Genderless Marriage and Arguments from Emotion

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Nose to Nose. Squares #project.flickr #dailyshoot #ExploreMaybe I’m just a sucker for a good analogy, but this piece by Doug Mainwaring really did a great job, in my opinion, of summing up the totality of the public discourse over the possibility of same-sex marriage.  He begins:

In our sometimes misguided efforts to expand our freedom, selfish adults have systematically dismantled that which is most precious to children as they grow and develop. That’s why I am now speaking out against same-sex marriage.

By the way, I am gay.

Most people didn’t see that coming.  (He’s not the only one.)  Doug has testified against same-sex marriage legislation in Minnesota’s state judiciary and house civil law committees.  The atmosphere of these events is, he says,  “tinged with unreality—almost a carnival-like surrealism. Natural law, tradition, religion, intellectual curiosity, and free inquiry no longer play a role in deliberations.”

He then continues:

Same-sex marriage legislation is defended solely on grounds of moral relativism and emotions.

Pure sophistry is pitted against reason. Reason is losing.

Here’s the problem: The national discussion of same-sex marriage treats the issue like a game of checkers, where opponents can quickly gain each other’s pieces without much forethought about the consequences. This unreflective view of the discussion has prevented any real debate.

He notes that the tide feels like it is turning, socially, with same-sex proponents having “all the ‘kings’ on the board,” and he notes the bombardment of approvals for same-sex marriage, including “Dirty Harry himself, Clint Eastwood, throwing their support behind genderless marriage.”

Then comes the hook:

The game we are actually playing is chess, not checkers. This sounds confusing, because chess and checkers are played on the exact same sixty-four square game board. Checkers is easy and it’s fast. It’s one of the first games children learn how to play. Chess is hard, requiring thought about the intended and unintentional consequences of every single move that may or may not be made.

The political capital of supporting this idea is enough to draw flocks of politicians and media voices who care enough to gain from the temporary zeitgeist surrounding this issue.  It earns votes next election cycle for the former, and sells beer and shampoo for the latter.  That’s as far as they care too look ahead.

As in chess, the unintended consequences deserve sound consideration.

Genderless marriage now enjoys an aura of equality and fairness…[but,] Same-sex marriage will not expand rights and freedoms in our nation. It will not redefine marriage. It will undefine it.

He then tackles one of the other attacks upon marriage that was instituted a few decades back, and which has been enshrined as a blessing of liberty upon the masses, when even a cursory glance will show it to be a curse.

This isn’t the first time our society has undefined marriage. No-fault divorce, instituted all across our country, sounded like a good idea at the time. Its unintended consequence was that it changed forever the definition of marriage from a permanent relationship between spouses to a temporary one. Sadly, children became collateral damage in the selfish pursuits of adults.

This is about the children.   Same-sex marriage will deprive “children of their right to either a mom or a dad. This is not a small deal. Children are being reduced to chattel-like sources of fulfillment.” states Mainwaring.  Those in such sterile marriages will “demand that they have a “right” to have children to complete their sense of personal fulfillment, and in so doing, are trumping the right that children have to both a mother and a father—a right that same-sex marriage tramples over.”

Same-sex marriage will undefine marriage and unravel it, and in so doing, it will undefine children. It will ultimately lead to undefining humanity. This is neither “progressive” nor “conservative” legislation. It is “regressive” legislation.

Of course, again, this isn’t the first time that that’s happened either.  IVF is all about the “right” to children on demand.

Natural Fruits

All of the arguments have to do with emotion, wrapped up in the comforting, double-plus-good language of “equality,” when the nature of the equality is clearly a false and contrived one.  So you see images like this:

Which miss the whole point: marriage is about children.  A black man and a white woman can make babies in a way that two people of the same gender simply cannot; and making babies is what marriage is about.  (And, to address the “what about women past menopause” objection, it seems that it is the case that some women can ovulate, and thus become pregnant even after menopause has fully set in; but even if it were exceedingly uncommon, the fact is that they are not themselves doing anything to render the relationship sterile; it’s not a “naturally sterile” relationship, even if it is a 99.999% sterile after a certain point relationship.)

It’s why many people have reported that they’ve changed their opinion because they don’t want to be bullied, or called a bigot, for stating their beliefs (beliefs which go back as far as recorded history, even among active practitioners of homosexuality, like the Greeks).

Some appeals to emotion are stronger than others, but they’re still not good reasons for re-defining the child-rearing institution of marriage as being merely a monogamous-for-the-time-being relationship between two people.  Here’s one good example of such emotive propaganda:

This truly IS a sad and terrible situation.  But here’s the thing: gay people aren’t the only ones who get screwed by the system when someone that they love is hurt or killed.  This one is made more poignant by the music and the poor treatment of Shane, but he’s hardly unique.  This same thing can happen to best friends, and elderly couples who merely live together for support, etc.  It happens to lots of people in lots of different, gender-doesn’t-matter and non-child-producing ways.

By arguing on this particular basis for genderless marriage is to essentially say “I don’t want such a situation to ever happen to me, but I don’t care if it happens to others.”  If this is the best argument that can be presented, then the solution should be obvious: some form of domestic- or civil- partnership that is available to anyone, and which would grant the partners certain rights.

To only fight for genderless marriage is to neglect the countless others in non-romantic relationships who struggle in the same way as those who purportedly are suffering due to the fact of their romantic involvement.

Genderless Marriage Isn’t Enough!

“Same-sex marriage” thus doesn’t do enough to remedy the harm that exists in society, and meanwhile does harm the very notion of what marriage is and what children are.

That is a legitimate reason to oppose it.  And opposing it doesn’t mean having to hate those with same-sex attraction, or wanting to deny them anything good in life.

Chess image via Creative Commons License Les Haines
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