Tuesday, February 10, 2004

More on gay marriage

Now I can't stop thinking about this issue. I'm planning to use the blog as a means to work out my thinking more clearly, if you can put up with me while this goes on, that would be great.

There are 2 big issues woven into this one that it may take time to straighten them out. Homosexuality is one, marriage and family is another.

I'll start with marriage.

Marriage, which as I said yesterday is about more than a couple living and loving together, is the cornerstone of the family, which is the foundation of our society. We all have a stake in strong marriages.

From marriage come the citizens, wealth creators, and defenders of our society of the future. We all want the next generation to be good citizens. We all depend on the next generation to create sufficient wealth to ensure that our pension and health care bills will be met when we are old. And, we all want young men (and women?) to be willing to die to defend us if necessary.

Therefore, society has a huge vested interest in doing all it can to support marriage. This has always been true and is why marriage has been so important going back to pre-Christian times and to non-Judaic cultures. In other words, today's religions don't own marriage, but have simply recognized its importance, its centrality in society.

That vested interest simply does not exist in any homosexual relationship. There may be some societal benefits to fostering stable homosexual relationships, but these benefits are minimal as compared with the benefits of fostering stable marriages between men and women.

All of us - homosexual, straight, married, single, men, women - have a vested interest in marriage. It's that vested interest that provides the rationale for affording benefits exclusively to married couples.

Marriage is more than living together. Marriage is a contract between a man and a woman and between the couple and society that they are willingly taking on the responsibilities of creating new citizens. Society has to fulfill its side of the bargain, which it does by supporting marriage through monetary and other (esteem, etc.) benefits.

This debate over gay marriage is taking place in a narrowly defined context of civil rights. Marriage is much more than a civil right. By denying the benefits of marriage to homosexual couples we are not saying you are second class, etc anymore than we are when we deny those benefits to single people. We are saying that marriage is a contract about our future. Society signs that contract and has obligations. We must live up to our end of the marriage contract.

Each couple must live up to theirs. Couples that permanently and purposefully exclude the possibility of children are not living up to their end of the marriage contract. {Many couples exclude the possibility of children for a time, but do intend to have them at some stage. This is not a breach of contract.}