April 1, 2013
The evil that is in the world almost always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if they lack understanding. ~~Albert Camus
From the beginning of time, there has been a special relationship between men and women. From the beginning of time, this special relationship has produced children and families. And from the beginning of time, culture has acknowledged the special value that this relationship between men and women has for creating healthy families and building civilization.
Obvious? Of course. Without any need for explanation, the average person recognizes that we are speaking of marriage. Thus has been the definition of marriage since the beginning of time… the special union of a man and woman through which we create and nurture children for the survival of our civilization.
This being true, it is surprising…and unfortunate…that the discussion of the issue of same-sex marriage has been characterized as a debate between those who have compassion and those who hate decent gay people and want to deny them their rights.
Researching the issue of marriage on the Internet, most headlines use the word Equality to frame the debate. It is rare to find a writer that discusses marriage as a matter of Definition. And by ignoring the definition, we ignore the very heart of the matter.
The definition of marriage is not arbitrary. Biology does matter. Marriage is based on the created distinctions of man and woman. It is based on the importance of fathers and mothers for the children who come into their lives. The marital institution has provided for fathers and mothers, helping them in the roles of protecting, teaching and guiding children into adulthood.
On websites and in papers, discussion of same-sex marriage gives a brief nod to children and families. But, when stripped to essentials, the key focus in the bid for redefining marriage is money. How do gay people in relationships maximize their financial benefits of two incomes, two retirement plans and two inheritances?
Same-sex marriage proponents may be well-intentioned. But they will find that their generosity in redefining marriage as a mere business construction will have long-lasting results for our children. “Equality” as applied to marriage in the current debate is simply a strategic tool, useful for winning by infusing the debate with an emotional accusation. If someone opposes same-sex marriage, they will be accused of being mean and hateful and bigoted.
If same-sex marriage is legally accepted, the term “equality” will ultimately be redirected from financial equality to gender equality. Gender is barely acknowledged at this point in the battle for same-sex marriage. But the ultimate goal of the most strident same-sex proponents is to declare an equality that does not exist. When the last chips fall, these same-sex advocates will insist that every person in the culture must agree that men and women are “the same.”
Men and women, mothers and fathers, no longer will be celebrated for their separate and unique qualities. They will be considered interchangeable units in the family. At the very moment that we are now coming to acknowledge the negative results of absent fathers in families, we will lose our ability to address this as a valid social concern. Our culture will no longer have any ability to deal with the biological differences that are significant in raising children.
Mothers and fathers have unique and distinctive gender qualities that help their children develop healthy self-images. But it won’t matter. And the courts will once again be the venue for this battle.
Already, those in education have seen the fall-out of a culture that no longer values families built through the bonds of men and women who commit to each other in marriage.
- Sex educators bristle at the notion that boys and girls look at the sexual act through a different lens.
- For these educators, it is “offensive” to suggest that male and females have different biological and emotional needs related to sex and relationships.
- The suggestion that fathers – men – are an essential ingredient in the recipe for families is decried as sexist.
- Terminology in schools has been scrubbed of references to sexual differences. Men and women are “people.” Husbands and wives are “partners.”
- Children in elementary schools are being encouraged to “try out” gender to see whether they prefer being a boy or a girl.
These attitudes are being used to push social agendas that negate the regular natural desires of boys and girls to be just that…boy and girls. Consider just one case. Last year a Rhode Island school district cancelled its father-daughter dance after the ACLU threatened to sue the district for gender discrimination. In the future, only parent-child events, not father-daughter dances or mother-son ballgames, will be allowed.
Dennis Prager in his column, Why a Good Person Can Vote Against Same-Sex Marriage, points to the shallow nature of our discussions about the potential redefinition of marriage.
The history of left-wing policies has largely consisted of doing what feels good and compassionate without asking what the long-term consequences will be; what Professor Thomas Sowell calls “Stage One Thinking.” That explains, for example, the entitlement state. It sounds noble and seems noble. But the long-term consequences are terrible: economic ruin, a demoralized population, increasing selfishness as people look to the state to take care of their fellow citizens, and more.
From the beginning of time, culture has acknowledged the special value of the unique relationship between men and women in creating healthy families and building civilization. There are long-term consequences for our children and grand-children in creating a society that no longer wants to acknowledge the significance of our biology.
Marriage between a man and woman is a definition that has meaning…and significance. It is most certainly worth defending.
March 15, 2013: All Things Being Equal
May 14, 2004: Order in the Courtroom!