by ROWENA OREJANA
Having same-sex marriage enshrined in law can have catastrophic consequences for the family as an institution, as well as for religious freedom.
Leading American author and researcher on public policy on marriage, Ryan T. Anderson, gave this warning at the Family First Forum on August 24 at the Life Convention Centre in Auckland.
Mr Anderson, who works at the Heritage Foundation in the United States wrote a book, The Future of Marriage and Religious Liberty, in response to the US Supreme Court’s June 2015 ruling on marriage.
“The state is in the marriage business not because it’s a sacrament or a covenant or a religious institution. Not
because it cares about consenting adult romance. The state is in marriage because the union of a man and a woman can produce a child, and those children deserve both a mum and a dad,” he said.
The legalisation of same sex marriage, he said, will have at least four negative consequences, the first of which is that it makes mothers and fathers replaceable.
“We now have no institution left in society that upholds the ideal that every child deserves both a mother and a father. In fact, saying that a child deserves a mum and a dad will increasingly be seen as bigotry,” he said.
Second, he said, there will be no end to the redefinition of marriage. “The best way to illustrate this is to simply introduce you to three new words that activists and scholars in the US have developed to describe where they would see marriage next,” he said.
The first word is “throuple”, a corruption of the words three and couple. New York magazine recently feature three
males in a relationship who loved each other, slept with each other, wanted to visit each other in the hospital, open a joint bank account and inherit each other’s property in the event of death.
“It’s consenting adult romance and caregiving. And so if you sue for marriage equality at the US Supreme Court for marriage equality for a same sex couple, on what logical basis can you deny marriage equality to a same sex throuple or, for that matter, to an opposite sex quartet?” asked Mr Anderson.
He said it’s not polygamy but polyamory.
“Marriage is about uniting those people in a stable permanent monogamous relationship. But once you say the
male-female part of marriage is irrational and bigoted, what’s your justification for monogamy? What’s magical about the number two, once you say it’s irrational to think of sexual complementarity?” he said.
The two other words are “monogamish”, the concept of an open marriage where partners can have sexual relationships
with other people; and “wed lease”, where marriage contracts expire and can be renewed or dissolved after a number
“Whatever you might thing about the theology of these things, think about the social cost. What we know is that the more sexual partners men and women have and the less commitment they make to each other, the more likely they create children with multiple people to whom they are not committed,” Mr Anderson stressed.
The third consequence is to the unborn.
“If you redefine marriage, you redefine parenting and, if you redefine parenting, you redefine the creation of children,” he said.
This is seen in gay couples desiring to “have children of our own”. Frequently they turn to assisted reproductive technology.
More often than not, it is women in third world countries who are exploited.
”Not many wealthy women want to rent out their wombs,” he said.
Also, fertilised human eggs are frozen and stored, only to be destroyed when there is no more need for them.
Lastly, Mr Anderson said there is a threat to the freedom of religion.
“If the law teaches this generation and the next generation and the subsequent generation that marriage is a genderless institution and that people who think it’s a gendered institution are bigots, over time the law will treat those people as bigots,” he said.
He said Christian charities as well as businesses in the US are already feeling the persecution.
But, Mr Anderson said, nothing in human life is destined.
“In the US, the way this played out, people were simply intimidated or bullied into silence. It’s going to be up to you in your nation to bear witness to the truth and to help your neighbours to understand the truth about marriage,” he said.