As I've considered this topic recently (as it tangentially relates to other things I've been considering), I wonder if social conservatives-- and Christians in particular-- aren't missing the more central issue altogether. What if homosexual marriage is a red herring?
Before I go any further, I want to say upfront that I do believe that the practice of a homosexual lifestyle is defined by the Bible is sinful (not just in the Old Testament), and that biblical marriage is a monogamous, life-long relationship between a man and a woman.
But as I read articles like this piece by Marvin Olasky in World, I read of a generational sea-change in attitudes toward marriage in our broader culture:
They embody the stereotype of a younger generation that sees nothing wrong with "hooking up" or cohabiting before marriage. Skeptical about the possibility of lifelong love, they readily list downsides to marriage. A few admit that they would like to marry—for friendship, to ward off loneliness, and for support—but even they see marriage as constricting, depriving them of freedom and the ability to focus on their careers.
I have to wonder, in conclusion, why any of us think that marriage in general is going to be a sustained value among our common western culture. Statistics, for what they are worth, certainly support the idea that biblical marriage (as I defined it above) is not the central or even peripheral sense of what a fulfilling relationship ought to embody. Olasky draws the following conclusion:
In general these students don't associate marriage with either childbearing or sex. It is one avenue among many to personal happiness, period. They see no right destination and no right way to get there. Anything that's mutually acceptable goes.
In light of this, why are we so concerned about homosexual marriage? Shouldn't we instead be concerned about marriage period?
Some hope is seen later in Olasky's article, when he states that, "The serious Christian students—with homeschool, Christian school, or public school backgrounds—are different. They have a high view of marriage. Many of them, even high-schoolers in Fort Payne, Ala., talk about marriage theologically." But the article goes on to talk frankly about how little these Christian students know how to begin down the path toward such marriage; they are confused about dating, courtship, mixed-gender group activities, and how to "keep their hearts pure."
It seems to me that we're fighting a battle on one front (marriage among same-sex couples) while the "enemy" (the disintegration of biblical marriage overall) is defeating our sentries and climbing over the walls behind us.
There is work to be done here that has very little to do with homosexuals.