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Turning Marriage into a Farce



The above cartoon by Erik Devericks appeared in the Seattle Weekly on Wednesday January 25, 2012 (read full article). He may have meant to mock me but instead profoundly captured the cultural moment. I am the quintessential past; old, bald, gray, suit and tie. The gay couple is the quintessential present; a shirtless tuxedo and shorts with pink tennis shoes. Don't overlook the proud rainbow button, exaggerated pucker, and outlandish hair of face and head.


The cultural moment is the turning of marriage into a farce. 


Calling two homosexuals living together a "marriage" is a joke that mocks what marriage actually is. "Gay Marriage" is actually anti-marriage, reducing it to a farce.


I know the tired retort of homosexuals. They say homosexuals are not destroying marriage. Heterosexuals already did that with their co-habitation, adultery, and high divorce rate. There is some truth to that. 


In 2010, there were 2,096,000 marriages in the United States and 872,000 divorces and annulments.  [1] The critics are not too good at math because they always say 50% of all marriages end in divorce. Using the 2010 numbers, it would actually be 41.7%. But even that is not accurate. There are about 60,200,000 marriages in the United States. That means about 1.4% of married couples get divorced each year with the bulk of those being newer married couples.


Most people don't think divorce is a great thing, especially those who have gone through it. 


But is gay marriage the answer to this problem?


Homosexual relationships are of vastly shorter duration. Numerous studies of male homosexual relationships find them measured in months rather than years. A Netherlands study published in AIDS found the "duration of steady partnerships" was 1.5 years. In Male and Female Homosexuality, Saghir and Robins found the average male live-in relationship lasts between two and three years. Of course, the gays are emphasizing their "stories" in the media and to legislators. In those cases, we always see highly atypical couples who also have kids. From a statistical point of view, these "stories" really are stories. They simply are as exaggerated as the pucker in Devericks' cartoon.


Of course, the same-sex marriage bill, SB 6239, currently proceeding through the Washington Legislature speaks of "committed, and exclusive relationships with another person to whom they are not legally married." [2] When we think of marriage, we think of the 85% of married women who remain true to their vows of fidelity and the 75% of married men who remain true to their vows for all their lifetime. 


When our legislators talk about "committed and exclusive" we relate to that because that is what our marriages are like. It also fits their narrative of gay marriage as equal. Their stories have to show the atypical gay couples because it just wouldn't be so equal if they told the truth. In the Journal of Sex Research study of the sexual practices of older homosexual men, Paul Van de Ven et al. found that only 2.7% of homosexuals had only one sexual partner in their lifetime. That isn't really equal to marriage.


There is an obvious difference between homosexual couples and married couples. 


Biology is both substantial and consequential. The current Domestic Partnership law passed in Washington State in 2009 grants homosexual couples every right that married couples have under state law. Voters in this state recognized there are enough similarities of love and relationship that they granted the same rights. However, do we have enough sense to know that similar does not mean same? 


Domestic Partnership recognizes similarity without erasing the actual differences. 


Surely we have enough intellectual capacity to see similarities as well as differences. 

Homosexual couples and married couples are not equal when it comes to biology, fidelity, or commitment to the relationship. The two kinds of couples are both separate and not equal. We might both show up in a tuxedo but it doesn't mean we are the same.


The other piece that Devericks captured is the essential farce of gay marriage. Gay marriage is not a step of human progress but a regression to marriage as a joke.


Marriage had fallen on hard times and had become a broken institution when Jesus arrived. Wedding ceremonies were facetious mockeries complete with singing of obscene songs. Devericks' cartoon captured it perfectly. Sexual immorality was the order of the day to the extent a chaste wife was a rarity according to the early second century historian Tacitus. Both men and women were equally promiscuous.

Public sex was as common as pornography is today.  


Restrooms were unisex. There was no his and hers. In the public baths, bathing was also mixed. If you appreciate privacy at certain times, you are enjoying a distinctly Christian idea.


Divorce was common in the ancient world. 


However, a woman could not divorce her adulterous husband. He could divorce her for adultery but she could not divorce him. It was not until 449 that Christianity did something which had never happened before in ancient history. They provided that a woman could divorce her husband on the grounds of adultery or sodomy.


If you are married, you have the expectation that your spouse will be faithful to you. 

In our weddings we even include the words, "and keep thee only unto her alone, so long as you both shall live." Even to this day, whether you are a Christian or not, you expect faithfulness to the marriage. For the reality of that hope, you can thank Christianity. 


There were few standards of fidelity being upheld when Jesus began to preach. Standards of fidelity and faithfulness were Christian contributions to the Roman world. Ironically, homosexuality was more common in ancient times and the standards of morality back then were more in line with homosexual standards of today. 


Even in that sexually promiscuous era, they never confused homosexual acts with marriage.


We take these things for granted today and most would still agree to the essential morality of such ideas. Our inability to distinguish "similar" and "same" will undermine our whole system


The legislature can't even muster the intellectual strength to distinguish between equality under the law and equality in the nature of the relationship. 


If the legislature persists, I hope the voters of Washington State will be able to bring them back to reality.


Dr. Joseph B. Fuiten is the senior pastor of Cedar Park Church in Bothell, Washington, and he is the former president of Washington Evangelicals for Responsible Government and the Positive Christian Agenda.