Thursday, February 7, 2013

Taking down the marriage=procreation argument....biblically! (Voices of Faith)

As you know one of the primary arguments being made in front of the Supremes about marriage equality is that straight marriage is "special" because it can generate children (inadvertently, even!) and for that reason, we can't call gay relationships marriage.  (Even though we can call infertile or elderly couples "married".)  It's not as though there is a limited amount of marriage to go around, so this argument doesn't really defend straight marriage against Teh Gayz.
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Voices of Faith

This week, the Rev. Tobias Haller, BSG, an Episcopal priest, published a piece on his blog taking down the Genesis version of this argument.  (If you haven't visited his blog before, you will find there articulate and intelligent support of marriage equality from a theological perspective.)
...But as is surely obvious, heritability and offspring ....represent possibilities which, even if not realized, do not in any way lessen the reality of the marriage itself.

The “reason” given for marriage in Genesis 2 is not procreation, but loneliness. The “reason” for marriage given in 1 Corinthians is not children, but as a remedy for fornication. And clearly these two things — companionship and conjunction — are matters for the couple, and between them; that is, they subsist in the marriage itself. ....
And if someone were to point me to Genesis 1 to claim that it shows that marriage is about procreation, given the command to be fruitful and multiply, I would have to ask why birds and fish do not “marry” — given that they receive an identical command.
... [M]arriage is about the couple and their bond and covenant. It is not a bond and covenant — or contract — to produce children, since that might well not happen, and the marriage is not void if no children are produced. It is a bond and covenant to remain faithful to the spouse, just as the marriage vows spell out in detail, with no reference to offspring: loving and cherishing, having and holding, honoring and comforting, and above all, forsaking all others in an exclusive life-long relationship. 
If you are interested in additional well-grounded theological arguments in favor of equality, I highly recommend Tobias's book, Reasonable and Holy.  

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