Overview When it comes to the issue of legalizing gay marriage, we need to ask three fundamental questions. Why have governments incentivized and encouraged traditional marriage for over 2,000 years? Why would our country break this historical trend by de-incentivizing traditional marriage, and make a change that flies into the face of today’s scientific research? And, who (or what) is really behind the quest to legalize gay marriage?

Introduction: Sometimes the Wrong Questions are asked and Tragedy goes Undetected.

When my retired friend became ill, doctors asked him all sorts of questions, but the not the right ones. Since he was showing signs of confusion, they asked if there was a history of Alzheimer’s in his family. And they began to focus on this as a source of the problem. But when pain began to afflict his body, they treated him for fibromyalgia (a chronic condition that causes people to feel pain and fatigue and affects concentration). His health continued to deteriorate because the doctors were asking the wrong questions.

Finally, someone asked the correct questions. Were you in the mountains? “Yes.” Do you remember picking up a tick?  “Yes, I had to remove one.” Bingo! Right questions quickly led to the right diagnosis, Lyme disease. But because the right questions weren’t asked soon enough, his health will never be the same.

Before the end of June, the Supreme Court will be rendering a decision about the constitutionality of gay marriage. The issue is being pursued by four similar cases grouped together under the umbrella case of Obergefell v. Hodges.

Most Americans have probably heard the gay marriage issue presented as an equal rights question.

  • Why can’t homosexuals have the equal right to be married as heterosexuals?
  • By limiting the definition of marriage to be only between a man and a woman, aren’t we denying equal rights to gay couples?

These questions lead many Americans to side with those who want to legalize gay marriage. After all, especially here in America, who wants to be accused of denying someone their equal rights?

But framing the gay marriage issue as an equal rights question is asking the wrong question.

Picture a married man and woman (commonly referred to as a traditional marriage) whose marriage has been blessed with children they are nurturing in their home (commonly referred to as a nuclear family). The government gives certain tax benefits to the man and woman because they’re married. And because they are nurturing children in their home, the government extends additional tax benefits.

Now picture a man and woman living together, cohabitating, but they’re not married. Like many, they might claim that “marriage is only a piece of paper.” Are they being denied equal rights because they don’t get the same tax breaks as the married couple?

Now picture two single sisters in their seventies. In order to economize their incomes, they’ve living as roommates in the same house. Are they being denied equal rights because they don’t get the same tax breaks as the married couple?

Now picture a man and who sleeps with four women. And the man has fathered four children from those women. And they all live in the same house. Are they being denied equal rights because they don’t get the same tax breaks as the married couple?

By making these comparisons we’re led to ask why the government gives tax benefits to the married couple, including additional benefits for childrearing. It’s not a question about equal rights, and if equal rights are being denied to the cohabitating couple, the sisters living as roommates or the polygamous situation. No, the tax benefits for the married with children are incentives and encouragements to keep traditional marriage and nuclear families viable and strong, and to impel even more people to enter into traditional marriages that will develop into nuclear families. Why? Because traditional marriage and nuclear families are understood to be the building blocks of society and the foundation of a healthy nation.

Why Governments for Over Two Millennia Have Been Wise to Incentivize Traditional Marriage

The recent riots in the communities of Ferguson and Baltimore spotlight a correlation that political correctness normally suppresses and hides from the public view. The correlation is this: that the fewer traditional marriages and nuclear families in a community, the more likely that community will tend to experience societal ills.

A quick read about this correlation is found in an excellent summary produced by an editorial board member of the Wall Street Journal, who happens to be a black man (if this matters to you). It’s linked here. There is a host of research that demonstrates that society is being wise when it incentivizes and encourages traditional marriage and the nuclear family. Read for yourself the findings reported here and here and here and here and here and here  and here. And here are some pull quotes from some of these links.

  • An increase in the proportion of single-parent families in a neighborhood was associated with a significant increase in youth violence.
  • Previous research has investigated the outcomes associated with growing up in a single-family home. The negative effects of divorce and the experience of multiple living arrangement transitions during childhood have been well-documented… [The results] indicate that mean levels of delinquency were greatest among adolescents living in single-father families and lowest among adolescents living with two biological parents.
  • 90 percent of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes
  • 85 percent of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes
  • 80 percent of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes
  • 85 percent of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes
  • 72 percent of African-American children are born to unwed mothers
  • As political scientist James Q. Wilson said, if crime is to a significant degree caused by weak character, if weak character is more likely among children of unmarried mothers, if there are no fathers who will help raise their children, acquire jobs, and protect their neighborhoods, if boys become young men with no preparation for work, if school achievement is regarded as a sign of having sold out—if all these things are true, then the chances of reducing the crime rate among low income blacks anytime soon is slim.

If you clicked on the “here and here and here” links above you may be been surprised to find the last link takes you to Luke 2, the Bible’s beloved Christmas narrative. That’s not a mistake. Many people don’t know that when Caesar Augustus issued the decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world it was because he “had legislated incentives to help raise the birthrate in the Roman Empire, and he wanted to know if his government programs were working.” In other words, he was measuring if the government’s incentives were working, incentives that encouraged traditional marriage and nuclear families. Yes, pagan governments already two millennia ago gave tax breaks and wrote special laws to encourage young men to settle down, marry and raise families.  Check out my blog, The Logic Behind Childbirth, originally written back in 2009. You see, this is not brand new science!

Since the World Doesn’t Understand God’s Truth, Let’s Translate Truth Into the World’s Language

We Christians are those unique and comparatively few people who know that the Bible is God’s verbally inspired and inerrant word. Thus we know how God designed traditional marriage and the nuclear family (Matthew 19:4-12,  Ephesians 5:21-6:4). More importantly, because we know how Jesus died at the cross to pay for our sins and rose from the grave to grant us eternal life, we also know that the teachings and commandments found in scripture come from a Good God, a merciful and gracious God. His Word of Truth gives good teachings, good commandments, living words laden with the ripe fruit of blessings. Thus we know from God’s timeless truth that traditional marriage and the nuclear family are God’s gifts to this world, and they are foundational for a healthy community and a strong nation.

Even the pagan world has historically attained a knowledge that traditional marriage and the nuclear family are good for a healthy society. But here’s the situation that frequently causes us Christians to become frustrated.  While we Christians speak and understand the language of Biblical truth, this is a language that non-Christians and often, weak Christians, do not understand. It’s like us speaking English to someone who only speaks Russian.

We Christian will want to understand that non-Christians and weak Christians only speak the language of logic and human reason (which is weakened by the poison of sin, which is another discussion for another time). Therefore, non-Christians and weak Christians are prone to unknowingly rush past the timeless truths of God, ignoring them, not comprehending them. However, if we can use the world’s language of logic and reason to get the attention of the people of the world, and by getting their attention, we can get them to pause long enough to listen to God’s timeless truths… well then we’re following the model of Jesus. Because Jesus healed people, he drew large crowds. Many came to him not for spiritual help, but because it was logical that he who healed others could perhaps heal them. Many came to Jesus for all the wrong reasons, but when in his presence, Jesus shared his timeless truth because his ultimate goal was not to build a healthier society, but to use the language of building a healthier society in order to share spiritual truth through which the Holy Spirit would work faith and salvation.

We Christians know from scripture that traditional marriage and the nuclear family are good for society. So let’s translate this truth into the language of logic and reason so that we can speak to the world, and get their attention. This is why it is useful for us to be aware of the research that demonstrates that when traditional marriage and the nuclear family are undermined, neighborhoods and societies suffer. Or, stating it in the positive way, we can show the people of the world how marriage and the nuclear family is so good, it needs to be incentivized in every way.

Incentivizing Traditional Marriage and the Nuclear Family is Matter of National Security

As I explain in The Logic Behind Childbirth, already two millennia ago Caesar Augustus understood that he needed a sufficient birthrate to replace those who were killed in war and those who were naturally dying off in his country. This science has grown, obviously, from Caesar’s basic understanding of it in the first century. Today it’s much more precise.

Demographers… point out that the “replacement rate” of births required to keep a nation’s population stable is 2.1 (meaning the average number of children born to a woman during her lifetime). The average is for a European nation is 1.53… well below the 2.1 replacement.  And when the birth rate drops below 1.3 then the population of that country will be cut in half in 45 years. Translation? That nation is in a death-spiral. And a birth rate dropping below 1.3 means there are no longer enough able-bodied people to support the military and the economic infrastructure of that country.

If a nation’s birthrate is falling below the replacement rate of 2.1, then it’s a matter of national security. In our country, the replacement rate hit a high of 2.1 in 2007, largely due to the large influx of immigrants who tend to have families with more children. But if traditional marriage and the nuclear family continue to be devalued, and if the abortion rates continue to remain, our nation’s security is at risk.

Guess what. Our nation’s security is at risk! “As of [2011], a separate CDC analysis shows an American woman will give birth to an average of 1.88 children over her lifetime, also a record low” (Baby Bust: US births at record low).

Because we’re already experiencing a national crisis, a logical and reasonable response would be for our government to do even more to incentivize traditional marriage and the nuclear family. Right? Spain is experiencing a national crisis as its birth rate for citizens has dropped to 1.33, putting it into the so-called death spiral. No wonder that “in July 2007, Spain's socialist government launched a plan to give families 2,500 euros (3,000 dollars) for every new child in a bid to raise the flagging birth rate” (Spain’s Cash-for-Kids Plan…) Why would America want to follow in Spain’s path of self-destruction?

And I bet you didn’t know that same-sex marriage has been legal in Spain since July 2005? Do you see the correlation, my friends?

Legalizing Gay Marriage will De-Incentivize Traditional Marriage and Hasten America’s Crisis

The most historical, reasonable and logical way to keep our communities strong and our nation viable is to incentivize and encourage traditional marriage and the nuclear family. Since communities like Ferguson and Baltimore are obviously struggling, and America’s birth-rate is dangerously falling, the government would be wise to increase incentives for encouraging more people to build traditional marriages with nuclear families. Yet, the Supreme Court is being asked to de-incentivize traditional marriage and nuclear family by legalizing gay marriage? This is how to ask the right question with the people of the world, when the issue of legalizing gay marriage is being discussed.

By giving gay marriage the same “equal treatment” that’s given to traditional marriage, the incentives to encourage traditional marriage and the nuclear family are nullified, yes, they’re stripped away. The result is that traditional marriage and the nuclear family are denigrated-- which, by the way, is the expressed purpose of some gay marriage activists.

Changing marriage beyond recognition has long been a stated goal of the organization Beyond Marriage, which is a collection of several hundred gay-rights lawyers, law professors, and activists. They argue that same-sex marriage is merely the first step on the path to redefining the family itself. Ultimately, they want legal protection for a host of other relationships, including, as they delicately put it, “Queer couples who decide to jointly create and raise a child with another queer person or couple, in two households” and “committed, loving households in which there is more than one conjugal partner.” This group is not a collection of cranks: It includes professors from Georgetown, Harvard, Emory, Columbia, and Yale. The Beyond Marriage project has at least as much elite support today as the entire same-sex marriage movement had in 1990. (Bait and Switch of Gay Marriage)

Again, by asking why a gay couple should be not be granted the same right to marry that a man and woman have, is to ask the wrong question. Here’s the right question to ask: isn’t the promotion and encouragement of traditonal marriage and the nuclear family still important today as it has been for over two millennia? The answer clearly is yes!

It’s logical and reasonable; it’s historical; it’s validated by the social sciences to be good for our communities; and it’s even a matter of our national security—that marriage is a union between a man and woman.

The Myth that There’s No Difference between Gay Parenting and the Nuclear Family

If you’re convinced that we need traditional marriage to produce nuclear families because they form the  foundation of a healthy society, then you might be wondering if gay parenting can be just as effect as traditional marriage and the nuclear family. The concept that there’s no difference between the two has been purported in many studies. However, when Prof. Loren Marks reviewed these studies “he concluded that not one of the 59 studies… compares a large, random, representative sample of lesbian or gay parents and their children with a large, random, representative sample of married parents and their children. The available data, which are drawn primarily from small convenience samples, are insufficient to support a strong generalizable claim either way” (emphasis mine). New Family Structures Research and the “No Differences” Claim

The scientific method does not depend on “small convenience samples.”  The scientific method depends on “a large, random, representative sample” that is then peer reviewed. When research is produced by using the scientific method, the results are alarming, as noted in the following quotes.

American sociologist Paul Sullins concludes that children’s “Emotional problems [are] over twice as prevalent for children with same-sex parents than for children with opposite-sex parents”. The No-Difference Theory is Dead

When it comes to gay parenting, there are many objections, totally unrelated to religious dogma, to which ligbitists [i.e., gay marriage supporters] have no effective answer.  With the release of crucial social-science research by Paul Sullins, adding to earlier findings by Walter Schumm, Mark Regnerus, Loren Marks, and Douglas Allen, too many data from broad, randomized population samples undermine the passé canard that gay parenting produces “no differences” in children relative to intact biological families. Children of Gays (Cogs) in the Gay Marriage Machine

The quote immediately above mentions Mark Regnerus from the University of Texas at Austin, and his New Family Structures Study. At Key Findings of Mark Regnerus' New Family Structure Study, Focus on the Family summarizes the results discovered by the scientific method employed by Regnerus:

Compared with off-spring from married, intact mother/father homes, children raised in same-sex homes are markedly more likely to…

Experience poor educational attainment

Report overall lower levels of happiness, mental and physical health.

Be in counseling or mental health therapy (2xs)

Suffer from depression (by large margins)

Have recently thought of suicide (significantly)

As adults, more likely to be unfaithful in married or cohabiting relationships

Have a sexually transmitted infection (STI)

Be sexually molested (both inappropriate touching and forced sexual act)

As adults, currently be on public assistance or sometime in their childhood

Live in homes with lower income levels

Drink with intention of getting drunk

Have frequency of arrests

Regenerus supplies his own summary of his own research when he writes: “In short, if same-sex parents are able to raise children with no differences, despite the kin distinctions, it would mean that same-sex couples are able to do something that heterosexuals in step-parenting, adoptive and cohabiting contexts have themselves not been able to do – replicate the optimal childrearing environment of married, biological-parent homes.”

Do you hear what I hear?

  • Regenerus is saying that the optimal childrearing environment is found in traditional marriage and the nuclear family.
  • Then as Regenerus groups together step-parenting, adoptive parents and cohabiting parents, his research shows that this collective group does not achieve the same optimal childrearing environment as traditional marriage and the nuclear family.
  • Finally, Regenerus points out that gay parenting cannot replicate the same childrearing environment as that collective group (of step-parents, adoptive parents and cohabiting parents).

John Londregan at the Witherspoon Institute summarizes a review their Institute conducted of the studies cited above, and several similar ones. Of these in-depth studies he writes that they “follow a trajectory, from the concerns raised by Loren Marks about small convenience samples, to the large survey conducted by Mark Regnerus, to the gigantic census samples analyzed by Douglas Allen, Catherine Pakaluk, and Joseph Price. A picture emerges: in a cross-section of children raised by parents in same-sex relationships, life outcomes tend to resemble those of children raised by single and divorced parents.” Same-Sex Parenting: Upacking the Social Science

What if tomorrow the federal government began to encourage more young ladies to become pregnant out of wedlock and become single moms? Or what if the government gave tax breaks to encourage even more divorces, and at the same time, taxed married couples so much as to make traditional marriage a financial hardship? Wouldn’t we see these policies as an evil ploy to destroy traditional marriage and the nuclear family? Wouldn’t we see these policies as a betrayal to our country? Wouldn’t we see these policies as a detriment to a healthy society, and as an enabling of the social ills besetting Ferguson and Baltimore?

Yet such treason and treachery against God and country are what will be happening if gay marriage is made legal. Why would the government do anything to erode encouragement and incentivizing of traditional marriage and the nuclear family? But this is what will happen if gay marriage is legalized.

So Why Would Government De-Incentivize Traditional Marriage and the Nuclear Family

As the Apostle Paul begins his book to the Romans, he writes, “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools…” (Romans 1:21-22). Paul echoes what the prophets wrote many years earlier, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 14:12).

America’s real problem is not the Supreme Court making a bad, politically correct decision that overrides history and logic. Nor is our real problem the gay activists who want to redefine marriage. “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12) It’s Satan and his spiritual forces that are stealthily scheming to lead people to ask the wrong questions. Legalizing gay marriage will best serve the devil’s goal of destroying marriage, family, children and ultimately our country… all in the effort to prevent the saving faith of Christ from spreading, and to choke off the saving faith in those who currently have it.

So is it over for the church if the Supreme Court legalizes gay marriage? No. At worst, our nation will be plunged into a society similar to what the first century Christians lived in. You can read about their experiences in the book of Acts. Many of our precious teachings arise out of the Spirit’s counseling penned in letters to the Christians living in that era, including the book of Revelation. And in spite how Satan seems to control this world, Revelation keeps revealing the comforting reality that Christ, the Lamb of God, sits victoriously as he reigns from heaven (Revelation 5:6-14).

In spite of overwhelming forces standing against the first century church, God’s truth prevailed. And God’s truth will continue to prevail among us, and from us it will continue to prevail as it spreads to others.

So actually, our God who “in all things works for the good of those who love him” (Romans 8:28) is using this issue of gay marriage to open doors, through which we may approach those who need to know about salvation in Christ Jesus.

By using the language of logic and reason, we can help people see the problems associated with legalized gay marriage. We can use these problems to begin to teach the language of God’s timeless truth by demonstrating how all problems stem from The Big Problem of Sin. And once that has been established, we can introduce them to The Big Solution: Jesus, the Savior of sinners. And from Jesus, we can point to his good teachings and commandments that help bring his divine solutions to our earthly problems. Thus what he taught us to pray, he will we be answering through us: “thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Related Topics

June 14, 2015 Sermon, “Standing Against the Devil’s Schemes” in video format or audio format

Viewpoints: “Traditional Marriage: Biblical and Logical