The Homosexual Movement
Whose love? Which marriage?
The March 1994 issue of First Things featured an article titled “The Homosexual Movement.” It was a position paper produced by the Ramsey Colloquium, a group of scholars and public intellectuals from a variety of academic disciplines. Many of the document’s signers (Hadley Arkes, Gilbert Meilaender, and Robert George, to name a few) have appeared on past issues of the MARS HILL AUDIO Journal. The purpose of the paper was to point out the flaws in what we have come to recognize, two decades later, as the determined and largely successful push to normalize same-sex behavior.
The Colloquium made a much neglected point in its paper about the definition of the word “love”:
There are legitimate and honorable forms of love other than marriage. Indeed, one of the goods at stake in today's disputes is a long-honored tradition of friendship between men and men, women and women, women and men. In the current climate of sexualizing and politicizing all intense interpersonal relationships, the place of sexually chaste friendship and of religiously motivated celibacy is gravely jeopardized.
Far from expanding the definition of love to include previously marginalized groups, current habits of thought have actually narrowed it dramatically.
Men have always been allowed, and even encouraged, to love other men in a real and deep way – such love used to be called friendship, and Aristotle ranked it as one of the highest virtues a person could attain. But if what the Colloquium suggested is true, then proponents of same-sex marriage have essentially declared all love to be rooted in sexual desire. Affirming the goodness of many forms of homosexual love (such as friendship), then, while at the same time denying members of the same sex the right to express that love sexually is seen as a complete contradiction.
Many thinkers over the past few decades have, like the Ramsey Colloquium, given the lie to modernity’s claims of unprecedented freedom and liberation. Particularly in the realm of language, modernity has been terribly tyrannical; words like love and marriage, which in the Christian faith have had such depth and richness of meaning, become reduced to one aspect and squeezed into a blunt and narrow ideology.
The intensity of the debates on homosexuality has escalated considerably in the two decades since the Ramsey Colloquium put forth their opinion on the subject, but its arguments still hold a great deal of weight.