It seems you can’t go anywhere online or on television right now without seeing something about same-sex marriage. I suppose it’s logical enough, given the prominence the issue has as the Supreme Court heard oral arguments over California’s ban on the practice, but it’s also discouraging as not only does public opinion show rising support for same-sex marriage, but the name-calling of opponents has also hit a fever pitch. The question to supporters becomes this—if this boundary in the definition of marriage is crossed, where exactly does it stop?
Same-sex marriage supporters are offended at the notion that approval of this practice means an inexorable march to legalization any number of “relationships”, from polygamy to a man marrying his dog, and the real elephant in the room, which is marrying underage kids. And in truth, I don’t doubt that most supporters of same-sex marriage are genuinely opposed to all of these practices. But they have no firm basis on which to oppose them.
I can tell you where my line is drawn and why. Marriage is between a man and a woman, because the genders were designed to complement each other. To be as diplomatic as possible, let’s just say the plumbing all matches up. Same-sex marriage crosses that line, and arguments that supporters of traditional marriage are no different than people who oppose interracial marriage also fall flat on that same basis. Skin pigmentation differences don’t alter the question of natural design in the way same-sex relationships do.
That’s why I believe the boundary we currently have on marriage is in the correct place. We’ve progressed past old prejudices that have nothing to with the nature of humanity, but have not yet gone over the line to a new construct that challenges the laws of nature. I think it’s important to note that this defense of traditional marriage is not rooted in religious beliefs—it’s rooted in the nature and design of human beings, which any atheist can believe.
So my question to people who support same-sex marriage and believe I’m full of it, is twofold—the first, and most important, is where your boundary exists and on what basis. The second would be this—why is your boundary the mark of an enlightened, compassionate human being and mine the mark of a hate-filled bigot? Or is that just name-calling that we can dismiss?
Dan Flaherty is the author of Fulcrum, an Irish Catholic novel set in postwar Boston with a traditional Democratic mayoral campaign at its heart, and he is the editor-in-chief of TheSportsNotebook.com