Same-Sex Marriage FAQ’s

By: ATRI Staff; ©2010
Here are some answers to frequently asked questions concerning same-sex marriage

Q: What is at stake in the same-sex marriage debate?

A: Many assume that legalizing same-sex marriage would have little or no impact on traditionally married couples or other individuals. However, this is not the case. The following represents possible areas of concern:

Public education: Elementary children could be taught that same-sex marriage is an acceptable lifestyle choice regardless of parental consent. Teachers and educational administrators could be forced to present this perspective without the freedom to opt-out due to personal convictions.
Workplaces: Business owners could not hire or fire based on their personal convictions regarding same-sex marriage and could be required to provide health benefits and other benefits to same-sex partners. Employees who speak their conscience on the issue could be reprimanded or fired for so-called discrimination. A business owner or employee could be sued or legally reprimanded simply for refusing services to those who request services for a same-sex wedding, such as photography, tuxedos and wedding dresses, or catering services.
Adoption and foster care providers: Faith-based adoption and foster care providers could be forced to offer services to same-sex couples, an action that would cause many of these providers to close, creating a tremendous societal strain in this area.
Religious organizations: Churches could lose their legal status or face legal reprimand for hiring or firing based on sexual orientation, teaching the biblical perspective of marriage and family, withholding or removing membership for those in same-sex relationships, or even be sued for refusing usage of properties or services to same-sex couples who desire to be married in a church building or by a minister. These actions have all already taken place in America or in other nations where same-sex marriage is legal.

While not all of these scenarios may happen, these and similar possibilities exist by legalizing same-sex marriage. At the very least, it is not accurate to say legalizing same-sex marriage would have no impact or little impact on others.

Q: Is same-sex marriage a civil right?

A: No. A civil right must be based on an unchanging characteristic such as ethnicity or gender. However, sexual orientation is found among people of both genders and of many ethnicities. In addition, sexual orientation is not an unchangeable characteristic and can therefore not be classified in the same way as a civil right.

Q: Are some people born gay or bisexual?

A: Psychologists suggest that those with same-sex inclinations derive these attractions from a complex set of factors. To date, there is no conclusive evidence regarding what makes a person attracted to others of the same sex. In addition, many who claim to be gay also have attractions for heterosexual relationships or have changed from being gay to becoming heterosexual, meaning that sexual orientation is not an unchangeable characteristic.

Q: Is legalizing same-sex marriage “inevitable” for America?

A: Increasingly, there are voices suggesting same-sex marriage becoming legalized in America is simply a matter of time. However, this may not be the case. In 31 states, popular vote has chosen marriage as being between one man and one woman. All but five states have chosen not to legalize marriage between two people of the same gender. Based on the popular vote of the American public, same-sex marriage is far from becoming legal.

Q: How can I respond if others call me a bigot or racist for opposing same-sex marriage?

A: Unfortunately, those who disagree may resort to name-calling or other critical responses. However, to oppose same-sex marriage does not automatically mean a person is a bigot or racist. First, sexual orientation is not an issue of race. Race is an unchangeable external characteristic that is not based on a person’s actions. Therefore, a person cannot be a racist solely for opposing the legalization of same-sex marriage.

Second, standing against same-sex marriage is a view held even by some in the GLBT community. A person can oppose same-sex marriage and still show respect and dignity to those who claim a different sexual orientation. In fact, those who follow the teachings of Christ in the New Testament are taught to show love to all, even those who hold opposing views.

If someone resorts to name-calling due to your differing position, you can mention the above two items as helpful. In addition, some people will oppose you based on others they have experienced who have treated them poorly. You can set an example of kindness to those who oppose you and often make a difference in the other person’s life in the process. This is the example shared in “The Case for Traditional Marriage” series by Dr. Jim Garlow.

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