If marriage is a particular thing, then everyone has a right to take part in that institution as it stands, regardless of their personal characteristics. But to be part of the institution, they must be part of the institution. They don’t have a right to change that institution into something different simply because they don’t want to be part of it the way it is.
The post links to an entry over at the First Things blog (link) where Glen Stanton points out some of the tough questions that are finally being asked in the public debate. And not just by conservative judges:
Justice Kennedy and others illustrated the historical imbalance between natural marriage and this new proposal. Kennedy expressed that he thinks “there’s substance to the point that sociological information [on same-sex parenting] is new. We have five years of information to weight against two thousand years of history or more.”
An exchange between Justice Roberts and Solicitor General Verrilli is particularly refreshing — Especially in a time where logic and rationality are all but absent from public discourse:
We see the argument made that there is no problem with extending marriage to same-sex couples because children raised by same-sex couples are doing just fine and there is no evidence that they are being harmed. And the other argument is Proposition 8 harms children by not allowing same-sex couples to [marry]. Which is it?
Verrilli could only go to the stock “poor them” response which only made Robert’s question more relevant:
Their parents cannot marry and that has effects on them in the here and now. A stabilizing effect is not there. When they go to school, they have to, you know—they don’t have parents like everybody else’s parents.
Opponents of Prop 8 argue that same-sex marriage doesn’t harm children because we see children raised in those homes now and they’re fine. But we need to allow same-sex partners to marry because their children are not doing fine.
The First Things article is an excellent read, and I’ll stop here before I simply quote the whole thing. I’ll just leave you with this final quote:
As Alito colorfully remarked, same-sex marriage is “newer than cell phones and the Internet.” Why has this “fundamental human right” not been a long-debated (much less recognized) issue like slavery and the standing of women in society have been for thousands of years to varying degrees? It is a very good and central question.
I love good questions.
Unfortunately, we live in a time when it seems the longest “argument” most people will endure is an infographic. This one has been floating around this week amidst the latest crisis-de-jour in the media.
I thought as an experiment, I would like to try to unpack the arguments behind the sarcasm. Even though that’s always a risky proposition and most are straw-men.
1) If someone says an act isn’t natural, it’s a reference to natural moral law, not natural or synthetic materials. It could be that certain sexual behaviors occur naturally, but this doesn’t get us very far in the discussion since murder is perfectly natural, and just because it occurs naturally doesn’t equate with a moral good.
2) I don’t know anyone who has made this argument. But for the fun of it, let’s take it seriously. Is sexuality and it’s components (desire, attraction, emotional attachment etc.) immune from external influence in the same way that your height is? Height is a physical property. Sexuality is desire and behavior.
Not that it matters, as the issue here is the nature of marriage, not the malleability of sexuality. The main question is, is marriage a specific thing, or not?
3) I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings (i.e. facts) but there are other groups riding on the heels of the same sex marriage wagon. And there are those within the movement with an agenda of expanding the boundaries of marriage way beyond same-sex relationships.
4) “Straight marriage” (a redundant term) has indeed been around a long while. In fact, we’re the first generation in recorded human history to try to equate heterosexual unions with other unions. It’s almost as if everyone else knows something we don’t. Even in cases of polygamy, it’s one man married to one woman, multiple times, at the same time. Not everyone all married to each other. The ancient greeks, who celebrated pederasty never even equated homosexual relationships with marriage.
Those other things listed are in a different category altogether.
5) If you have to point out bad relationships as a defense for a new type of relationship, then maybe there’s a problem with what you’re proposing.
6) Marriage is based on two things. First, gender differences and second, the basic unit at which society is perpetuated. Meeting either of these is grounds for marriage. The second is the only reason, in my opinion, the State should be involved at all.
And yes, there are gender differences. The fact that that even has to be pointed out is a testament to the mental dark ages we’ve entered.
7) They may or may not. Though statistically it is more probable. Again, sexuality is influenced by various things, including parents…but not solely.
8) This is just a way of saying “religion is false, it has no bearing on reality, so shut up.” It’s okay to belittle certain worldviews, unless its the worldview that embraces homosexuality. Well done, Infographic.
9) I’m not going to even bother linking to all the studies that would say being raised by a biological father and mother give a child the best shot at life. They’re easy to find. This is an attack on common sense itself. Yes, many great people were raised in other situations, and others came out much worse than they might have otherwise. Many in single parent situations feel the vacancy of the missing parent. Marriage laws reflect what will most likely give the child the best chance and foster those types of relationships. To intentionally try to institutionalize other relationships as if they are just as good is insane.
10) This is just poorly written…even for sarcasm. Heterosexual unions are the basic unit of a self-perpetuating civilization. Including other types of relationships in that mix does alter the foundation. It is unavoidable. The basic unit of society is more than a social norm.
Now that I’ve taken the time to type all this out, I’m certain most people who are impressed with the wit of the infographic will not have the patience to work through the ideas I’ve presented. And we descend further into the mental dark ages.