Where Does The Redefining Of Marriage End?

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



Categories:Culture Marriage

  • rbaron

    Dan sets up a couple of different situations in his post. I believe most SSM proponents would say that marriage should be between two consenting adults. That would take of your marrying dogs and childern (btw why is that the elephant in the room??)

    Polygamy seems like it could be a real possibility. However the practice seems to only exist in societies where women are treated as inferior to men. So it seems unlikely it will come up in a modern democracy.

  • Richard Johnson Wang

    The “boundary” is one of consent. Inanimate objects, children, and trees cannot consent, and so they cannot enter into contracts. You may object that this still leaves polygamy on the table, and you are correct, which is why I personally have no problems with polygamy (obviously I may be in a minority in that stance, but I would agree with you that pro-gay marriage advocates who disagree are being inconstant). I do think there are bureaucratic reasons to oppose polygamy though, but I don’t really care either way.

    Anyway I think that should have sufficiently answered your first question, please let me know if you have any further questions.

  • Paul Sadek

    Excellent piece, Dan. To respond to your rhetorical question at the end: It’s the latter. It’s tough to dismiss it because words do hurt; but dismissal in the course of the “argument” and forgiveness are what we are called to by our baptism.

  • FrankW

    Thanks for an excellent post. I am greatly discouraged at the lack of introspective thinking on this subject. The pro-gay-marriage movement is being fueled almost entirely by emotion, based on a false understanding of the concept and history of marriage. Little thought is given to marriage’s purpose and history, and even less thought to the concept of deliberately depriving children of both a mother and father by redefining the family unit.

    For starters, marriage is essentially a creation of natural law. There is no government, established church, organization or entity which can legitimately claim that it created the institution of marriage. It is as natural as mathematics and physics.

    For those who believe in “marriage equality”, they are claiming that we traditionalists are discriminating against homosexuals when we oppose the redefinition of marriage. However, where would these pro-gay-marriage advocates draw the line? If they are against polygamy, then they are discriminating against those who support it. How is that “bigotry” any different than that which they accuse us? I know a few animal lovers who would love to opportunity to marry their pets because they love them, and because doing so would entitle those pets to health benefits under the law. Should there be any limits on what constitutes a marriage? If so, then discrimination is taking place if we use the logic of the pro-gay-marriage movement.

    Redefining marriage to eliminate discrimination makes as much sense as redefining the laws of mathematics and physics to eliminate discrimination.

    If marriage is redefined (by an entity which had NOTHING to do with defining it in the first place), perhaps next we will redefine the laws of mathematics? After all, most people can’t understand Sir Isaac Newton’s work. Sound silly? Well, not understanding physics and calculus puts a person at an economic disadvantage, which means his/her earning power and job opportunities are more limited than someone who can understand these natural laws. How is this type of discrimination considered tolerable by those who support “marriage equality”?



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