Isn’t it wrong to keep homosexuals from participating in marriage?
Isn’t telling certain people they are unable to be married an infringement on our rights?
Yes. All those things are wrong. Marriage should not be legally prohibited for any adults wanting to be married. Marriage should be open to all adults who desire it. People should not be denied the right to marry.
However, this is not the issue of the current debate about same-sex marriage. The current controversy is not about barring certain people from marriage, but it is about redefining what marriage is. Amy Hall hits the nail directly on the head:
There is no class of people being told they’re not eligible for marriage. In fact, the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage isn’t about prohibiting something on the basis of bad conduct or the status of a group, it’s about the definition of marriage.
If marriage is a particular thing, then everyone has a right to take part in that institution as it stands, regardless of their personal characteristics. But to be part of the institution, they must be part of the institution. They don’t have a right to change that institution into something different simply because they don’t want to be part of it the way it is.
In bringing the point home, Amy gives an extraordinarily helpful illustration.
Imagine a public park builds a tennis court so that people can come to play tennis. Nobody should be denied the right to play tennis games there. Period. It’s a public park, open to all. One day, a group of basketball players comes to the park, wanting to play a game, but they find they can’t play basketball on a tennis court. They immediately go to City Hall to complain: “Everyone has the right to competitive exercise with a ball on that court! We’re being denied our rights based on our status as basketball players!” Can you see the problem? The fact that they don’t want to play tennis doesn’t give them the right to demand that the government build a different court at the park. Their right isn’t to “competitive exercise with a ball” (tennis shares that in common with basketball, but it can’t be reduced to that), their right is to play tennis on that court, just like everybody else.
This idea is clearly illustrated and articulated in this Q&A from Ryan T. Anderson at a recent lecture he gave titled, “What is Marriage?”
As we, both Christian or non-Christians, gay or straight, continue to have dialogues concerning this very important issue, let’s make sure we know exactly what is being argued and what isn’t. The issue is not about who can get married, but it is about what marriage is.
I encourage you to read Amy’s entire post here.