I have been following a public conversation here in Springfield that has been rekindled by the proposal to amend the city’s anti-discrimination stance to include sexual orientation and gender identity. In many ways the conversation has been a reiteration of the same arguments we’ve been having for years and years. And so I’ve been content to let the conversation play out without comment.
But something I read this morning snagged my attention, and I think that it is noteworthy. Dr. George Wood, General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God, wrote a letter to the editor that appeared this morning. It is unremarkable for what it says, in that it essentially restates the basic anti-gay marriage arguments, adding nothing new to the conversation.
However, it is remarkable for what it omits. I have read the letter a half a dozen times, and I cannot find any mention of procreation anywhere.
For years and years it has been one of the core arguments of the anti-gay marriage position that marriage must be a heterosexual relationship because the fundamental purpose is procreation. Why would Dr. Wood omit it from his public contribution to the current discussion? In fact he goes so far as to list off Genesis 1:26 and 1:27 to lend support to his position, but omits 1:28, which is the “be fruitful and multiply” verse.
Dr. Wood offers the following as his definition of marriage: “God creates and commends marriage as the sexual union of a man and a woman.” In this new definition of marriage, Dr. Wood leaves in the sex but doesn’t mention the babies. Perhaps he has done so as a concession to heterosexual couples who cannot or choose not to have children.
For the record, I strongly disagree with the definition of marriage as merely a “sexual union.” My definition includes the ideas of covenant and partnership and mutual respect and love. I define marriage as a life-long, covenant relationship between two adults who have promised one another to care for each other with mutual love and respect for ever and ever, no matter what happens. I simply cannot concur with the thought that marriage is all and only about sex.
I’m doubtful that anything else new will come out of this latest public discourse on the issues surrounding homosexuality, but I’ll keep my ears open. If I do hear anything else noteworthy, I’ll most likely have a comment or two to add.
In the meantime, I'd like to ask a question. Do you consider marriage to be a "sexual union?" Feel free to answer either in the comments or on Facebook.