In defense of marriage.
Click here to listen to the broadcast of You Tell Me on KTBB AM 600, Friday, May 11, 2012.
Even while the federal government expands the existing $16 trillion national debt at the rate of $1.3 billion every hour, even as trouble on an existential scale brews in Iran, even as the employment figures for April reveal an economy still in a deep stall, even as American soldiers continue to die toward an ever more indiscernible purpose in Afghanistan, President Obama has decided to put the subject of gay marriage front and center in the 2012 campaign.
So whether we want to or not, we’re going to talk about gay marriage.
Conservatives generally oppose the idea of same-sex marriage. Liberals generally support the idea. I am among the former and for my what I consider to be my principled position, I have been called a gay basher, a bigot and a homophobe. I resolutely maintain that I am none of these.
But I oppose gay marriage. So indulge me, and hold the histrionics and the name-calling just for a moment, and allow me to explain why.
My inner libertarian prevents me from caring what you do in your bedroom or with whom. I believe absolutely that you have the right to form an emotional bond with any person that you choose, and that you have the right to cohabit with that person, and share property with that person, and pass along via inheritance to that person and otherwise do together with that person whatever you desire; so long as what you do does not infringe my right to the very same things.
I believe that you are a child of God and that your worth as His creation is the same be you heterosexual or homosexual. I pass no judgment on your private sexual practices. With respect to who does it for you and what does it for you sexually, I don’t care.
But since we’re talking about sex let’s recognize its most fundamental truth. Of all sexual practices, sex between a man and a woman is uniquely capable of producing a child. But for that fact, the institution of marriage would have never existed. No one goes to the county clerk to get a ”Best Friends Forever” license. No state has ever sought to officially recognize and regulate strong emotional bonds between consenting adults. Marriage exists – and has been recognized to one degree or another by governments of every stripe for the past 5,000 years – because when a man and a woman get together (and only when a man and a woman get together), children emerge.
Marriage, therefore, exists to solve the problem of what to do about children. This is not to say that marriage is worthy only when it is procreative. But the institution is, nevertheless, oriented toward child rearing.
What the unique institution of marriage does is instill a cultural force that encourages adults to arrange their lives so that as many children as possible are raised under the nurturing and protection of a committed relationship between parents that share the same roof. The fact that such has never been universally the case doesn’t diminish its desirability. That such a bias toward marital child rearing is necessary and good may be easily understood by observing what happens to children when it doesn’t occur. The grim statistics attendant to juvenile crime, drop-out rates, drug use, gang involvement, teen pregnancy and teen suicide have moved in lockstep with the grim statistics surrounding the decline of traditional marriage.
Thus, conservatives, or at the very least this conservative, believe that any definition of marriage other than the union of a man and a woman risks reducing the institution of marriage to the point of irrelevance. Put another way, if anybody can be married, nobody will need to be married because marriage will no longer have meaning.
So I say again, my opposition to gay marriage is not the product of bigotry and homophobia. My opposition derives from my unprovable yet palpable fear that redefining marriage would constitute an irrevocable diminishment of what’s left of the last bulwark against the rampant societal chaos that will only get worse when marriage and child rearing are at last fully and finally disassociated.
That’s why I oppose gay marriage.