He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord:
But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife.
– I Corinthians 7:32-33
It’s becoming increasingly clear to me that love – in the sense of an exclusive caring relationship between two individuals – is morally wrong. As to explaining why I think so, I’m not sure I can improve on what the Apostle has already said. But I’ll try putting the case in my own words.
It appears to be universally true, or nearly so, that people are willing to make much more severe moral compromises on behalf of loved ones than on behalf of themselves. So much so that love can make good people into evil people. If you take two good and generous people, who are concerned for the general good of mankind, and you put them in a loving relationship, you end up with a couple that, while still individually warm and giving, is, as a collective unit, extremely selfish. Two rights make a wrong.
And it seems to me that this is not just an odd observation about human nature but a problem inherent in the concept of love. If you’re not willing to make moral compromises for your loved one – compromises that you would never make for yourself alone – then you don’t really love that person. If you’re not willing to give up part of your soul to help your loved one in need, just as you might give up part of your dinner if that person were hungry, then you don’t really love them.
It’s a horrible fact of life but a fact nonetheless. And the inescapable implication is that, by entering into a loving relationship in the first place, you are committing yourself to becoming a less moral person than you would otherwise be. If you choose to be in a loving relationship, or if you fall in love unintentionally and choose not to run away, you are making a moral choice and choosing evil over good.
So here’s my dilemma: should I be for or against gay marriage? I don’t think that homosexuality is immoral – not in the least. But marriage – marriage is definitely immoral. Marriage is an institution that consecrates and encourages the type of loving relationship that turns saints into monsters. And seeing that marriage is evil, can one in good conscience support the expansion of it? The gay marriage issue gets to the heart of the matter, because, technically, homosexuals can get married: they just can’t get married to someone with whom they are in love. So here we are talking about marriage specifically as the consecration of a loving relationship and not about marriage as merely a formal institution.
Is it unfair that one segment of the population does not have the option of engaging in this immoral act, while the rest do? Was it unfair that people in the Northern US were not allowed to hold slaves, while Southerners (or, after the Emancipation Proclamation, only those in border states) were, before the 13th Amendment abolished slavery entirely? Can it possibly be the case that the expansion of an immoral institution, however “fair” that expansion might be, is a good thing?