Given recent cases before the United States Supreme Court (USSC), I have experienced a resurgence of arguments from well meaning Christians who reason that same-sex marriage is ridiculous because we do not allow (at least not legally) sex with minors or sex with animals. I understand why some Christians make this parallel. They start with the presupposition that each of these types of behaviors (homosexuality, statutory rape and bestiality) are wrong / immoral and that, as such, our legal system ought not recognize any of them as valid, much less grant legal status to any of them.
This argument suffers from several problems and is little more than a confusion on the issues being considered by the USSC. For starters, the Court is not talking about sex at all. It is talking about the constitutionality of bans against same-sex marriage. Yes, we may accurately presume that sex is part of marriage, but that issue is completely secondary to the legal status of marriage itself. In most states there is nothing illegal about sex between consenting adults, be they heterosexual or homosexual, and this is not what the USSC is talking about in the least. This also highlights the hurt and offensive nature of painting homosexuals with the same brush as rapists and those who purposefully abuse animals.
To put statutory rape and bestiality issues on the same page as current discussions on same-sex marriage would require that sex with minors and sex with animals were made legal for some people but not others. Nobody is arguing for this. Sex with animals and minors is illegal for everyone in all times and all places. This is not an issue of equality because no one is granted special rights and privileges to engage in these types of behavior while others cannot. Unfortunately, this is not the case with marriage. Presently, states are allowed to declare marriage acceptable for some consenting, monogamous adults while simultaneously denying it to others. THIS is an issue of equality (violated) and thus has nothing in common with laws against statutory rape and bestiality.
So please, as a person who is passionate about his faith in Jesus and who deeply values equality and mutual respect among people who may have irreconcilable beliefs and doctrines, I beg my fellow Christians to stop making this hurtful and plainly ignorant argument against same-sex marriage. I recognize that we live in a representative democracy which entails the right to free speech, and I would not revoke that privilege from anyone, but this is simply an argument that Christians ought not make for the sake of their own credibility. Not only does it fail to connect with the issues; it also fails to promote genuine dialog between heterosexual Christians and just about everybody else. If we really think that people will care about our all-loving Jesus when we start by claiming they’re just like rapists and abusers of animals, then God have mercy on us (because no one else will).
Thanks for reading me,