molests, we cannot approve his behavior on either account. It is to be condemned. The simple and reasonable fact is that choices must be made about sexual conduct and determinations must be reached about right and wrong.

        Advocates for gay marriage often invoke religious values to defend their viewpoint. “God made me this way, how can you deny what God has made?” for example.

        But it is no small matter that they are making claims about sexuality that are at odds with the historic, traditional teachings of every major faith tradition in the entire world. That doesn’t necessarily make them wrong, but it ought to make every sensible person pause. Opposition to gay marriage does not come from what one called “a thin extreme of fundamentalist Christians.”

        Further, for most of our history, our government has endorsed the unique status and sacred nature of traditional marriage as a cornerstone of social stability. More recently, this stability has been weakened by, among other things, the weakening of divorce laws and we’ve experienced horrible social consequences with the demise of marriages.

        Another question one must answer is what affect legalizing gay marriage will have on the institution of marriage and what the value of family and the fabric of our society. Are children better off with a mom and a dad? Since people choosing a homosexual relationship cannot bear children from their union, what will this mean for children removed from their biological mother and father? These are issues that should be carefully weighed not lightly passed over in a demand for fulfillment of sexual impulses.

        And, because of the long held, deeply committed moral convictions of the majority of people in our nation against homosexual conduct, legalizing gay marriage with the equal rights and protections of heterosexual marriage would open a legal Pandora’s box—especially given the pervasive litigious impulse of Americans when they feel their rights are being trampled.

  3. James UK says:

    Oh dear! It seems “Wisdom for Life” has mistaken ridiculously outdated, inconsistent and nonsensical bronze age folklore/mythology/metaphor (i.e. the Bible) for wisdom, when it is simply wrong and mostly irrelevant. What’s worse you’ve interpreted this in the light of your own twisted prejudices, your discomfort with homosexuality, your offensive conflation of homosexuality with paedophilia etc. In the UK (a largely secular democracy where LGBT people are normally treated with respect, have legal rights to prevent discrimination, can form legally recognised partnerships and can serve openly in the Military without difficulties) we would call someone who spouts offensive drivel, misrepresents the truth and clearly has a limited capacity for rationality: a moron, and that is what you are! Unfortunately idiots like you bring the USA in to disrepute – the rest of us in progressive democracies look on with sadness as you discriminate against and persecute huge sections of your population in the name of religion, denying them basic rights, and enacting laws like DOMA and DADT which make your nation a human rights pariah and a laughing stock. Either get an education, get a life or get lost!

    • Once again condescending ridicule is offered in place of thoughtful analysis. Your name calling and labels do not advance informed discussion but betray your anger issues. Your haughty spirit (the UK is better that the US) really doesn’t tell the whole story. As to the offering about the UK being a place where people who choose to practice homosexual behavior being “normally treated with respect, have legal rights to prevent discrimination” the same is true in the US outside of legal endorsement of gay marriage. Existing laws are enough to protect all citizens from wrongful treatment, no need for special laws for people who have homosexual sex. Discrimination laws of the civil rights kind should be used for matters related to unchangeable realities of nature not the kind of sex people want to have. The silly talk about who is more progressive and educated is just a smokescreen to avoid informed debate.

      • James UK says:

        Ill informed as ever! The status of gay rights and more broadly civil rights in the US is poor compared to other western democracies (not just the UK) e.g. treatment of prisoners, use of the death penalty, race biases in conviction and sentencing, state sanctioned torture – waterboarding etc, inadequate access to healthcare etc shames a country that prides itself on being a beacon of freedom and democracy to the world. See what Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and other respected NGOs have to say about the appalling inequalities enshrined in your laws and institutions. Ironically many of these are unconstitutional, but as soon as people bring religion or misguided patriotism in the equation fairness and respect for everyone’s basic humanity goes out the window. Existing laws consistently fail to protect your citizens from the grossest forms of discrimination and ill treatment for example the Illinois university official ‘fired’ for announcing a lesbian wedding – that would be illegal in the UK where LGBT people have legal protection from discrimination in employment and in accessing services. see http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2010/11/12/chicago-university-official-fired-for-announcing-lesbian-wedding/
        So don’t bullshit me about the legal protections in the US. Beyond this, it’s your country that has an epidemic of gay teen suicides. Maybe you should consider why that is. The thinly disguised prejudice promoted by you and your ilk significantly contribute to the unhappiness, even deaths of those who don’t fit your exclusive and backward notions of normality and acceptability. You have blood on your hands, yet you profess to be guided by a loving God. I think not.
        I don’t have a haughty spirit, nor do I think the “UK is better than the US”, we have as much to learn form you as you do from us. It should hardly be surprising that pro-LGBT netizens from the UK comment on your blog when you go trolling on British gay news sites like pinknews.co.uk and post links to your bigoted ramblings. That is kind of odd given your obvious prejudices. Some might wonder whether you’re hanging out on gay sites suggests that ‘you doth protest too much!’
        There is no smokescreen in my comments, I’m happy to have an informed debate. However, I am informed by facts, not millennia old prejudices and superstitions of scripture.

  4. Sberg says:

    Well said James. It is unfortunate that people like this use religion as a weapon of hate instead of a source of love and compassion.

    • Again, take a different view and get accused of hate? Does any rational person see a problem with this? Does anyone see what it really exposes? I never suggest any mistreatment or disrespect to be aimed at those who choose to live a homosexual lifestyle. Where does “hate” come in?

  5. Wim Lammers says:

    You are asking where hate comes in. The fact that you repeatedly state that “I CHOSE my homosexual LIFESTYLE”, is full of hate.

    • Not if I believe that seeing it as a choice is the first step into freedom from bondage. God did not create you for a homosexual lifestyle.

      • Wim Lammers says:

        God created me as a homosexual and I am very lucky with my friend. I thank God for that.
        You sayd “God did not create you for a homosexual lifestyle.”
        An easy statement for you, an affront for me: you know I am l and will always be a homosexual. I understand now:
        YOUR loving God loves WRY JOKES in creating homosexual people and thereafter forbidding them to live.

  6. Wim Lammers says:

    @Steve Cornell. You compare the dissolution rate of homosexual couples with that of heterosexual MARRIED couples. If you want to be honest, you can onely compare the dissolution rate of homosexual couples with that of ALL (married + non-married) heterosexual couples. Unless you compare the dissolution rate of MARRIED heterosexual couples with that of MARRIED homosexual couples.
    Where can I find the publications (july 2000), you based your figures on.

  7. Wim Lammers says:

    You don’t know why God created me as a homosexual. My homosexuality is a gift from God. I didn’t choose anything.
    I knew, when I was 10 years of age that I was a homosexual. I met my great love when I was 20. Almost 50 years we love eachother. We support eachother and make the best of our life. What is wrong with our love ? My love for my sister and my family comes from the same source, my heart and with the same intentions : to do good.

    • There is nothing wrong with loving relationships between people of the same sex. It is when those people engage in sexual relations that there actions displease God. I understand that this is where we clearly differ. But it is sobering to know that no religion in history has condoned homosexual relationships as acceptable to God. Further, the Bible repeatedly warns against homosexual conduct as displeasing to God. Jesus made it clear that marriage as God intended is for male and female (Matthew 19).

  8. Wim Lammers says:

    Mr. Carnell, You mentioned in your statement two (?) publications. Normally quotations will be adressed at the bottom of an article. Can you please give the precise places where these publications can be found. So I can study these figures and relevant articles.

  9. Wim Lammers says:

    And by the way my parents were loving and caring eachother and their childeren. I and my friend and many other gay people I know, did not come from “horrible homes”.

  10. Wim Lammers says:

    What harm did I do by my love ? Whom did I harm by my love ?

    • I cannot make assessments of right and wrong based on personal experience or subjective measurements of harm done. Standards of right and wrong reach to higher places. If there is a God who created the world and the Bible is His inspired word, homosexual conduct is not the will of the Creator for his creatures. Now all of us violate God’s will in many ways. And, we will all give an accounting for what we have done with the knowledge we received. I do not exalt myself above you but know that I need God’s grace and mercy found in the forgiveness of my sins through Jesus Christ. God did not send His son to condemn the world but to save it. We bring condemnation on ourselves when we reject the salvation God made possible through Jesus Christ. I have received God’s salvation in Christ as His gift to an unworthy recipient (me). I now pursue a life that is pleasing to Him not to win His approval but because of His acceptance of me in Christ.

      • Wim Lammers says:

        You yourself write in your article that there are “lifestyles that are harmful”. Please can you explain the harm that is done by the lifestyle homosexuality.

  11. Wim Lammers says:

    The text of this (my) post should be completed as follows :
    My loving parents (who did not know about my sexuality until my 20th) guided me very well trough my youth.
    When you had been my guidance, I should have killed myself.

  12. Wim Lammers says:

    If these statistical data are correct, my friend and I are the very lucky ones and so are more homosexual couples. I knew from the beginning that my friend and my relation with him were very precious. If these statistical data are correct we are the very very lucky ones.

    Does the fact that so many (heterosexual) marriages do not succeed, demonstrate that marriage is not OK ? Of course not.
    Does the fact that according to your statistical data so many homosexual relations do not succeed, demonstrate that these relations are not OK ? Of course not.

    If these statistical data are correct, it shows the results of the severe oppression from society and especially from the christians towards homosexuals.

    You, christians want to destroy things that are beautiful.

  13. Wim Lammers says:

    In the last sentence I do not really ask for an explanation. The sentence I had in mind sounds better as follows: Please, can you tell me what serious harm the homosexual lifestile brings.

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