Am I A Bigot?


Adam's weddingEditor’s note: Because this topic raises challenging and emotional topics, I request that any comments please be given in the spirit of charitable communication. LMH

It’s been a little disheartening these days to see the vicious debates rage over the introduction of same-sex marriage. I’ve been called a bigot and a religious fanatic for the first time in my life. For someone who has spent most of his adult life fighting for the underdog, I wonder, am I really what others say I am? Or is there more to traditional marriage than simply religious fundamentalism or sexual bigotry? Is there any reasonable concern over the potential long term effects, should same-sex marriage be instituted as the law?

So what is marriage? What is the purpose of it? Is it simply a private contract for two people for the benefit of those two individuals, or is there a social benefit to the institution of marriage?

From a social perspective, the public benefit to marriage is that marriage between a man and a woman creates the most stable environment for the raising up of children; therefore societies throughout the course of time have instituted marriage for the raising up of the next generation. The family unit is the first institution ever formed in the world for the ongoing good of people. It precedes the state. It precedes nations. Marriage between and man and woman is a social standard going back many thousands of years, even preceding our Judeo-Christian beliefs. Every society from the Far East to the Americas has made marriage between a man and a woman, (or in a few cases, between a man and women), because cultures across the globe and throughout time have thought that the best way to develop the greatest potential in a child is for that child to have a mother and a father. (For current research on this, click here for the Vatican Insider article: “Here are the problems gay couples’ kids will face.” To read the silenced voices of adult children of same-sex parents, click here.) In order to protect and encourage stable families, societies have either bound a married couple together, so that they can’t easily break their contract, or have encouraged them with incentives to remain together, thus trying to create a stable environment for a child.

But there are plenty of gay couples who have children and parent them well.

This is true.  For thousands of years there have been special circumstances where grandparents, uncles, friends, neighbors have had to take care of children. In fact, a just society has an obligation to protect children born without a mother and a father by creating systems for adoption and special help for the children.  Just as society helps aunts, grandparents, etc., care for a child, society should provide help for same-sex couples who are caring for a child, so that they, too, can provide a stable environment. But should society redefine marriage in order to accommodate these particular special cases?

A problem occurred when the courts redefined marriage so that it could be inclusive of same-sex couples. What the courts did was redefine marriage from a contract between two people for the benefit of raising up children for the next generation, to a contract between two consenting adults for the benefit of two consenting adults. They changed the fundamental meaning of marriage, the innate social purpose of marriage.

The question could be asked, “There are plenty of good same-sex parents, many of whom are better than traditional mother and father parents, so if you expanded marriage to be more inclusive of other types of parents, wouldn’t that be better for society in general?”

When you have a new definition of marriage, which is more about two consenting adults than about raising children, you travel down a new path of breaking down the basic foundation of society- the family. I ask, is this a wise social experiment?

But what about human rights? Doesn’t everyone have the right to marry whom they choose?

The courts have said that same-sex marriage is a human right. The question is, what defines a human right? There are basic human rights of survival: life, food, shelter, and health care. There are also human rights that help people to thrive, such as liberty and labor. Is choosing who one wants to marry an extension of this right? A human right is assumed to be something in common with everyone. For example, every human needs food, water, and air to survive. Every person has the right to religious and political freedom. Doesn’t this automatically extend to marriage? Shouldn’t a person be free to marry whomever they choose?

The freedom to marry is not a universal right, because marriage is also a public institution affecting the common good of all. The state, for instance, does not support marriage between relatives, or between an adult and child, or parent and child, or child to child, for varied reasons. Society, for the good of the whole, has never allowed every individual to marry whomever they choose.

Moreover, often human rights are threatened in the name of human rights. When claims to rights are severed from the just requirements of the common good, the inevitable result is a distorted understanding of human rights that all too often leads to the violation of the rights of others. In redefining the meaning and innate social purpose of marriage to suit a desired outcome, the courts are unwittingly infringing on children’s rights to have a mother and a father.

But why are Christian churches engaged in this issue? Isn’t there a separation of church and state?

The Constitutional separation of church and state means that organized religion will receive neither favor nor obstruction from the state. What is unconstitutional is the state’s establishment of religion or the state’s prohibition of the free exercise of religion. Nothing in the First Amendment separates the churches from society, or religion from public life. They are inseparable.

It is interesting to note that many people are okay with special interest groups like GM, Starbucks, Planned Parenthood, etc., who advocate for private interests to have enormous power and influence over the state, but would like the Church to take a back seat, when the Church, like no other institution in all of history, has fought and continues to fight for billions of people in need: the poor, the homeless, the immigrant, the elderly, the worker, the unborn, the people on death row, and victims of every form of injustice and violence. Without the church, where would basic, universal, civil rights be?

What will this really mean for me? Why should I care if two women who really love each other get married?

The courts have said that marriage is a human right, and they have placed it within a classification of race. “You can’t discriminate against race,” they’ve stated, “so you can’t discriminate against homosexual marriage.” People who say, “Oh, this new view won’t affect how a parent will educate a child,” aren’t thinking long term, for it will be impossible for a parent to define marriage between a man and a woman without being classified as bigoted or racist. The courts have defined it as such. School educators can say, “We won’t be like Boston, or Spain, or Canada. We won’t teach the new definition of marriage in our school.” But this won’t change or override the fact that society has defined marriage inclusively as a racial issue.

There is an incredible risk to society to embark upon changing the foundational structure of society with no social analysis. The courts are embarking on something completely new, untried, and critical to the fabric of society. All of a sudden same-sex marriage is the new human right, with an assumption that it has always been so, when it has never been the case in the thousands of years of human history. And to expect a zero difference in society isn’t rational or reasonable to expect.

The courts have weakened the fundamental social aspect of marriage and made it an issue of personal choice rather than the up-building of the next generation. Most would agree that functional family systems are central to society. Without them, society will collapse. The question is, will society function if the family unit deteriorates any more than it already has?

I ask again, “Is it reasonable to have concerns about same-sex marriage or am I just a bigot?”

By Christine Watkins & John Francis Watkins, Jr.



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  1. Great job. You’re not a bigot, I’ve been called that too. Bigotry is “unjust” discrimination. It’s not unjust to say that only men can be fathers, women mothers, children really need both, marriages can only be consummated if…

    We all discriminate. In marriage too. A man can’t marry his daughter, a woman her son. We discriminate in the number two precisely because the sexes are complementary.

    Imagine, and its already happening, that a person who claims to be bi-sexual and “born that way” protests as bigotry for not being able to marry the man and woman of their dreams..

    You are not a bigot.

  2. Thank you more ammo for my discussions on this topic with youth who get inundated in school with the propaganda the same-sex marriage is a civil right and one who rejects this is a bigot. We are fighting an uphill battle, though. Still, the truth will set you free.

  3. This is well thought out, Christine and I appreciate some of the perspective you share that I had not considered before. I struggle with this issue too. But rather than asking myself, “Am I a bigot?” I tend to ask myself “Am I a hypocrite?” Am I a hypocrite if I love and appreciate and admire my dear friends who are gay – and don’t support the court’s approval of gay marriage? Am I a hypocrite to think that my friends who are in loveless marriages or have been married three or four times are any more qualified (or have any more right) to raise up children than a monogamous same sex couple? Am I a hypocrite to believe that the “institute” of marriage is a sacrament – a covenant with God – and then lovingly embrace same sex couples and celebrate their commitment to one another? I don’t know. It’s all very muddy. I’m still working it out.

    But I do know is that the court’s decision is merely a reflection of what society has already determined to be the definition of marriage. Today, most people view marriage as a contract between two consenting adults for the benefit (e.g, convenience, profit, pleasure) of those two adults – for the present moment only. Not a lasting, binding contract for the purpose of raising the next generation. So yes, we are fighting an uphill battle to protect the institute of marriage. And I wouldn’t call you a bigot – more like a passionate defender of traditional marriage.

  4. You’re opening statements grabbed me… I have also always fought for the ones with no voice – in various stages of life – and always been a friend to the bullied and friend-less… I have never in my life ever thought the term “bigot” could be used to describe me and yet, here it is… I have so many friends who aren’t homosexual, but do support their “right to marry” and I am now the one who is hated as being the bully… It breaks my heart and brings me to tears and I dread the day my children are accused of the same…… I just think of Rome… How much longer can out nation stand….? I don’t know, but I fear the day we fall….

  5. “From a social perspective, the public benefit to marriage is that marriage between a man and a woman creates the most stable environment for the raising up of children; therefore societies throughout the course of time have instituted marriage for the raising up of the next generation.”

    Then, if you believe that all tax-paying law-abiding American citizens should have equal rights, you would have to agree that it is only fair that the ONLY people afforded any kind of public benefit are those who are actively raising children. Therefore people who cannot, or do not, want to produce children should not be afforded any kind of marital benefit–such as spousal privileges, survivorship, etc. Because if those marital benefits are permitted to hetrosexual couples who are NOT raising children but not SS couples than there is a double standard under the law.

    The problem is that no one is suggesting removing those benefits or denying marriage to people who don’t have children–unless they happen to be gay.

    And since it can cost $300K + to have a lawyer draw up the paperwork to give a SS couple those “marital” benefits there is a financial burden that is being unfairly placed on that SS couple.

    As for the articles you cited–sorry–the Regenus study compared children from broken homes where one parent has a gay relationship to children from unbroken homes. You can twist it all you want–but that was the comparison made.

    There are other peer reviewed studies that show that the children of SS parents are as well adjusted–and are more tolerant–than the children of opposite sex couples. And I can certainly supply you plenty of examples where the children of intact families were abused, neglected, turned to drugs, turned to crime, etc.

    “When you have a new definition of marriage, which is more about two consenting adults than about raising children, you travel down a new path of breaking down the basic foundation of society- the family. I ask, is this a wise social experiment.”

    Based on my reading of this, you are stating that the breakdown of the family is already occurring. Based on what I’ve read on Catholic blogs this is supposed to be because of the availability of birth control, divorce, pornography, and any number of other issues.

    But I don’t see people trying to ban condoms. Or outlaw divorce. Or outlaw pornography. I only see one segment of society being denied access to a social institution.

    And if you are going to claim that SS marriage is the ruination of families and society I’d remind you that the ills you are claiming have been going on BEFORE SS marriage was ever an issue.

    And I’d also suggest that you look at the areas of the country, and foreign countries, that do have SS marriage. You’ll find statistics that indicate that there are less divorces in MA than in the bible belt–and you’ll also find a studies that indicate the leading statistic for divorce is the existence of a MALE as part of the couple. Therefore, if you really want to strengthen the family unit you should be pushing for lesbians to get married.

    I’m not going to bother refuting the rest of your statements because, frankly, you are not going to be convinced. According to the US Supreme Court civil marriage is a civil right.

    Catholics like to claim that they love gays, but hate the sin of being gay. OK–it is not about the state of being, but about the action.

    The Catholic Church, and individual Catholics, can certainly preach that the bible says homosexuality is an abomination. (And forget the hypocrisy of ignoring the rest of Leviticus.) When the CC and individuals go beyond that statement and actively work to deny tax-paying, law abiding citizens the same civil rights as other tax-paying, law abiding citizens based on who those people love–they have moved beyond the state of being a bigot, and entered into the action of bigotry.

    So as a gay man I promise to love the bigot, but hate the bigotry.

  6. cminca, among the farrago or irrelevancies your long hate-filled rant does actually contain a couple of good points (even though you did apparently mean them sarcastically) .
    Yes indeed there are many of us (including many non-Christians) who are campaigning for better laws (or even ANY laws) against pornography, abortion, contraception and divorce. Many of us are working against the breakdown of teh family in this and other ways. You must be blind if you seriously think that anybody exists who is perfectly OK with contraception, abortionj, divorce, pornography, adultery, fornication etc. etc but thinks that the ONLY thing undermining marriage is the attempt to absurdly redefine iot to include two (but for some reason no more) people of the same sex (but for some reason not of opposite sexes) sodiomising each other.

    And yes indeed the State should be seriously looking at withholding its endorsement from “marriages” which are not really marriages, where the man and woman have no intention of ever being open to the procreation and education of children. The main reasons it has not done so are that firstly this is often a very difficult judgment to make, and if people were to lie about their intent it would be almost impossible to detect; secondly and more importantly, even if a couple have no such intent when they get married, at least there is the potential possibility that they will be open to procreation at some time in future and so become a real marriage; and thirdly and most importantly, and/or the presumption that they will at least be performing the marital act, doing the thing that is ordered to procreation of children and union of the two sexes.

    All this has nothing in particular to do with Catholicism or any other religion, so keep your Catholicophobia out of it.

  7. It seems to me that it is also time to stand back and re-evaluate all of these labels that are being tossed around trying to get people to feel guilty about…(choose anything).
    We are ALL biased. It’s part of the human condition. Very few of us intentionally choose to demean another human being just because he/she exists. HOWEVER, all of us judge other actions and behaviors – we discipline our children, we place expectations on our students / employees, we pass laws, we try to follow the ten commandments – all of which are accepting judgments on behaviors.
    For the SSM crowd to label someone a bigot for objecting to a behavior is engaging in hypocritical behavior – they are passing judgment on people’s motives rather than actions..
    It’s time for all of us to stop apologizing for holding to certain standards of behavior. Sexual abstinence does no one any harm. Sexual behavior outside of the marriage covenant is wrong – for a host of reasons. Homosexual behavior is wrong, for a host of reasons. Homosexual marriage is not marriage – for all of the reasons outlined in the article.
    A person who understands this is not a bigot and should be encouraged to continue to speak truth to power.

  8. Ronk–

    Your second paragraph argument falls apart when you consider that the state, and the catholic church, gladly marry women who are beyond child bearing years.

    There is no requirement for the ability to produce children. Period.

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