Gay Marriage and Defense of Traditional Marriage: A Breakpoint Compendium

Charles Colson

Charles "Chuck" Colson is infamous as one of the Watergate break-in felons. Ever since becoming a follower of Christ soon after his incarceration (1973), he founded Prison Fellowship and several ancillary ministries to work with offenders, their families and crime vicitms. According to, "Today, the efforts of Nixon's former hatchet man have made a huge dent in the lives of countless prisoners and prisoners' children, and have even influenced federal criminal justice legislation. President Bush referred often to Prison Fellowship's InnerChange Freedom Initiative Program when calling for support for faith-based initiatives. The prolific conservative has also published 38 books which have captured the hearts of millions of Americans over the last 25 years." He and his staff also write Breakpoint, a daily commentary aired on more than 1000 radio stations nationwide, as of 2003. Colson has received numerous humanitarian awards, including the coveted Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion.

The following Breakpoint commentaries all speak to the issue of gay marriage and its impact on traditional marriage and society as a whole:

The 'Love' That Won't Keep Quiet : The Gay Moment

July 29, 2003

Homosexuality was once called "the love that dare not speak its name." Nowadays, it won't keep quiet. Hardly a day goes by that doesn't bring fresh evidence of the increased social acceptance of homosexuality.

The recent Supreme Court decision that overturned Texas's law against sodomy is only one more example of this trend. Justice Kennedy's statement that such laws reveal a "bias" against homosexuals reflects this growing acceptance.

It isn't only the courts. Following on the success of "reality" television shows like The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, Bravo announced its take on dating shows: Boy Meets Boy. Once again, a contestant will choose from many potential suitors. Only this time, all of the show's participants will be men.

Viewers of this year's Tony Awards witnessed a kiss between two male winners and heard a speech about how gays should be allowed to marry. These events led New York Times columnist Frank Rich to call the "gay rights movement" a "juggernaut."

Well, he's right, but the question Christians need to ask is, "How did we get here?" The answer lies in our changing beliefs about sex and personal autonomy.

Historically, sex served two important purposes: procreation and promoting spousal unity. While these may not have always been honored in the observance, no one doubted that these were the purposes of sex.

What's more, it's important to note that this belief went beyond purely personal concerns and had social implications. Society had an obvious interest in the birth of children and the stability of the families that raised them. The well being and perpetuation of the community depended on this institution.

But all of this changed with the sexual revolution. Instead of serving moral and social purposes, sex's overriding purpose was to bring pleasure to those having sex. We see that in all of the literature and all of the discussions through the sexual revolution years. Within that worldview, it became difficult, if not impossible, to judge the morality of any sexual act between consenting adults. Once you determine consent, there is nothing left to say.

This suits our culture's obsession with personal autonomy perfectly. It's not just that people want to be free to do as they please, they want to live their lives without any scrutiny at all, especially in sexual matters. In this context, merely suggesting that something is wrong is a form of "coercion" and, thus, prohibited.

It's these attitudes, and the worldview that produces them, that have fueled the gay-rights movement. It rolls on because it resonates with what many Americans believe. And that means that the only way to slow it down is to change the terms of the debate: to once again establish that we are not lower than the animal species, that sex is not for recreation—it is for procreation.

As Jennifer Roback Morse, the eminent Stanford economist, has argued so eloquently, we must recapture this understanding of the natural order of sex's purpose in our culture. Christians have to step forward and make this case. And until we do, there will be no stopping the gay rights "juggernaut."

Our Last, Best Option: The Federal Marriage Amendment

July 11, 2003 

The gay-rights movement is advancing like, as one gay activist put it, a juggernaut. First, Canada by judicial fiat legalized same-sex "marriage," and gay couples rushed to Canada to get "married." Second, in the Lawrence decision two weeks ago, the U.S. Supreme Court by judicial fiat struck down the Texas law prohibiting sodomy that makes consensual sex a protected right and sets the precedent for gay "marriage." And third, the Massachusetts Supreme Court by judicial fiat will likely legalize same-sex unions in that state—a ruling that could lead to a domino effect nationwide [since this broadcast, the court did indeed rule in favor of gay marriage].

For centuries civilizations worldwide protected heterosexual families because sex, in the natural order of things, is for procreation. But since the sexual revolution, we've treated sex as recreation, and now people are demanding it like a civil right, and they are succeeding. Gay "marriage" is on the horizon.

And some Christians believe that the battle is lost. There was hardly a protest over the Supreme Court case, one friend told me. And he said, "Face it, Chuck. You can't stop this juggernaut."

Oh, yeah? I'm reminded of the Battle of the Bulge in World War II. The Allied troops were surrounded, and their situation seemed hopeless. The Germans sent a message to the American general Anthony McAuliffe, asking him to surrender and save lives. His answer lives on in American folklore: "Us, surrender? Nuts."

Well, I say we do not rub our hands in despair. I say "nuts" to those who want to give up. Let's roll up our sleeves and get busy.

There is one thing left that could stop the gay "marriage" steamroller. It's a Constitutional amendment. And there's one prepared that says: "Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman."

I've been a little bit lukewarm to this idea because it's such a huge task to get a Constitutional amendment passed, but recent events have changed my mind. This is our last, best option.

The purpose of the Federal Marriage Amendment, according to Dr. Robert George of Princeton University who helped draft it, is to take the decision about same-sex "marriage" out of the hands of the courts. The amendment will force the fight over marriage into legislatures and the democratic process.

And we can succeed, if Christians and others who value marriage refuse to lay down their arms and go to work.

Obviously, you need to talk to your senators and congressman about getting them to support the amendment. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) has already announced his support. There's no reason this can't pass in this Congress. Then it will go to the states for ratification where our work will be cut out for us.

I don't want you just to make phone calls, however. I want you to start educating yourselves and your neighbors as to why heterosexual marriage is distinct. No society in history has ever tried this kind of radical social experiment. It's madness.

And we can make an intelligent case, but only if BreakPoint listeners are equipped with the worldview arguments to present it prudentially to their neighbors. So please call us here at BreakPoint (1-877-3-CALLBP). We'd like to send you information you can use. Then, let's go to work. I know it sounds extreme, but I believe nothing less than the survival of our culture is at stake.

To ‘Promote the General Welfare’:  Marriage and the Common Good

October 14, 2003

“Losing [the debate about marriage] means losing marriage as a social institution, a shared public norm,” writes columnist Maggie Gallagher. “The question is not whether this is a battle we can win, but whether it is a battle we can afford to lose.”

Gallagher is right. As we fight this battle to keep the definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman, we have to be careful to articulate the value of marriage in ways that make sense to the general public. That’s why this week has been designated “Marriage Protection Week,” and it’s why Breakpoint is focusing this week on the benefits of marriage.

Recently Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania (R) spoke at the Heritage Foundation about the “Necessity of Marriage.”

He began by reminding his audience that one of the purposes of government, laid out in the Preamble to the Constitution, is to “promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”

The “general welfare” is not about individual gain, said Santorum, but about the common good—what is beneficial to all Americans. In contrast, the so-called “right to privacy,” which has been at the heart of many of the Supreme Court’s recent decisions, has only self-interest in mind. The right to privacy—which is not even in the Constitution, but rather has been “found” by an activist court—started with the sexual revolution and has led to many so-called “rights” that are similarly self-centered. These include abortion and, now, with the Supreme Court’s recent Lawrence decision, the right to any form of consensual sex. Santorum called the right to privacy a “me-centered” right.

In contrast, he said, marriage promotes the general welfare; it’s good for all of society. Promoting two-parent male/female marriages “affirms what the founders understood, promoting the common good.” Marriage itself illustrates this when spouses seek “to give of themselves to each other, rather than being self-interested.”

And the social benefits of marriage go on. According to a Heritage Foundation Center for Data Analysis Report, “child poverty would be nearly a third lower today if the traditional two-parent family had not deteriorated over the past three decades.” Marriage, according to a 1994 Justice Department report, also reduces the risk that both men and women will become victims of violence.

And, of course, marriages sustain the nation’s population, providing a future workforce. In Japan and many European countries, as people opt for singleness or for childless marriages, the growing elderly populations have too few young people working to support them.

Santorum acknowledged that the institution of marriage faces a lot of problems—problems like divorce and domestic violence. “But that doesn’t mean we should weaken it further” by redefining marriage to accommodate same-sex relationships, he said. It means instead that we need to shore it up and promote the “right way” to do marriage.

Please call us here at Breakpoint (1-877-3-CALLBP) so that we can send you more information on Marriage Protection Week. This is crucially important. After all, as Maggie Gallagher put it, “marriage is a word for the way we join men and women to make the future happen.”

Doing Your Own Thing
Why Same-Sex ‘Marriage’ Undermines Family Stability

November 26, 2003

As you heard Mark Earley report on this broadcast last week, when the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court called for the state legislature to endorse same-sex “marriages,” the judges claimed that they were doing this in the interest of family stability. The court’s decision reads, in part, “Civil marriage anchors an ordered society by encouraging stable relationships over transient ones. It is central to the way the Commonwealth identifies individuals, provides for the orderly distribution of property, [and] insures that children and adults are cared for and supported whenever possible from private rather than public funds.” In other words, the court has equated gay “marriage” and traditional marriage by implying that both of them can do all of these things equally well.

The fact is that the court’s decision undermines family stability rather than strengthening it. As Maggie Gallagher, author of several books on marriage, points out, “For thirty years, the sexual revolutionaries have said, ‘Heck, kids are resilient; the important thing is that you do what makes you happy.’ By rewriting the laws of marriage, the courts have essentially carried this logic to the ultimate conclusion: Marriage is whatever the adults want. People have a right to conduct a great social experiment on children because, well, adults want to do it, and doing your own thing is the new law of the land.”

Gallagher is right. If we define marriage as “whatever the adults want,” the result is harm for children, society, and for the consenting adults. This the advocates of gay “marriage” refuse to concede.

They ignore two things: the fundamental differences between heterosexual and homosexual relationships and the nature of marriage itself. Same-sex “marriage” advocates often conveniently fail to mention the high rates of promiscuity in even the most “committed,” so-called, homosexual relationships. Numerous studies have shown that homosexuals simply look at their relationships differently—one well-known study discovered that only 4.5 percent of homosexual respondents in “committed” relationships had been faithful. The redefinition of marriage to include relationships with such high rates of infidelity will reshape the way we see all marriages.

And this leads directly to the other point: Same-sex “marriage” advocates fail to understand marriage. It is not simply a union of two people. It is the union of one man and one woman, who by nature complement and help to fulfill each other, and who in most cases are capable of having children without resorting to a third party.

Marriage is not something that can be made to look like whatever we want. To play around with the definition of marriage is to risk grievous consequences to families and society. It also poses a risk to religious believers who cannot condone same-sex “marriage.” Already some local councils in the Netherlandsare insisting that government officials perform same-sex “marriage” ceremonies, regardless of the officials’ religious beliefs.

This battle is, in my opinion, the Armageddon of the culture war. Please call us at BreakPoint (1-877-322-5527). I want to send you some information about the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment so you can share it with your friends and use it as a basis to call your congressman and senators right now. They’re deliberating what to do, and the president is about to announce his position. This is the time for Christians to be heard.


Reprinted with permission of Prison Fellowship. © 2003 Breakpoint: