Brown180a.jpg Floyd and Mary Beth Brown, 11/1/2012 [Archive]

Gay Marriage Limits Freedom

Gay Marriage Actually Limits Freedom

Floyd and Mary Beth Brown

We were married 29 years ago in Seattle, Washington.This year Washington's legislature passed a law abolishing the traditional definition of marriage and they reconstituted the institution as genderless.

As the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy has pointed out, "...once the judiciary or legislature adopts 'the union of any two persons' as the legal definition of civil marriage, that conception becomes the sole definitional basis for the only law-sanctioned marriage that any couple can enter, whether same-sex or man-woman. Therefore, legally sanctioned genderless marriage, rather than peacefully coexisting with the contemporary man-woman marriage institution, actually displaces and replaces it."

So our big question is, does this change our marriage retroactively? Are we now part of a gender nonspecific revolution? Personally we want no part of it. And it seems many citizens of Washington feel the same way. A quarter of a million people signed petitions to send the adopted law to the voters for review. In addition to Washington, the states of Minnesota, Maine and Maryland will have genderless marriage on the ballot this fall.

Barack Obama and the mainstream media have been busy promoting Gay marriage. To see the other side of the issue, we thought we might share with you the arguments against.

Marriage is historically a private and religious institution. In ancient times marriage was usually the result of an agreement between families. Marriages were arranged. With the advance of Christianity in the Roman Empire, marriage transformed, becoming a voluntary institution requiring the agreement of both the man and the woman.

It wasn't until the French Revolution in 1792 introduced the compulsory civil marriage ceremony that government began to regulate marriage. Germany didn't follow suit with civil marriages until the 19th century when Bismarck diminished the influence of the Catholic Church.Slowly, marriage before some magistrate or government official became the form of marriage adopted in most of the Western world.

While many forms of marriage existed in ancient history, the institution was always recognized universally as being between a man and a woman.Even in societies that tolerated homosexuality such as ancient Sparta, marriage was always reserved to men and women.

The reason marriage is between a man and a woman is because only this union can produce children. Protecting the interests of children is the primary reason that government regulates and licenses marriage.

Since the sexual revolution of the 60's and 70's, government does not regulate most forms of sexual relationships - not friendship, or dating, or cohabitation. People are free, under current law, to have sex as they choose. People can cohabitate with whomever they choose and engage in sexual relationships with whomever they choose — as long as the sale of sex or coerced sex is not involved. Most states even allow civil unions between same sex couples.

So why does the homosexual movement want same sex marriage? They primarily want it so that they can punish those who consider their relationships sinful.

For example, consider the case of Elaine Huguenin. She was contacted in 2006 by a same-sex couple wanting pictures taken of their "commitment ceremony."Huguenin refused saying she only photographed traditional marriages.The couple filed a complaint for discrimination with the New Mexico Human Rights Commission because of their sexual orientation.The state commission ordered the photographer to pay close to $7,000.

Or what about the case of online dating service e-Harmony?According to the San Francisco Chronicle a California judge ordered, "The firm also would establish a $2 million settlement fund, with about $500,000 set aside for gay, lesbian and bisexual Californians who can show they were harmed by eHarmony's policies."

In each of these cases, the force of law was used to limit the freedom of association of religious people. In each case, the freedom favored was homosexual and the freedom disfavored was religious. Homosexuals want the legal power to coerce others into accepting their lifestyles, and Gay marriage is yet another way they get it.

Gay marriage is about using the power of government to coerce religious believers into accepting what many consider sinful behavior as legitimate.

© 2012 Floyd and Mary Beth Brown. The Browns are bestselling authors and speakers. To comment on this column, e-mail Together they write a national weekly column distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. Floyd is also president of the Western Center for Journalism. For more info call Sales at (805) 969-2829 or e-mail

This column has been edited by the author. Representations of fact and opinions are solely those of the author.

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