Some people have accused me of being against marriage equality. This is completely unfair. I’m not against it. I’m not anti-it. I don’t oppose it. I don’t think it should be prevented. I don’t think we should ban marriage equality or make it illegal.
I have no problem with marriage equality — except that it doesn’t exist. It can’t exist. It never has existed. It never will exist. ‘Marriage equality’ — that is, the idea that the union between a man and a man can achieve equality with the union between a man and a woman — is nonsense.
How would I oppose that which cannot be? That’s like trying to pass a law to deny Santa Claus his voting rights.
I bring this up because yesterday the Supreme Court, acting with its usual courage and fortitude, decided to take the ‘gay marriage’ ball and punt it back down the field. In one swoop, they rejected appeals from Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin, effectively granting legalization by deferring to the rulings of lower courts, which had already abolished the bans in those states. Now, by my count, the ‘states with gay marriage’ count will rapidly jump from nine to about 30.
This isn’t a surprise, of course. And it won’t be a surprise when there’s something called ‘gay marriage’ everywhere in the country. Sometime between the divorce rate skyrocketing and out-of-wedlock births reaching 40 percent nationwide, it became obvious that our society has very little energy for preserving, defending, respecting, or even participating in marriage. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t bother resisting ‘gay marriage,’ it’s simply to say that we are poorly equipped to do so. And barely interested, it would seem.
Progressives brag that the cultural tide is moving in their direction. They’re right, it is. A society that communicates in emoticons and watches Adam Sandler movies also tends to think liberal ideas are pretty solid. Makes perfect sense, really. They’ve won over fools with foolishness, and I think it’s pretty cute that they’re so proud of it.
But foolish or not, their ideology is winning the day (and the decade, and the last century or so), which is why, at some point, people on the other side better grow enough of a collective brain and spine to oppose it. And if we started precisely with the two issues we’ve gotten so used to avoiding — ‘gay marriage’ and abortion — we would find that the entire progressive house of intellectual cards comes tumbling down rather easily.
‘Gay marriage’ and abortion are the holiest liberal sacraments because they alter the nature of life and of the family. If progressives can reconstitute human life just so they can get laid more frequently, and if they can remodel the family in service of their political agenda, and if these little fine tunes become accepted and promoted in the mainstream, then their agenda can go anywhere and do anything. It has, so it has.
You think you can win an argument about immigration now? Gun rights? Education? Ice cream flavors? Dude, they just waved their magic wand and turned a baby into a lifeless chunk of cells. They snapped their fingers and made the institution of marriage bend to their whim. You don’t stand a chance on any issue when you’re living in a world recreated in their image.
But ‘gay marriage’ and abortion aren’t merely ‘issues.’ They are the bedrock on which all progressive philosophy rests. If we aren’t going to attack the foundation, then we might as well shut up and learn to get along.
And so today, as liberals again trumpet this conflicted notion of ‘marriage equality’ (check out this handy marriage equality map from BuzzFeed!) Despite the compelling case made by the pink Facebook equal sign, I’d like to take it back to the basics and explain why ‘gay marriage’ is not and can never be equal to ‘traditional marriage.’ After the news of the court decision (or lack thereof) broke, Huffington Post declared in big bold letter across their front page: FIVE STATES GET MARRIAGE EQUALITY. Yet marriage equality is a logical and physical impossibility; it can’t be gotten or granted or instated.
To flesh out my reasoning, I’m going to ask myself questions and then answer them, which is either a good way to illustrate a point or an early sign of dementia.
-Is there a basic and fundamental difference between the union of two men and the union of a man and a woman?
Here is a list of those differences:
1) One involves people of the same sex, the other does not.
2) In one there is never any possibility of procreation, whereas in the other there is.
These are two solid, objective, observable differences right out of the gate. Before we go any further, we already know that the two things cannot be equal because in order to be equal they would need to be the same. They are not the same, and so they are not equal.
But I’m longwinded, so lets continue.
-OK, but are the differences significant?
It’s interesting that we even have to ask this question.
This is a country where we go out and buy new iPhones because they’re slightly different from the iPhones we bought 14 months ago. We pay for upgraded seats on an airplane because they’re slightly better than the seats three rows back. We cry discrimination and persecution if we find out that our coworker makes slightly more than us, or has a slightly bigger office, or a slightly more comfortable chair. We purchase TVs for a slightly clearer picture. In other words, we find immense, world-shattering connotations in the faintest little cosmetic changes and deviations, yet we struggle to appreciate the difference between heterosexual and homosexual couples; a difference that, if I must remind you, involves the creation of human life.
A man and a woman can get together and make a person. They can, between the two of them, conceive a human child. If I have to put this in terms that my fellow nostalgic millennials will comprehend: a man and a woman can combine their powers, much like the kids from Captain Planet, and bring forth into the world another sentient being. Only this being hopefully won’t be a spandex-clad vigilante who goes around assaulting people for littering in a public park.
Of course, the birth control industry and Planned Parenthood would like for us to see our procreative capacity as some minor and unimpressive little nuisance, but that’s only because they’ve got a product to sell. In reality, we can say what we want about it, but we can’t say that it’s immaterial. A man and a woman can make a baby. This means something. A man and a man cannot. This also means something.
Whatever it means, it means at least that the two relationships differ from one another. They are not equal. One is something, the other is something else. They are not the same. They are not equal.
-Yes, a man and a man can’t make a baby, but not all married heterosexual couples can, either. If two fellas can’t get married for this reason, what about infertile people or people who simply choose not to have kids?
Much like the ancient blogger Socrates, I will answer this question with more questions:
Is it accurate to say that, in principle, human beings have eardrums?
If so, what about a person born deaf or a person who loses their hearing in a tragic accident later in life?
Are they now subhuman?
Do they belong to some other species?
What about teenage girls who choose to ignore the constructive potential of their eardrums by using them to listen to Nicki Minaj or that new Taylor Swift song?
Do any of these examples falsify my “human beings have eardrums” statement?
Or do they simply reflect the fact that abnormalities sometimes occur?
So, yes, some heterosexual couples can’t conceive children. This happens by disability, mutation, disease, defect, or some other physical misfortune, but we call it a defect precisely because we recognize that there is a procreative potential for which these individuals should share in but do not, through no fault of their own.
These people can’t have kids incidentally, whereas two men or two women can’t have kids by the very nature of their union. One is an accident of nature — an aberration — while the other is a crucial element of nature itself.
As for couples who can have kids but choose to remain childless forever: their marriage is perfectly legitimate, but their choice, in many cases (not all), is not.
Fertile, healthy married couples have not only the ability to procreate, but often the responsibility. Few will say this anymore — we’d much prefer to discuss our rights and freedoms than our duties and obligations — but most married couples who are able to have children are also called to that life.
Nowadays we don’t do anything unless we want to do it, and the idea of doing something we aren’t one hundred percent excited about seems abhorrent to us. But in the old days people had kids because they wanted to and because they felt it was their vocation. I think that’s a beautiful mentality, and a rare one in these ‘me first’ times.
-So the marriage between a man and a woman is different from the marriage between two men or two women, and the difference is quite essential. Fine. But should the government codify that difference by awarding the ‘marriage’ title only to heterosexual couples? Why shouldn’t the government just stay out of it entirely?
Great question, Self, but worded wrongly.
The government doesn’t ‘award’ marriage or give it away like a cash prize in Wheel of Fortune. All of the government can do — and should do — is recognize the natural reality of the situation.
If marriage is anything, then it is an institution meant to bind a husband to his wife, a wife to her husband, and both mother and father to their children. If it is something at all, then it is the foundation of civilization. It establishes the context in which families are formed and children are raised.
It is that or it is nothing. It is that or it is what people say it is now: just a temporary and soluble agreement between two people who feel some sort of mutual attraction. And if that’s all it is, then certainly the government shouldn’t acknowledge it or say anything about it one way or another.
Why do we need governments and courts to involve themselves in creating rules and tax codes for some provisional alliance between two (or three or 57) adults who merely wish to live together (or apart, or whatever they want) and ‘love each other’?
You see, if gay marriage is even possible — if marriage can fundamentally be an institution that includes same sex partnerships — then it is, by definition, not solid enough or essential enough to our civilization to warrant any of these legal challenges and ballot measures. You want to love another person? Go. Go love them. Nothing is stopping you. There is no law preventing it. If marriage is only a bond between two (or however many) lovers, why would anyone ask for it to be ‘legalized’? It’s not illegal, and it never could be,
The very fact that we are having this conversation proves that everyone involved sees marriage as something greater than a ‘contract between consenting adults.’ And if it’s something more significant, then we are back to the old definition, which is the only definition that makes sense in the first place.
You can’t argue for gay marriage without arguing against it.
In the end, we find out that I have worded my own arguments wrongly. It’s not that gay marriage isn’t equal to straight marriage, it’s that gay marriage can’t exist, no matter what words we use, but ‘traditional’ marriage does, no matter how progressive we all are.
Then the question becomes: should the government grant any special protections or acknowledgments to the ‘traditional’ marriage institution? Should it be given a special status, or should Uncle Sam just stay out of it?
Obviously. Obviously marriage should be both recognized and, to some extent, protected by the State. The only other options are for the government to pretend it doesn’t exist, or to pretend that it’s something other than what it is.
No matter what the State does, the essence of marriage cannot be changed, and marriage will still be a sacrament bestowed by God through a husband onto his wife and a wife onto her husband. But where is the value in having a government that either ignores this fundamental human institution, or worse, constructs some kind of wild fantasy where the laws of biology and physics are changed so that the love between two men can suddenly be seen as identical to the love between a man and woman?
Generally, if our country sees something as crucial to our very survival as a nation (not to mention as a species) we don’t ask our politicians to rally around a battle cry to overlook it or invent some delusional version of it.
Yes, then, I want the government involved in marriage, in the sense that I want the government to acknowledge its existence and recognize how momentously important it is to our national prosperity. If that makes me forfeit my libertarian credentials, so be it.
Marriage equality does not exist.
Marriage isn’t equal to anything because there aren’t any other versions competing with it.
Marriage is only one particular thing, and it will never be anything else.
We don’t have to like that fact, but we need to accept it.
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