An Open Letter to
the Leaders of Stand for Marriage Maine: A Strategy for Winning the Battle
While Losing the War?
Nov. 4, 2009
For printing use the pdf version
Schubert and other Stand for Marriage Maine leaders,
that you helped to overturn the gay marriage law in Maine but am very
disappointed to discover today that you had supported homosexual “domestic
partnership” and “sexual orientation” laws in your most recent television
In that ad you say:
Abandoning traditional marriage entails real
consequences, yet we want to be tolerant of gays. Maine’s Domestic
Partnership laws provide substantial legal protection for gay couples. Any
problems remaining can be addressed without dismantling traditional
marriage. It's possible to support the civil rights of all citizens and
protect traditional marriage at the same time.
concession provokes the following questions: Why don’t you go all the way
and support domestic partnerships and special civil rights protections for
adult-committed polyamorous unions and adult-committed
incestuous unions? Why shouldn’t these unions have the same
protections as homosexual unions? Intrinsic measurable harm cannot be
demonstrated for any of these three groups, only disproportionately high
rates of harm.
polyamory and incest (adult-committed) are analogically or foundationally
related to homosexual practice. It is the twoness of the sexes, designed
by God in creation for sexual pairing, that led Jesus to conclude that
there ought to be only two persons in a sexual union, whether at any one
time or serially (Mark 10; Matthew 19). A male-female prerequisite is thus
the foundation for absolute opposition to sexual unions comprising three
or more partners. Incest and same-sex intercourse are alike rejected
because they constitute attempted sexual unions between persons who, as
far as embodied existence is concerned, are too much “same” and not enough
“other,” whether on the level of kinship or the more essential
characteristic of sex or gender.
benefits of marriage are granted to homosexual unions, so that only the
name “marriage” is denied, it is sheer hypocrisy not to go all the way and
grant the name (as the Massachusetts Supreme Court recognized, refusing to
stop at homosexual domestic partnerships). In addition, “sexual
orientation” laws enable the state, private employers, and academic
institutions to take the view that persons critical of homosexual unions
are the moral equivalent of racists, motivated by blind prejudice. Support
for these laws makes “gay marriage” inevitable, if not today then sometime
very soon. Why would you support measures that establish your opposition
to homosexual practice as rooted in prejudice and bigotry?
You won the
battle yesterday but you may have lost the war. Your support for
homosexual “domestic partnership” laws and “sexual orientation” laws may
insure the defeat of your cause in the near future. Or, to switch
metaphors, you didn’t lose the store yesterday but you did so mortgage it
to the hilt as to make its long-term retention nigh impossible.
I urge you
to take a new look at this self-defeating strategy that you have adopted.
Please read my online articles for further elaboration of the points that
I raise above:
“Why Homosexual Behavior Is
More like Consensual Incest and Polyamory than Race or Gender: A Reasoned
and Reasonable Case for Secular Society” (May 22, 2009; 7 pgs.; online:
“Why a Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity ‘Hate
Crimes’ Law Is Bad for You” (June 2009; 9 pgs.;
“What the Evidence Really Says about Scripture
and Homosexual Practice: Five Issues” (Mar. 14, 2009; 7 pgs.; online:
society can be persuaded that adult-committed homosexual unions are more
like adult-committed incestuous and polyamorous unions than heterosexual
unions, both in terms of violation of a nature argument and
disproportionately high rates of measurable harm, there is little
likelihood of long-term victory in this struggle.
Robert A. J.
of New Testament, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
Author of: The
Bible and Homosexual Practice (Abingdon) and co-author,
Homosexuality and the Bible (Fortress)