The Argument of Unity
for Accepting Same-Sex Marriages
UNITY IS THE PURPOSE OF MARRIAGE
For Protestants the ability of marriage to provide unity defines its essence. In the Roman Catholic Church procreation defines the essential purpose of marriage. For Protestants, the ultimate goal is the unity which results from marriage. (Brownson, pages 121 and 126.) Providing for children is not the only reason society has an interest in marriage. Society is well served when the bonds of marriage provide for the care of children. However, society also benefits in many additional ways when people live together in long-term committed unions. (Brownson, page 126.)
It is one thing to make a case for the position e.g. that bonding is at the heart of biblical kinship above and beyond being of the same flesh and blood. It is quite a different matter to exclude something from the essence of marriage. Christianity has always maintained that one aspect of the essence of Christian marriage is that it is between one male and one female. A person could take what Professor Brownson has written about bonding in the kinship relationship and conclude that the unitive aspect of bonding is more important for a married man and woman than whether or not they are physically united into one flesh and also more important than if they are able to procreate. To say that bonding is the essence of marriage really doesn’t argue against the historical position that marriage being between one man and one woman is of the essence of marriage. Historical Christianity's commitment to the tenet that it is essential for marriage to be between one man and one woman rules out the possibility by definition of gay marriage. Therefore, logically speaking, Professor Brownson's arguments for bonding being of the essence of marriage cannot contribute to his ultimate goal of serving as evidence that the church should accept gay marriage. Professor Brownson's one flesh argument is not in and of itself a positive argument compelling the church for moral reasons to open up the institution of Christian marriage to gay couples. It must also be pointed out that the main endeavor of Professor Brownson’s book is to determine if gay marriage is permissible. It does no good to state as fact that the Bible does not prohibit gay marriage – that is what is being debated here. As will be shown below, the Bible does prohibit same-sex erotic actions in Leviticus and Romans. Based on the evidence presented there, this section should be considered false. Unity as the purpose of marriage is a positive. However, it is not sufficient to mandate that marriage consisting of one man and one woman is no longer normative for the Christian church and gay marriage should be accepted, that it should be normative.
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