The advocates of gay marriage have insisted that allowing gay people to marry does not fundamentally change the institution of marriage - it just lets more people enjoy what others have enjoyed for ages. They contend that they don't want to take away any of our rights; they just want to claim the same rights for themselves.

Such arguments have been a big reason why they have scored such a remarkable victory in the arena of public opinion. Who would want to stop somebody have something if, in giving it, you lose nothing yourself? It seems like a win-win situation; a rare opportunity for some to gain without it being at others' expense. Who can object if we're not just sharing the wedding cake among more people but we're actually creating a bigger cake?

But it's not that simple. As Collin Hansen points out in an important article, gay rights advocates are now starting to affirm that they are trying to change marriage - in ways that will affect heterosexual marriage too. They are able to speak with greater candor because they actually believe they are changing marriage for the better for all of us. The new model of marriage, they suggest, will bring the institution of marriage into the 21st century with a better world for both the gay and the straight communities.

Hanson demonstrates that we have been down this road before, and warns that it is a road that does not end here. He writes:
With each new step, we see that you can't change the definition of marriage for some but not others. No-fault divorce, as we can see from history, didn't force anyone to get divorced. But it removed permanence from the definition of marriage and pressured everyone, including churches, to rethink their views on biblical teaching. Likewise, gay marriage does not force anyone to become gay. But it cements the already popular belief that marriage has nothing to do with creation or procreation.
Hanson challenges us as Christians to defend the institution of marriage with a clear understanding of its divinely ordained purpose. Is is simply a kind of free coming together of people who love each other to live out their lives? Or is there much more at stake?

You can read Hansen's article, The New Purpose of Marriage, here.


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