A Review of Chris Meyers' "The Moral Defense of Homosexuality"

The Moral Defense of Homosexuality: Why Every Argument against Gay Rights Fails by Chris Meyers, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2015. ISBN-10: 1442249315; ISBN-13: 978-1442249318.

This is a unique book on the topic of gay rights for several reasons. First, Chris Meyers admits, right in the preface, that he is a “straight man with very little acquaintance with gay people.” This gives him a unique outsider perspective of gay rights, making it difficult for those who oppose gay rights to accuse him of bias, since he has no personal axe to grind. Second, and related to the first reason, is that he approaches the subject as a moral philosopher, which he is by training. Lastly, because he is an outsider, and has not had much contact with gays or the gay community, he has chosen to use the words “homosexual” and “homosexuality” throughout the book, terminology, that although clinically correct, is frowned on within the gay community. My hope is that this oversight will be forgiven him by the gay community, as Meyers makes very cogent arguments, as the title promises, contra all the major arguments against gay rights.

Meyers’ primary focus is on same-sex marriage, rather than on gay rights more generally, because same-sex marriage has been the most hotly contested gay right of recent times. Even since the Supreme Court has upheld its legality, gay marriage continues to be contested within churches, and a lot of noise continues to be made by political conservatives over the issue. In spite of this emphasis, Meyers does touch on other gay rights as well, such as the right to not be discriminated against in employment or in the marketplace on the basis of sexual or gender orientation. As is known by most gay rights advocates, a gay person can lose their job due to their sexual orientation, and many states continue to argue that businesses should be allowed to refuse service to gays. The arguments presented by Meyers in this book easily apply to these issues as well, and he advocates for full protection under the law for gays, just as is provided to other groups.

Meyers, as is typical for philosophers, takes a systematic approach to the subject and begins the book by outlining why gay rights is a moral issue, on par with similar issues of discrimination.

Few people in the United States today would accept laws banning people from serving in the military due to their race, religion, or political affiliation. Nor would they accept the idea that couples belonging to a certain race, religion, or political affiliation should not have their marriages recognized or should be legally prevented from adopting children. And we do not allow job discrimination on the basis of race, religion, or political affiliation. So why should sexual orientation be any different?”

He then outlines how moral philosophers approach issues of this sort.

As part of the groundwork, Meyers also provides a brief overview of how public opinion has changed with regard to gay rights, warning that even though opinion seems to have shifted more and more strongly in favor of gay rights, it could swing back the other direction again if the arguments against gay rights are not thoroughly countered with careful and objective arguments based in moral philosophy. He also points out the value of confronting the best arguments against gay rights and refuting them with reasoned moral argumentation.

He concludes the introduction to the book with what he calls the “’Simple Argument’ in defense of homosexuality,” which he presents as follows:

  1. For an action or practice to be morally wrong, it must have some wrong-making feature. In other words, if an action is morally wrong, there must be something about the action that makes it wrong.

  2. Wrong-making features include the following: the action or practice i) causes harm or ii) violates some competent person’s autonomy or iii) is unfair or iv) violates someone’s individual rights or v), etc. This second premise can be extended. It should include an exhaustive list of features that make an action or practice morally wrong.

  3. Homosexual relations between two consenting adults do not have any of these features. In other words, i) it is not harmful, ii) it does not violate anyone’s autonomy, iii) it is not unfair, iv) it does not violate anyone’s individual rights, v), etc. This, of course, is not to say that homosexual relations can never be morally wrong. For example, if a man is married to a woman and has secret homosexual liaisons on the side, that would be morally wrong. But it is not the homosexuality per se that makes such behavior morally wrong. What makes it wrong is that it involves betrayal and the violation of one’s marriage vows. It is wrong because it is adultery, not because it is gay adultery. The argument is intended to show only that there is nothing wrong with homosexual activity per se. Homosexual relations can be morally wrong for reasons other than that they are homosexual; but heterosexual relations can also be wrong for those same sorts of reasons.

  4. Therefore, homosexual relations between mutually consenting adults are not morally wrong. This argument is obviously valid. To say that an argument is valid means that if the premises 1–3 are true, then the conclusion (4) must be true. The conclusion might still be false but only if at least one of the premises (1, 2, or 3) is false.

This simple four part argument is the basis for all the more elaborate arguments used to refute all the main arguments against gay rights.

In chapters 2-4 Meyers lays the foundation for his later arguments that are systematically arranged in chapter 5-10. To lay this foundation, Meyers first defines what morality is by providing an overview of the various ways moral philosophy has defined it. Some of this verges on the esoteric, but Meyers is good about bringing in the general reader. Then in chapter 3, Meyers dissects the Divine Command Theory (DCT) of right and wrong.

There is no doubt that the Bible explicitly condemns gay relations in Leviticus, but this raises a question concerning divine commands, since Leviticus also condemns, in similar terms, a variety of other things that we no longer consider morally wrong, such as prohibiting the wearing of clothing made of two different types of fiber or the eating of meat with the blood still in it. Are all of God’s commands moral commands? It appears not. How can one determine which are intended to be moral commands and which are simply commands of other sorts, such as ritual purity rules or rules that are more like membership rules. Clearly, many of the Levitical commands are of the latter sort, and would only apply to members of the Jewish religion, and Meyers concludes that this is likely the case for same-sex relations.

Chapter 4 concludes Meyer’s coverage of background material with a fairly thorough overview of the evidence that supports the contention that being gay is not a choice, and that it is in great part biologically and genetically based. Although some Conservatives still argue that being gay is a choice, most, including many in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, have finally come to view sexual orientation as something that is not a choice and that it is essentially an unchangeable part of who a person is. Much if the evidence presented will be familiar to anyone who has studied the topic in any detail, and includes reference to high concordance values for monozygotic twins, the male birth order effect and the latest epigenetic theories of how same-sex orientation might develop. It is often the recognition that being gay is not a choice that helps people become more accepting of gays. In spite of this, Meyers maintains that it is still important to show that there is no valid argument to consider gay relations morally wrong, which is what he proceeds to show over the remaining chapters.

The first argument against same-sex relations, and arguably one of the most often used, is that it is unnatural, and therefore, being unnatural, it is wrong. This argument, according to Meyers, has two flaws, first, it is not clear under what criteria same-sex relations are to be considered unnatural. If one looks to the animal world, homosexuality occurs in essentially all animals at about the same rates as in humans. To show how difficult it is to make the “unnatural” argument stick, Meyers says this:

Of course, proponents of the SNL [simple natural law] argument against homosexuality might insist that these animals are not truly gay [emphasis by author]. They may engage in same-sex relations, but not in the ways that humans do. That is probably true. But this fact works more to undermine the SNL argument than to support it. For the same can be said for heterosexuality. Nonhuman animals may engage in heterosexual activities but not in the same ways that humans do. (For one thing, these opposite-sex nonhuman animal couples do not get married.) Most human behaviors—such as eating, grooming, playing—differ in significant and important ways from analogous behaviors in nonhuman animals. Thus, the claim that homosexuality is unnatural, in the sense of not existing in nonhuman animals, fails one way or another. It is either false, incoherent, or morally irrelevant.

Meyers then proceeds to show that even if same-sex relations were determined to be unnatural, this would still not necessarily make them morally wrong, since humans do many artificial (i.e. unnatural) things that are clearly not morally wrong.

A more sophisticated argument is the “New Natural Law” argument (NNL):

There are three key features of the NNL argument: 1) claims about the intrinsic nature, or essence, of marriage and sex, 2) a list of basic goods that constitute human flourishing (which includes marriage or those goals inherent in the nature of marriage), and 3) the view that the role of government is to promote and facilitate the achievement of these basic goods.

This argument views marriage as a “natural kind” in a platonic sense. and Meyers spends a considerable amount of effort elucidating why it is difficult to define marriage in this way. His main argument against this approach is to point out that natural kinds are usually defined based on observation and description, which means that in the case of marriage, this would depend on the constraints of linguistic and social conventions. Thus, if the definition of marriage were to be expanded to include same-sex marriages, this would simply be incorporated into what makes marriage what it is.

Of course, opponents of same-sex marriage have developed even more sophisticated arguments, the best of which were used in the recent arguments before the Supreme Court. One of these is the teleological argument that genitals are designed for reproduction, and therefore any other uses they are put to are morally wrong. Firstly, as should be obvious to anyone who understands human sexuality, the genitals clearly also play the role of allowing for sexual bonding. Secondly, even if the primary purpose of the genitals were reproduction, this would not automatically mean that other uses to which they might be put would be morally wrong. Of course, opponents of same-sex marriage further up the ante by using an argument Meyers describes as NNL teleology, which further proscribes the boundaries of marriage, introducing not only the idea that reproduction is the primary goal of marriage, but that it is so in the context of a “two-in-one-flesh” construct. In other words, the only acceptable context in which sex should be allowed is to enable the bodily union of two individuals in “one flesh” for the purpose of creating offspring.

As should be obvious, and was apparent in arguments made by gay marriage proponents before the Supreme Court, such a circumscribed view of marriage would mean that only fully fertile couples could marry on moral grounds, since if they are not fertile they cannot produce offspring. This would preclude not only same-sex marriages, but also marriages between older couples, where the woman has already gone through menopause, as well as marriages where the couple never plan to have any children. In fact these arguments even would prohibit the use of birth control, oral sex, masturbation and any other sexual activity that does not normally lead to conception. It is no wonder that both Meyers and the Supreme Court have effectively countered the NNL teleology argument.

In many ways the remaining arguments refuted by Meyers are much easier to counter, but in the interests of thoroughness, Meyers forges on. One of the more common arguments that many times is expressed by the average lay person is that gay relations just “feel” morally wrong. When pressured to explain, a person will say that they do not have any solid moral reason they can identify, but it just feels wrong. This kind of argument is what is often referred to as moral dumbfounding, and psychological research has shown that such arguments are often based on the emotional feelings around disgust. Since gay sex is often considered disgusting, the subconscious then assumes that it must be wrong. Disgust can sometimes help us avoid doing something dangerous, like eating spoiled food or contaminated water, but it is also a very poor guide for making moral decisions. Meyers does an excellent job of showing why this is the case.

The remaining arguments are what can commonly be considered practical or political arguments against same-sex relations. These include slippery slope arguments, health issues, effects on the civil rights of others and negative influences on children. Many of these remain prominent reasons why some still oppose same-sex marriage.

The slippery slope arguments postulate that acceptance of same-sex marriage will result in the easier or inevitable acceptance of bestiality, polygamy and incest. Meyers points out that each of these practices is qualitatively different and none is a logical consequence of the acceptance of same-sex marriage, since each of these have very cogent moral arguments against them.

Meyers concludes his refutations by tackling the supposed negative effects that same-sex marriage has on society, according to critics, namely, that it will weaken the institution of marriage and it will negatively affect children. Much as the Supreme Court found, Meyers sees no clear-cut weakening effect of heterosexual marriage caused by same-sex marriage. One of the more prominent arguments used by critics is that by redefining marriage as being based on love, rather than procreation and child-rearing, the bonds of marriage will be weaker and people will be more likely divorce. In almost humorous fashion, Meyers shares statistics that show that states that have previously legalized same-sex marriage have lower divorce rates than states that maintained a ban on same-sex marriages (prior to the Supreme Court ruling).

It does not take too much thought to see how weak this argument is. Sure, couples will sometimes stay married “for the sake of the kids,” but is that a good thing in terms of marriage stability? Marriages that stay together primarily for the sake of the kids typically represent cases where the parental relationships are poor, and not uncommonly, once the kids grow up the parents divorce. To say that such a pattern is a good thing is dubious, at best, and if there are no kids, then maybe it is better for a couple to divorce if their relationship is so poor. Ultimately, this argument assumes that divorce is always bad and anything that prevents it is good. On the flip side, if a couple does have a solid marriage relationship based on mutual love and respect, they will likely stay married, whether or not children are involved.

Another way that same-sex marriage could affect the institution of marriage is that gays that are now in a heterosexual marriage might decide to divorce and seek out a same-sex partner. Again, this argument assumes that it is better for a gay person to stay in a heterosexual marriage, in spite of the fact that the data suggest that such marriages are often of very low quality, with the couples rarely happy. Although the acceptance of same-sex marriage might cause an initial spate of divorces of this sort, the availability and acceptance of same-sex marriage would probably prevent many such marriages from occurring in the first place as time goes on.

That same-sex marriage is damaging to children is also laid to rest. Numerous studies of children raised by same-sex parents have shown that these children are at least as well adjusted as children raised by heterosexual parents, and are also better adjusted than children raised by single parents. Even the claim by some critics, that children raised by same-sex parents will be more likely to become gay themselves has been dispelled by statistics that show no such trend. Children of gay parents are just as likely to be gay (or not) as children of heterosexual parents.

Meyers closes the book with a chapter presenting arguments in favor of gay marriage and gay rights generally. Central to this is his contention that marriage is a good thing, regardless of the sexes of the partners, because it promotes happiness and well-being. He then presents moral arguments in favor of gay marriage and gay rights, including that it is the duty of society to promote happiness (and prevent suffering), to respect autonomy and to promote virtue, and closes with political arguments based on the principles of liberty, personal rights (including the personal right to marry) and antidiscrimination.

Although Meyers is not explicitly challenging churches to uphold these same principles within their organizations, his comprehensive refutations of arguments that same-sex relations are morally wrong, and his positive moral arguments in favor of same-sex marriage and gay rights, using clear principles from moral philosophy, do still challenge churches such as the Seventh-day Adventist Church to reconsider long-held views. The Adventist Church has traditionally held that same-sex relations are wrong, even in the context of monogamy, and same-sex marriage for church members is indirectly prohibited in Fundamental Belief #23 which states that “marriage was divinely established in Eden and affirmed by Jesus to be a lifelong union between a man and a woman in loving companionship.” By limiting the definition of marriage to include only heterosexual couples, it is clear that same-sex marriage is prohibited.

In light of the arguments put forward by Meyers, and others, and the decision of the Supreme Court to bar states from prohibiting same-sex marriage, it may be time to reexamine or stance toward same-sex marriage within the Seventh-day Adventist Church as well.

Bryan Ness is a Professor of Biology at Pacific Union College.

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/7317

Anyone can bring good reasons for anything, but are we to follow man or God? We must never let the world change us from God’s teachings as a church if we don’t stand on God’s word then we are nothing, especially not a Christian Church!


Unless ALL of God’s teachings, including the many that no one today observes, no matter how pious, using God’s reasoning in this way is hypocritical. No one here always wears clothing made of only one product; no one here who grows plants never mixes two different ones in a garden and certainly, no one refuses sitting next to a menstruating woman! Those are only a few of God’s commands that no one observes today, other than Orthodox Jews.

Christ, who is our model gave no word against same sex marriage, just as many ideas since the canon was closed that are said to be from “God’s Word” but are silent. It is only a moral problem because it offends their definition of morals, but not found in scripture. But there is much He left us on accepting everyone who also accepted Him…


It is imperative, from the outset, that the issue of moral conduct as defined by God’s written counsel be distinguished from the definition of civil rights in a non-theocratic state. The Biblical argument against homosexual practice is clear, on the basis of Scripture’s definition of the divine image in humanity as comprising male/female intimacy (Gen. 1:27). But the same Bible also declares, in the words of Jesus, that His kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36), thus placing any secular political intrusion into matters of consensual intimacy outside the limits of the Christian agenda.

For one who holds the Bible to be God’s transcendent measure of human ideas and behavior, a problem invariably arises when morality is defined apart from Scripture and thus used as a means of measuring and judging Scripture. For the Christian, whatever is enjoined or condemned by the collective testimony of Scripture is the ultimate moral standard by which one’s faith and life is ordered (see Isa. 8:20; Acts 17:11; II Tim. 3:16). To step outside the limits set by the written Word is thus to forfeit one’s claim to the Christian worldview.

At the same time, the blurring of the line between—as Roger Williams once put it—between the garden of the church and the wilderness of the world so far as consensual morality and civil government are concerned, has served to poison the well for many honest observers who might otherwise give the Christian worldview a fair hearing. The end-time focus of classic Seventh-day Adventism on sanctified, consistent commandment-keeping (Rev. 12:17; 14:12) in contrast with the coercion of the conscience through state power as practiced by apostate Christianity (Rev. 14:8; 17:2), offers humanity the ultimate choice between the heart-based purity sought by God from His children and the superficial, surface piety imposed by the Antichrist system.


Thank you Bryan Ness for such a wonderful review of a book I will have to read!
I thoroughly agree with the author. My understanding of Christianity is that it is based on loving one another. And not judging other people. That is the job of our very generous, kind leader Jesus and God.
Although some still quote Scripture to say homosexuality is wrong, as has been shown many times before, the quotes/arguments are misinterpreted. You can’t use one argument in the Old or New Testament and leave out others.
No where in Scripture does it denounce same sex loving committed relationships. It does denounce pedophelia, rape and being unloving and being judgmental. I so wish we could be about including everyone in a loving way instead of being judgmental and exclusive. Exclusivity is a sin in my opinion.
Jesus excluded no one and welcomed everyone. I prefer that way to live than to judge. Too bad the church misses the boat so mucheck in this regard. It is a dinasour in terms of showing love, thus losing so many members, confusing the message of love with a message of exclusion. The church won’t grow based on hate, which is the current model I see being used.
So glad for this thorough book of moral direction.


Thank you Bryan for this excellent summation of Chris Meyers’ book . Iam hurrying to purchase such sound , and I dare say true Biblical reasoning and morality.

I wonder though why Myers uses the term Homosexuality ? And not "same sex attraction " Heterosexuality and Homosexuality are terms coined by Karl Maria Kertbeny an Austrian novel writer in 1860 see : https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl-Maria_Kertbeny

Because homosexuality is only a recently coined term not ever mentioned in the Bible except that only American Evangelical Homophobic Bible translators took Karl Maria’s Kerbenys newly coined phrase and began their hatefull incorrect and malicious interpretation in hating same sex attracted people, families and couples. Thereby breaking one of the Ten Commandments about " not bearing false witness."

( Contrast this with The Netherlands were same sex attraction were decriminalised in 1791 under the Napoleonic Code Penal, Myers therefore argues his case purely from an American stance )

The outcome of all this immoral hate and division hate can be seen in the GOP which is now representing the "Christian voice Party of America " operating on a platform of fear and ignorance hating same sex people and annulling Equal Marriage, unfortunately Adventist are implicated in this sorry Republican saga , by having the dull witted and not too politically bright, homophobe extremist Ben Carson.

Contrast this with the morality of Jewish Atheist Presidential candidate Bernie Saunders whose message of total inclusion of all Americans regardless of sexual orientation, colour, race , creed, has struck a cord with the Milinials of America, including thousands of Adventist Youth who have caught Bernie’s vision of total inclusion of Gay people including the sharing of wealth…Bernie is what a Christian should be is what Adventist should be …practicing the Christian admonition of “having all things in common.”


Yes, Keith, I wondered the same. I chalk it up to him being an outsider coming to the table. As I said in the review, the term is “clinically” correct, but not very thoughtful and respectful of the gay community. If the book had not been as good as it is otherwise, I might have skipped reviewing it, but after reading just the first few chapters, I was impressed enough to look past the terminology. He has set himself up for some misunderstanding from the gay community, and I would have thought his publisher might have questioned his word choice. Maybe he thought gay rights opponents would be more likely to read it? Who knows.

Oh well, it is what it is.

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Thanks to the monumental work of straight couple, Daneen Akers and Stephen Eyer, producers of the movie Seventh Gay Advenitists, the denomination has radically moved towards more gay/lesbian acceptance.

Akers and Eyer should be awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Adventist Academy Awards, a deserved “Oscar”.
Instead, they have been blacklisted from denominational employment!

Until the very recent past, the majority of the denomination promoted the idea that gays/lesbians deliberately chose their orientation. Huge blame, guilt and derision was heaped upon them for this supposed deliberate decision. The converse, that what was chosen could be reversed, led to the concept of conversion therapy.

Decades after the Colin Cook fiasco in Reading Pennsylvania, where the church wasted huge amounts of tithe payer dollars, in trying to change gays to straight, the notion still persisted that change was possible.

Even today, the church expends huge resources in parading around the planet, three aging gay men who previously advocated "change " but now call it “redemption”.
Having sown their "wild oats " for years (one even admits to being a gay prostitute), as their declining testosterone values, and need for Viagra/Cialis kicks in, they have finally found “redemption”. I label it for what it is, lowered sex drive from age and previous substance abuse ( which several admit to).

Be that as it may, Adventism, except for a few homophobic diehards, has largely accepted the mainstream view, long endorsed by both American Psychology Association and American Psychiatic Association, that orientation is not a choice nor is it changeable.

The one remaining hurdle for Adventism is same sex marriage.

Since our founding the anti- Catholic stance of the church has heaped scorn on the celibacy of nuns and priests. But there is a considerable difference between Catholoc celibacy and gay celibacy.

The Catholic priests/nuns make a deliberate, calculated, ADULT, informed CHOICE when they take their vows. Our gay/lesbian Adventist offspring have NO choice in their orientation.

The Catholic priests/nuns, live in large supportive communal convents/monasteries/homes, with much conviviality, companionship, camaraderie and mutual support. Our celibate gay/lesbian offspring are asked to spend a lifetime in solitude and loneliness.

The priests/nuns in return for the vows, have life-long shelter, food, and medical care .

They also have the ADULATION of their families and their parishioners.
Even our celibate gays/lesbians face ostracism, shunning, disparagement, and scorn. Amd while their straight siblings/cousins marry attorneys, accountants, architects, and anesthesiologists, leading to an affluent life style, the celibate gays/lesbians not only lack a high earning spouse, but could end up homeless, without an earning partner should he/she lose employment.

Our pastors/administrators when widowed, are frequently re-married within a year, because they cannot tolerate the loneliness and lack of a companion.
These same brethren demand a life time of companion less loneliness for our
gay/lesbian offspring.

Surely, the PARAMOUNT moral defense of homosexuality, is that a truly compassionate and loving creator, the one who emphatically stated: it is not
good that man live alone, should impose involuntary lifelong loneliness and lack of companionship, on humans who have done no wrong, made no false choice, and just deserve the same romance, love, intimacy, fellowship as their straight siblings.



Since I have not read the book, it’s difficult to comment accurately. My first thought is that I would ask Chris Meyers regarding morality and scripture that if an individual or group followed all of the Biblical texts accurately, does that give them the moral right to discriminate?

If I were an Orthodox Jew or extremely religiously strict Adventist; only wore clothing of one material, ate kosher or vegetarian, etc., etc.; then based on my religious observances, does that give me the moral right to deny housing to same sex couples at an apartment complex that I own or manage? Could I deny them the right to stay at my bed & breakfast or eat at my restaurant? Could I deny those rights to unmarried couples for those same reasons?

Later Brian Ness recounts from the book various intimate practices that may be current in today’s culture as a reason why the argument that homosexuality should not be considered immoral including birth control and various sexual-related activities that are not strictly about conceiving a child. However, there are various religious groups including some SDA’s for which those activities are considered to be immoral and/or sinful (i.e. they still teach in SDA schools against masturbation). Some groups are even against birth control such as the Quiverfull Movement and loosely the Catholic Church. Do those groups have the license to discriminate based upon their beliefs?

The article also briefly touches upon the slippery slope argument. That opening the door for SSM, also opens the door for incest, multiple marriage, and more. Meyers (in this article) dismisses those as being different. I’ll argue that some of them are different such as incest where there is a medical issue with children born of that union, or relations with underage or other issues of non-consent. However, multiple spouses (bigamy, polygamy, polyamory) between consenting adults I think would fit all of Meyers’ moral tests.

While I find the biblical arguments against SSM (which is really against same sex practices and relationships, not just marriage) to be unacceptable for me personally, I don’t see that this book does a good job at making the case that the Seventh-day Adventist Church should change it’s position on same sex relations. Of course I say that knowing that our church can’t even accept the fact that woman has the ability to pastor a church either.


Thanks for this review, Dr. Ness. This looks like an excellent contribution to the reading list of those willing to think and reflect more.


I still have my doubts about the homosexual lifestyle not being harmful. How can we be so sure about this? I mean not only unharmful in the moment but unharmful in the long run for the individual and society as a whole? And I also doubt that his moral code is valid. Why should it be? Or what makes it valid?
May be I should add, that I don’t see any problems to make a life long committment between two male or female partners like David and Jonathan. But why this committment should involve sex and should be treated the same as marriage, I don’t see any reason for. But I am still open for good arguments.

It may give them the moral right to discriminate, but does it give them the legal right? Our legal system is now engaged in that very battle: sorting out the balance of rights in light of the same sex marriage decision. MOST Christians are not seeking to discriminate against the person, but seek relief from having to engage in the ceremony with their business. Some states allow religious people to discriminate in housing up to a certain size of faucility that is owned and operated by a religious proprietor. If Jesus doesn’t come before then we are looking at decades of adjudication to sort this balance of rights out.

The One of the huge PURPOSES and RESULTS of Marriage, at least in the eyes of Same Sex Persons is the ability to Emancipate themselves LEGALLY from Parents, Family, Next of Kin.
The Marriage Document MAKES their Marriage Partner their NEXT OF KIN. The NEW Next of Kin now has the ONLY voice as to what to do with each others bodies in sickness, in health, in DEATH. The NEW Next of Kin is the ONLY recipient of tangible goods each hold and held in common.
The OLD Next of Kin can no longer refuse the partner to visit in the hospital. Can no longer refuse to allowed to attend the funeral. Will no longer be allowed to EVICT the surviving partner with only a few clothes and not have access to shared property each purchased together.
YES, MARRIAGE ability is VERY important!

You MUST be married, or at least married at some time in your life. So you can understand the NEED for TOUCH! Hugging, caressing, kissing, one person’s hands stroking the other’s body. This is only Part of Love, but it is an Important Part of Love and expressing Love. Whether it is a girl and boy, or two of the same gender it makes no difference when it comes to True Love. And especially when 2 have decided on "till Death do us part."
THIS is NOT Homosexual Lifestyle NOR is it Heterosexual Lifestyle ------- It is LOVE Lifestyle.

Regarding long term relationships being harmful. I did NOT address that. However I have known a number of Same Sex in long term relationships of anywhere from 10 to 55 years. Their relationship did not harm anyone. Several have had adopted children, and that was very good for the children. The children all attended Sunday School. Love their adopted parents and their adopted grand parents. One couple is pastor of a Sunday Church. Well loved and has an open ended contract for the next 20 years [when he will be required to “retire” by denomination policy.


It is presumptuous to assume, based on those facts alone, that Chris has no personal axe to grind. “Very little” might yet include, say, one close friend or relative–or other cause for which he has been handed the proverbial axe.

Philosophy is simply a study of human wisdom. The Bible calls human wisdom “foolishness with God.” How, then, can being a philosopher qualify someone to speak of moral issues, even if one claims to study “moral philosophy”?

I’ve lost more than one good job opportunity because I keep the Sabbath. While technically this amounts to “discrimination” under the law, I chose, as a Christian, to meekly look elsewhere for work. After all, how can the world see Jesus in someone who forces his or her way into the workplace via the strong arm of the law?

The question really becomes–whose law will he follow? God’s or man’s? The Bible tells us which we should follow whenever the two conflict.

Race is not a moral issue. Political affiliation is not a matter that concerns religion. Religion is a matter of conscience. But sexual “orientation” is a matter of God’s immutable law, and inherently, therefore, a moral issue.

On this I would agree. Sin is transgression of the law of God.

He missed the most important point: Sin is transgression of the law.

That’s because he went astray in point #2, such that, having missed the most critical definition of a moral wrong, some moral wrongs might slip past his notice, as he has here exemplified.

Conclusions based upon false premises become logical fallacies. If one were to use this same sort of reasoning which is exhibited here to apply to the Jim Jones’ “Drinking the Kool-Aid” experience, it would also be seen as “not morally wrong.” The “mutually consenting adults” in that case all agreed to drink poison, and killed themselves. But can we say that God blesses such obvious destruction of the body temples which He has made?

The fact that people “no longer consider” something to be morally wrong does not make it right by force of popular opinion. Again, basing a moral issue on the collective view of society seems a rather precarious foundation upon which to build. Since when was any sinful human society or culture inherently “moral”?

ALL of this reminds me of the simple story of Jesus about the two builders. All of us build. Every day we are building. Are we building upon the Rock? or will we build upon the shifting sands?


I think Carrol Grady’s study of Adventist attitudes toward homosexuality (now removed from the Adventist Today blog) bears revisiting:

The study was based on 441 completed surveys from members of 38 churches scattered across the U.S., and reflected reasonably well the denomination’s demography in terms of age, ethnicity (though whites a bit overrepresented), gender, and sexual orientation. Respondents self-identified as onservative or very conservative (31%), moderate (44%), or liberal (25%). Although unmeasured response bias always exists in surveys, comparisons from question to question offer meaningful comparisons. I’m condensing the actual wording of questions asked about homosexuals and homosexuality:

Results from factors beyond voluntary control: 45% agreed
Can be changed to heterosexuals: 55% agreed
Would welcome to my church: 94% agreed
Insist couple must separate before baptism: 48% agreed
Allowed to be members in good standing: 53% agreed
Allowed to serve as SS leaders or teachers: 29% agreed
Allowed to share musical talents in churches: 80% agreed
SDAs should politically oppose legal gay marriage: 56% agreed
Same rights to equal employment and housing: 77% agreed
Bible condemns homosexuality as sin: 86% agreed

Demographic variables statistically associated with attitudes (in order of strength):

  • liberal respondents
  • those more acquanted with gay men
  • younger respondents
  • white respondents
  • women
  • those who live in the northeast

There is no comparable study from an earlier time, so I wish the authors had asked another question or two about whether the respondent’s views had changed over time. Nevertheless, I’m confident, as others here have proposed, that SDAs are becoming increasingly tolerant and accepting of LGBTs and their rights.


Marianne, I see you repeatedly working the slippery slope angle here to the point of what some would call “concern trolling”. You are raising hypothetical dilemmas before they exit.

As altruistic as it may sound, children certainly are not guaranteed any particular right to have both a mother and a father. Life doesn’t always work out that way. I believe what is ultimately important is that a child has at least one dedicated parent or caretaker regardless of the biological link. In my opinion, if the child has two, all the better, no matter if the parents are the same or opposite sexes. Research seems to indicate that children of same sex couples can be every bit as well adjusted as those of opposite sex couples. Just because parents are of opposite sexes does not guarantee success in this regard. We have plenty of evidence that dysfunctional heterosexual relationships can have devastating impacts on the children they produce.

Your arguments were featured prominently in the court cases leading up to the SCOTUS decision in Oberfell. They were rejected.


But, of course, we’ve also seen court decisions made that may be more related to one’s access to/money for more skilled legal counsel rather than that a biological parent is totally unfit for parenting.

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Thank-you Brian for this lengthy blog. As a gay man who has tried to live as a straight man all my life, even marrying a woman and staying together 33 years, I see the damage it has done to me psychologically, to live in a closet and hide my true identity until recently. Gays have been favorite whipping boys by those who demean and marginalize us. Never has so much scorn been aimed by so many at so few. As more of us come out of the closet, I believe it really puts some flesh on what some folks just don’t want to accept, that gays are as normal as anyone else. So this book that you review here is a good starting point, and I hope the momentum builds for full inclusion of lgbt’s in the church as much as straights now enjoy.


Ithink there is a difference between moral and legal. I think the Court ruled on the legal basis, primarily to protect property rights morallity is is how we interact with others. shunning for any perceived cause is immoral. Christ ate with tax collectors and sinners. A big deal in those days. Acceptance is not the same as endorsement. I did humanitarian work at a V A hospital. the vast majority were there because of post war abuse. The major part of my visits was to listen. that is a major part of God’s work to listen. In many languages yet. TZ


As a point of information it should be noted that Lev. 18 and 20 are accepted as moral standards in the NT.

Paul quotes from the list in I Cor 5 and 6, and John the Baptist in his rebuke to Herod (He was living with his brother’s wife). And most scholars see this list alluded to in the prohibitions of pornia in other places. To ignore the fact that gay relations are forbidden by the NT is to wander from the opinions of the writers.

It is inconvenient that the Bible condemns same sex relations, for it goes against our evolving culture. We are going to take some heat. But to abandon scripture will result in taking more heat in the end. We do so at our eternal peril.

One other point, it is clear from the comments here that same sex marriage leads to the practice of adopting the idea that any other type of sexual relationship between anyone can be called marriage. Therefore the term marriage becomes meaningless. Some gay advocates of about 20 yrs ago had that very goal in mind.

And, the violation of the body by gay relations is a sanctity issue. It is the degradation of the body by inappropriate behavior. This is the view of nonwestern cultures by and large, and the view of western cultures until recently. See Haidt.