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Old 06-16-04   #1
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the debate never ends

The most common questions asked by the media are, "How
will redefining marriage to include same-sex couples harm marriage?
Won't it strengthen marriage by making it more inclusive?" After all,
only one-half of one percent of households in Canada are same-sex
households, and not all gays and lesbians would want to marry. What is
the harm?

Our understanding of marriage is founded on the biblical account of
the creation of man and woman.

This is the curious thing about the current debate. No one is
questioning the value or importance of marriage, nor that it is a
fundamental social institution. It is because marriage is valued and
bears social legitimacy that some gays and lesbians want to be
considered as married.

Everyone agrees that marriage is properly characterized by love and
commitment. As the Ontario Court of Appeal stated:

Marriage is, without dispute, one of the most significant forms of
personal relationships. For centuries, marriage has been a basic
element of social organization in societies around the world. Through
the institution of marriage, individuals can publicly express their
love and commitment to each other. Through this institution, society
publicly recognizes expressions of love and commitment between
individuals, granting them respect and legitimacy as a couple. This
public recognition and sanction of marital relationships reflect
society's approbation of the personal hopes, desires and aspirations
that underlie loving, committed conjugal relationships.

Why then, some ask, is it necessary that it be between a woman and a
man? And if your answer involves the unique procreative capacity of
the union of a man and woman, you will be reminded that gays and
lesbians also have children, be it through previous relationships,
adoption or reproductive technologies. As the Ontario Court of Appeal

Heterosexual married couples will not stop having or raising
children because same-sex couples are permitted to marry. Moreover, an
increasing percentage of children are being born to and raised by
same-sex couples. … A law that aims to encourage only "natural"
procreation ignores the fact that same-sex couples are capable of
having children.

Of course, if marriage is viewed only from a legal perspective then it
will be reduced to a legal relationship between spouses, just as when
a church is seen as strictly a legal entity no different than any
other voluntary association, such as a golf club. Reducing a social or
religious institution to its legal dimension results in a thin and
consequently distorted understanding of what the institution is. There
is room in a legal analysis to consider the multidimensional nature of
marriage, and the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada continues to engage
in both the legal and public debate on this aspect of the nature of
marriage. In partnership with others we are currently seeking to
challenge the court rulings that have interpreted marriage far too

Yet several court rulings thus far have adopted a reduced view of
marriage, and the questions of reporters still bring us back to the
most basic of questions: why must marriage be opposite sex?

The Court's assertion is that marriage is only about love and
commitment and is simply a contractual relationship between two
people. While that is an element of marriage, is that really all there
is to marriage? There are a variety of domestic relationships that are
characterized by love and commitment, but we don't call them all
marriage. Single persons and other domestic relationships, whether
sexually intimate or not, may have children from previous
relationships, adoption or reproductive technologies. This reality is
not an argument to redefine marriage. Nor is it evidence that marriage
is irrelevant to raising children.

Properly understood, marriage is covenantal, not merely contractual.

The reason marriage has societal significance, the reason it has
endured and has been recognized by all religions and cultures, is that
it is a unique and distinctive relationship that is rooted in creation
and manifest and sustained in community.

Marriage is founded upon the biological reality of our dimorphic
nature; we exist in two sexes and marriage is inclusive of both sexes,
being the sexual union of one male and one female. It expresses the
complementarity of the sexes. Marriage was established for the
purposes of companionship, sexual fidelity between husband and wife
and the procreation and raising of children.

As Christians, our understanding of the structure and nature of
marriage is founded on the biblical account of the creation of man and
woman. Genesis 1 and 2 state that God created man and woman to fulfill
their need of intimate partnership and to carry out the mandate given
by God in Genesis 1:28: "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the
earth and subdue it." Jesus reiterated this understanding when He
said, "Have you not read that the one who made them at the beginning
'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man shall
leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two
shall become one flesh'? So they are no longer two but one. Therefore
what God has joined together, let no one separate" (Matthew 19:4-5 NRSV).

Properly understood, marriage is covenantal, not merely contractual.
Marriage has the unique power to promote the exclusive and permanent
sexual, psychological and emotional bonding of a man and a woman. That
is why marriage is called a covenant, not merely a contract that can
be formed and broken like a business transaction.

The structure and covenantal nature of marriage provides a stable and
caring environment for the expression of the physical and
psychological bond between male and female, fosters a stable
relationship between husband and wife, recognizes the unique
procreative capacity of a heterosexual union to procreate children,
and provides the benefit of the raising of children by a parent of
each sex. The uniting of man and woman is distinguished from other
types of social interaction and is described in Scripture as becoming
"one flesh."

The notion of covenant also expresses the social dimension of
marriage. It is not a private contract or a mere domestic partnership.
Marriages are formed and sustained in community: a covenant entered
into in the presence of God, with the consent of the parents, before
witnesses who represent the supporting community, and recognized by
the state. Marriage is not simply an act between two people, something
two individuals decide to do. Marriage is a social and religious
institution into which couples enter. Their marriage reflects, either
positively or negatively, the institution within which they
participate. Marriage is the social, cultural and religious context
for the conjugal relationship which is exclusive to male and female.
It is the expression of heterosexual identity.

At its core, this debate is about preserving the social, cultural,
religious and legal means of facilitating the long-term exclusive
sexual bonding of male and female. It is also society's commitment to
children where the term marriage captures the practical ideal of a
stable and committed context within which children can intimately know
and experience their biological and social heritage. By redefining
marriage, what commitment is society making to children? Marriage is
the preferred means of heterosexual bonding and the preferred context
for the procreation and raising of children, and this is another
reason why it is so valued.

Consider the social consequences when stable marriages are not
sustained—for the spouses, for their children and for society.
Reducing marriage to an expression of companionship between two people
strips marriage of its meaning, distinctiveness and symbolism. It
means marriage has nothing to do with procreating children or
providing children with mothers and fathers. It presumes that the
enduring and exclusive sexual bonding of male and female is no
different than any other domestic relationship.

We live in a pluralistic society in which there are a variety of
relationships, whether sexually intimate or not, that are
characterized by emotional and economic dependency. The meaning of
words is captured in definitions which allow us to express difference.
The definition of marriage enables us to distinguish marriage from a
plurality of relationships that exist in our diverse society. The word
marriage enables us to converse about the uniqueness and subtlety of
the meaning of marriage and to examine and promote its benefits to the
spouses, to children and to society.

In redefining marriage, our public understanding of marriage will
cease to be what marriage has always been understood to be. It ceases
to be a social institution that facilitates heterosexual bonding and
the begetting of children and becomes another word for a domestic
partnership. It is because of the high value and importance of
marriage as a fundamental social institution for spouses and their
children that we need to continue to vigorously engage in the public
debate about marriage. This subject has been dealt before but wonder if anyone has new opinions1
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Old 06-16-04   #2
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Old 06-16-04   #3
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The solution is very simple:
Governmental institutions cannot/may not discriminate and should allow same-sex couples.
Churches are religious based institutions with their own sets of rules and probably should exclude single-sex marriages.

Result: Single sex marriages cannot marry in church, but for the law, they can. Takes the "holy" out of their matrimony. (Big deal imho)

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Old 06-17-04   #4
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If you post an article that is not yours please post some text in your own words as well as give credit to the author of the article.... if you do not your thread will be shut down and you will be warned.... this time take it as friendly advice.... but your thread is going to be shut down.... this is considered SPAM....

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