Twenty-one reasons why heterosexual marriage must be supported

1. God established marriage as the sacred, covenantal union of one man and one woman, predating any marriage law designed by man. Heterosexual marriage is God's divine plan for the continuation of the human race. To change the definition of marriage is to concede that it is a human invention and that God's desires are of no concern to us.

2. When it comes to Scripture, there are only two options when it comes to sexual behavior:  heterosexual marriage or celibacy. Same-sex sexual behavior, as well as immoral heterosexual behavior, is considered idolatry in Scripture—the "worship of the created over the Creator" (Romans 1:25, Ephesians 5:5, Colossians 3:5). Legalizing same-sex unions defies the authority of the Bible.

3. If heterosexual marriage is solely a matter of contract law, and the key restriction of one man and one woman is removed, other vital restrictions are effected. For example: one of the partners in a marriage might choose a child, a mother or father or an animal as a spouse. Three or four people could conceivably marry each other. Without the key restriction of one man and one woman, marriage could be defined by the imagination of anyone who wished to be married.

4. Marriage has its roots in "natural law," which recognizes that the world operates by design. God created human beings with a "telos" or "purpose" for being. Heterosexual marriage, the sexual union between one man and one woman, is designed by God to be a perfect fit anatomically and emotionally. Same-sex sexual behavior is a distortion of God's design for human sexuality and denies the need for traditional avenues of procreation. 

5. Heterosexual marriage symbolizes and engenders respect for the transmission of human life. Including same-sex couples in the definition of marriage would mean that it would no longer represent the inherently procreative relationship of opposite-sex-pair bonding. Procreation is impossible in same-sex sexual relationships without the assistance of an opposite sex donor.

6. Defining marriage as strictly between a man and a woman is morally desirable and rational. Heterosexual marriage is the underlying institution of our culture, as well as all cultures throughout the world. All of the major cultures of the world for the last 3,000 years have affirmed the importance of heterosexual marriage as foundational to a healthy society. Throughout history, no religious, secular or moral tradition ever advocated same-sex marriage. Re-defining marriage to include same-sex unions is to challenge the greatest Jewish, Christian and humanist thinkers who ever lived.

7. Keeping committed heterosexual marriages as the norm for human society is a standard which helps keep our culture healthy. We cannot emotionally, spiritually or financially afford to legalize same-sex sexual behaviors which are characterized by instability, promiscuity, abuse and risky sexual practices.

8. Preserving heterosexual marriage as the union of one man and one woman also helps preserve the health of our nation. The highest new cases of HIV are reported among men who have sex with men (Centers for Disease Control). The risk of contracting AIDS from a single act of unprotected heterosexual intercourse is one in 715,000. The risk of contracting AIDS from a single act of unprotected homosexual intercourse is one in 165 (Tom W. Smith, "Adult Sexual Behavior and Risk of AIDS" in Family Planning Perspectives, May/June 1991).

9. Heterosexual marriage is the foundation of a successful family. Studies continue to show that a stable, loving, heterosexual marriage provides the best environment for children and where they thrive best. Healthy children are absolutely critical to the stability of society. It is in the best interests of our culture to protect and preserve social conditions in which children, raised by their moms and dads, is the norm. Heterosexual marriage makes this option possible.

10. Heterosexual marriage in and of itself is a basic human good. Men and women who unite themselves to each other in a loving marriage have better heart health, healthier lifestyles and fewer emotional problems. Men and women who are happily married experience greater fulfillment and well-being than their single, divorced or widowed friends.

11. Heterosexual marriage is fundamentally a one-flesh union. Any number of people can live together providing companionship and nurture. But marriage is defined and completed by a multilevel sharing of life, based on the biological union of one man and one woman. Sexual activity between or among groups of persons or between partners of the same sex, however much they may desire to define it as marriage, is inherently non-marital.

12. Children have the right to be created—not by cloning or from anonymous genetic donors—but from the biological and genetic patrimony of one man and one woman. Heterosexual marriage preserves that right for children.

13. Maintaining the well-being of our children is highly important to our cultural stability. Children who are raised in households of same-sex parents are more likely to engage in sexual experimentation at early ages, are more sexually promiscuous and more likely to adopt a homosexual identity themselves. "It is inappropriate, potentially hazardous to children and dangerously irresponsible to change the age-old prohibition on homosexual parenting, whether by adoption, foster care, or by reproductive manipulation" (American College of Pediatricians).

14. Heterosexual marriage provides the best example of gender complementarities and teaches children the value of gender differences. Each gender has a unique contribution that can't be filled by the other, and heterosexual marriage provides the environment in which children can best learn and deal with those differences.

15. Heterosexual marriage does not prevent those in same-sex relationships from obtaining benefits for same-sex partners. Laws are already in place which give same-sex partners the right to hold property jointly, to receive health-care benefits as a domestic partner, to designate who will be a beneficiary in the event of their death or to make health care decisions for them, should they become incompetent.

16. Preserving heterosexual marriage as the union of one man and one woman helps protect our legal rights. Legal tyranny is created when the basic laws defining marriage are changed to include same-sex unions. Same-sex couples who are married in one state will challenge their home state for legal recognition of their marriage, forcing the state to create a law by decree, not by the will of the citizens of that state through the ballot box. The courts and the governments will be enforcing changes that conflict with a wide array of ordinary liberties.

17. Equating same-sex unions with heterosexual marriage will create legal chaos. Our legal system does not presently have laws governing same-sex divorces or same-sex child custody proceedings. When research suggests that the average same-sex relationship last two years, the potential cost to our legal system could be staggering.

18. Committed monogamous relationships are not the norm in the gay community. The essence of gay liberation is based on promiscuous sex. "While it may be difficult for heterosexuals to understand anonymous sex with multiple partners, to many homosexuals, it is a cornerstone of liberation" (Michael Warner, an English professor at Rutgers University quoted in The New York Times). In "After the Ball" by Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen, it is reported, "The cheating ratio of 'married' (committed) gay males, given enough time, approaches 100 percent."

19. Heterosexual marriage is being devalued in our culture. Blessing same-sex unions will only further devalue intact families. In Sweden and Denmark, countries where same-sex relationships are blessed, 80 percent of first-born children are born out of wedlock. We cannot afford to add pneumonia to a culture that is already fighting a bad cold.

20. Endorsing same-sex marriage will further propagate the use of addictive substances, such as drugs and alcohol.  When men and women become involved in same-sex relationships, the use of drugs and alcohol increases. For example: Male homosexuals have double the rate of alcohol abuse as males in general; the rate of alcoholism for lesbians is seven times greater than for women in general (American Journal of Public Health 83, 1993).

21. Heterosexual marriage is a preventative measure in a society consumed with sexuality. Dennis Prager, a Jewish ethicist, in his video, "Why Judaism Rejected Homosexuality," states that male sexuality is polymorphous and utterly wild—and that, when God required marriage, He forced the sexual genie into the marital bottle.


Sources for the above information include many public Web sites, (gay and straight) as well as books and magazine articles. For further research, go to:  The Centers for Disease Control, WebMD, Medical Institutes for Sexual Health, Abstinence Clearinghouse, Institute for Marriage and Public Policy, National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) and others.

Wagstaff is executive director of Living Stones Ministries, a Glendora, Calif.-based ministry that serves people dealing with homosexuality within their family. The Christ-centered ministry offers spiritual counseling, support groups, seminars and special events. For more information, visit www.livingstonesministry.org.