Marriage inequality: Remove marriage from the equation
The truth is that a government sans an established church, such as the one in the United States, should not be in the business of defining marriage at all
My entire life I’ve been taught tolerance, and despite what some of my philosophical opponents might think, I believe myself to be a pretty tolerant person. And like most people who think themselves tolerant I find it unconscionable that homosexuals in a permanent, committed relationship should not be able to contract freely with one another into a life-partnership. Why shouldn’t they be entitled to mutual social, physical, and financial protection and receive all of the protections and privileges married heterosexual couples currently do?
But to have the state, through fiat, start dismantling one of the core social institutions of our civilization, and alter the definitions of words which convey ideas older than the languages we speak them in simply because some people’s feelings may be hurt is entirely unreasonable.
As is often the case, one needs look no further for evidence of the left’s stupidity on the matter than the words of Hilary Clinton. The following is from her recent 2016 opening salvo in the form of her official endorsement of ‘gay marriage’:
[T]hey are full and equal citizens and deserve the rights of citizenship. That includes marriage. That's why I support marriage for lesbian and gay couples. I support it personally and as a matter of policy and law.
This is the primary problem with the left’s arguments for allowing ‘gay marriage’: it takes for granted that marriage is some kind of right. Marriage is not a right of citizenship, and we need to stop talking about it as if it were.
Marriage is a social institution, a hypertrophic outgrowth of a bio-evolutionary necessity (concerned, it would seem, primarily with the creation and protection of children). Marriage not only predates every single state and government in the West, but it even predates the Christian religion in Europe, many of our modern words and customs surrounding marriage being rooted in pre-Christian Germanic society.
No government has the right to forcibly alter the definition of one of the oldest – if not the oldest – social institutions on the planet. That’s why it’s patently absurd to speak of ‘legalizing gay marriage’. You cannot legalize something that was not only never prohibited in the first place, but also never existed in the first place.
Historically, even in cultures where homosexuality was permitted, if not actively encouraged, marriage was very much something that occurred only between man and woman. Make no mistake, when one talks of ‘legalizing gay marriage’ one is talking about using government power to force people into accepting the redefinition of a word.
Even a cursory consideration of the definition of and traditions surrounding marriage reveals that ‘gay marriage’ simply doesn’t exist. And even if government were to declare it so, a ‘gay marriage’ would never be truly equal to a proper marriage. Dowry, bride, bridegroom, consummation, ‘man and wife’, children; the entire institution is predicated on the fact that it is between a man and a woman.
True love doesn’t come into it. Romantic love is effectively the invention of medieval French court singers, and became popular precisely because the institution of marriage had nothing to do with it.
This is a pervasive theme of the left. It confuses true equality with complete uniformity, rights with privileges.
A parent is a parent, no matter if it is a father or a mother, yet a woman can’t be a father and a man can’t be a mother. Like it or not, a homosexual relationship is, physical attraction aside, fundamentally different from a heterosexual relationship.
Now, here is where I break with many other advocates of traditional marriage. They’ll tell you that if we allow ‘gay marriage’ it will damage the institution of marriage itself. This is ridiculous, for if the institution of marriage weren’t already damaged significantly we wouldn’t even be having a debate about whether or not homosexuals could participate in it in the first place. The only reason people in society don’t find the very notion of ‘gay marriage’ comical is because society as a whole no longer values nor fully understands the institution of marriage itself.
Our welfare laws encourage family breakdown, we do nothing to stem the epidemic of single motherhood, significant proportions of our communities advocate pre-natal infanticide, and promiscuity is the norm among young people. These and other disastrous results of radical feminism and the sexual revolution have already moved to separate the idea of families and child-rearing from marriage in many people’s minds.
So, what do we do? The reality is that using federal law to uphold the traditional definition of marriage is, at present, practically pointless. Reaffirming what we traditionalists know to be true isn’t going to do anything to change the opinions of the vast numbers of heterosexuals who don’t really care about marriage anymore. And given the current social climate and widespread acceptance of homosexuals, advocating federal laws to protect the definition of marriage just appears vindictive and petty – as petty and vindictive as trying to use federal law to change the definition of marriage.
The truth is that a government sans an established church, such as the one in the United States, should not be in the business of defining marriage at all.
Everyone, gay or straight, should get civil unions, and those heterosexual couples who wish to be married under the eyes of G-d would be completely free to find a church willing to do so, before or after having applied for their civil union. Religious marriage ceremonies would therefore be meaningless in the eyes of the federal government, something that only the spiritual/religious who truly valued the institution would enter into, and we as conservatives could spend our efforts on enticing more heterosexual couples to make the personal decision to marry, while homosexuals would enjoy full and equal rights under the law.
Surely this is the ideal solution and satisfies all concerned parties. Unfortunately, as I’ve discovered continuously since I could walk and form sentences, we do not live in an ideal world. And, as we do not live in an ideal world, the course described above is not one that anyone on either side of the debate seems willing to chart.
Ed Kozak is a political commentator, writer, and musician, working for a publishing firm in New York City
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