As we await the Supreme Court's decision on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act and same-sex marriage, and as our elected representatives fall over themselves in their rush to abandon the first and endorse the second, it might be helpful to clarify the traditional Judeo-Christian argument in favor of marriage between one man and one woman, which is cast in a negative light by Daniel J. Robinson's recent letter ("Same-Sex Sinfulness," April 3).
According to Scripture, humankind was created "male and female" that man and woman might become "one flesh," and by so doing reproduce the image of God through procreation. This positive ordinance of the Creator, not some merely arbitrary prohibition, underlies the institution of marriage as Jews and Christians have traditionally understood it. If, as Mr. Robinson asserts, it is "wrong for a man to have sex with a man or a woman to have sex with a woman," this is because such intimate behavior between persons of the same sex is inherently incapable of achieving the union that is intended -- and indeed, possible -- only in a heterosexual relationship.
That is not to say that every heterosexual married couple experiences such a union, any more than that every heterosexual marriage produces children. But the exception does not invalidate the rule, which is based on how we are created, not on how we perform. In any case, no amount of genuine desire or love, regardless how well-intentioned, can accomplish a marital union where the normative preconditions for that union are lacking.
REV. JOHN A. PORTER
The writer is the rector of Grace Church, Mount Washington and Edgeworth, a parish of the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh.