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Why Not Same Sex Marriage?
bt Carl Pearlston
Last week, Massachusetts State Representative Elizabeth Malia, speaking
behalf of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered community,
that marriage has never been a rigid, inflexible institution, but has
continually evolved and changed with evolving social needs. In her view,
evolution now demands same-sex marriage. Denial is discriminatory, a
of the equal protection of law. This is to be accomplished nationwide by
judicial fiat, just as has been done by the court of her State.
My Webster's Unabridged Dictionary defines marriage as the "State of
married, or united to a person or persons of the opposite sex as husband
wife; also the mutual relation of a husband and wife; wedlock;
the institution whereby men and women are joined in a special kind of
and legal dependence, especially as constituting the simplest form of
family." This definition goes back some 700 years in English history,
accords with 4,000 years of recorded practice in Western Civilization.
In the Judeo-Christian tradition, marriage begins in the Book of
where God said "It is not good for man to be alone; I will make a
helper for him." God did not create another man to be Adam's helper, nor
God create a group of men to sit around in companionship with Adam. The
story tells us that other men could not assuage the existential aloneness
Adam, for Man without Woman would still be alone and incomplete. So God
someone different from Adam, yet having an essential sameness with him:
Woman. "This one at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. This
shall be called Woman for from man was she taken."
Man and Woman are akin
the Yin and Yang of Taoism, the coming together of incomplete and
complementary opposites; a blending of differences: "Hence a man leaves
father and mother and clings to his wife, so that they become one flesh."
There is no mention in this creation story of children as the necessary
purpose of marriage. The goal is the completeness of the whole, so that
will not be alone in the singleness of our same-sex, but rather,
the male-female complementary differences to form a unit, which we refer
as The Family. There is the expectation that children will result from
union, which is essential for continuation of our species.
the Family in the interest of fostering the male-female relationship and
providing for the care of such children as may result, who benefit from
having the guidance and protection of both a Mother and Father, with
complementary and different male/female influences. Children cannot
from the direct union of same-sex couples.
Advocates of same-sex
have argued that if adoptions by homosexuals are legal, then marriage
be legal for the benefit of those children, ignoring the argument that
adoptions are themselves not in the best interest of these children,
deprived of the mother-father blending of complementary opposites in two
parents. To reason from a presumption that a particular child may not be
adopted unless by a homosexual pair, to the conclusion that society
therefore sanction same-sex marriage, is an invalid leap in logic.
Dennis Prager has noted in his Biblical lectures that one message of
is that God intends for us to love the stranger, the other, the one
oneself, similar to the Taoist reference above. This is reason for
condemnation of homosexuality, incest, and cross-dressing found in the
Bible, as those practices focus our love and sexual longing on those
ourselves rather than on the other. In a sense, it is akin to being in
with one's self. A man may love his sister or his mother, but he should
have sex with her, because she shares the same blood-lines as he, and is
thus, in a manner, similar to himself.
Two men or two women should not
or have sex with each other, because their union would join like to
Therefore, in Western civilization, marriage has always been the
socially-recognized union of un-related opposite-sex couples. Though
originating in religious tradition and practice, it has long ago become
secular morality as well.
To divert attention from this historic record,
claim has been made that male to male marriages were sanctioned and
solemnized by the Church during the Middle Ages in Europe. On closer
inspection, these "marriages" turn out to be nothing more that the
brother" oath familiar to anyone who has seen Wagner's Gotterdammerung,
which feudal lords pledge fealty to one another.
Arguments have also been made that since polygamy was the norm in
times, this demonstrates that marriage is not a static institution and
should now change. Polygamy, however was definitely not the norm during
Greek or Roman empires. Every literary mention of it talks of the
jealousy, and strife it entails, and none of the Biblical passages call
polygamy a blessing.
Neither was it practiced by the ancient world's
Diaspora Jewish community, but was disapproved by the rabbinic school of
Hillel and by the Qumran sects. It was only practiced to a limited extent
the aristocracy in Judea; it was approved by the rabbinic school of
with whom Jesus disagreed. He was quite clear that polygamy is wrong.
the earliest history of England, polygamy was an offense against society.
has always been illegal in the US, which illegality was upheld by the US
Supreme Court in 1878. It was not until the Mormon church abandoned its
defense of polygamy that Utah was admitted to the Union in 1896. It is
questionable if those precedents would be legally sufficient to bar
marriages if same-sex couples could wed under the concept of equal rights.
Traditionally, the prevailing societal morality has determined Law, so
practices deemed immoral by society were declared illegal.
Homosexual/lesbian behavior, incest, prostitution, bestiality,
cross-dressing, adultery, fornication, all of which are prohibited and
condemned in the Bible, were declared illegal. Of recent years, as
influence has waned and courts have developed the concepts of personal
privacy rights, the law no longer reflects that morality. In fact, the
now determines morality, in that practices which are declared legal, or
de-criminalized, are thereby deemed moral and normative.
recently received a marriage license in New York state, he reportedly
exclaimed, "Now I'm normal!" Achieving that normative status, with its
cachet of societal approval, has always been the focus of the battle for
same-sex marriage, despite the battle being cast in equal-protection
language dealing with legal rights, survivor, property and tax benefits,
of which could be achieved under normal contract law or with a will or
Key to achieving this status has been the analogizing of the gay-rights
movement to the civil-rights movement, stressing that being homosexual,
lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered is a matter over which the
has no control, it being an inborn, immutable characteristic which must
protected by the law.
The fact that there is an abysmal lack of evidence
support that claim, despite decades futilely spent searching for a gay
or other biological marker, and despite the wealth of evidence pointing
early childhood experiences and sexual abuse as the explanation, the
has seemingly become convinced by elite opinion that there is no choice
behavior-induced factor in what otherwise would be classified as aberrant
deviant sexual behavior.
Anthropology has lately been enlisted in this
campaign to convince the public that homosexuality is normal, by
out occurrences of same-sex behavior in animals, most notably Bonobo
and most recently, penguins in a zoo. The latter exhibit male
ignore female penguins, and tried to incubate a rock. The Bonobos are
sexually promiscuous with other Bonobos of either sex, and sex is used
them as a means of social communication.
The aptness of these examples
on the assumption that people are just animals, no different in degree
kind from other animals, and that, therefore, what is normative for them
should be normative for us. That assumption is, of course, diametrically
contrary to the Judeo-Christian world view of Western Civilization, in
humans are not just another animal. Further, it is surely not normative
penguins to incubate rocks, and those who do are very confused penguins.
Bonobos' indiscriminate sexual promiscuity tells us little about human
sexuality, and is hardly a guide for solving any of our social problems.
In the 1950's, the descriptive phrase used by the first of the
rights groups, The Mattachine Society, was "sexual choice", and the key
issue was that of private sexual behavior free from governmental inquiry
societal intrusion. Over the years, the phrase changed to "sexual
preference", to avoid the concept that homosexual behavior was a matter
choice, and the focus changed from that of privacy to that of equal
In fact, privacy concerns yielded to making the matter of one's sexual
preference very public.
The switch in emphasis was finalized when the
current phrase "sexual orientation" was fashioned to connote a
immutable, inborn characteristic in order to gain public sympathy and
acceptance, portraying homosexuals as victims of societal discrimination
are denied the rights and benefits to which heterosexuals are entitled.
current furor over same-sex marriage has placed the nation's cultural,
intellectual, and media elites, along with the political left, into its
favor, although opposed by the majority of the public. This demonstrates
successful the emphasis on homosexual victimology has been.
In this appeal for sympathy, the bans on same-sex marriages have been
analogized to the overturned anti-miscegenation laws which forbade
between persons of different races, noting that those laws, like the
forbidding same-sex marriage, rested on a discriminatory and outmoded
value. This false analogy merely obfuscates the real issue, since
cross-racial marriages always involved couples of the opposite sex.
The argument is also made that since one marries to be happy with the
who is loved and loves in return, and the homosexual or lesbian loves
another of the same sex, he or she is denied the equal protection of the
laws and the right to happiness if they are prohibited from socially
This argument can only be upheld by accepting the
inborn-trait argument, radically redefining marriage or removing any
definition from it, and stripping away its fundamental purpose of
the two complementary sexes. Once that would be accomplished, there will
no rational legal restriction on who could marry who, or what; why
marriage be limited to only within our species?
Recall the film, Go West,
which the great Buster Keaton played a man in love with a cow. That was
comedy, but transpeciesism could easily be the next focus of the laws'
protection, again brought about through judicial, not legislative,
in defining the new family. Such fundamental shifts in social values
be brought about by the people themselves, not the judiciary through its
interpretation of law.
Most of us remember the 1992 Democratic Convention, at which the Family
celebrated, though it was not the traditional nuclear family of
mother-father-children. Instead, the nation was exhorted to celebrate
non-traditional families of single-parent, same-sex, or extended
relationships and kinships.
This recasting of Family was in rebuke to
then Vice-President Quail's chastisement of single-parenthood as
in a television series, Murphy Brown. Despite the fact that his
of the dangers to society and children from rising rates of
single-parenthood were born out, and that the lead actress of that
later agreed with him, Quail was ridiculed and vilified for questioning
restructuring of the traditional family. There then followed a growing
separating parenthood from marriage.
In this attack, the feminist and
gay-rights movement were united, both calling for the radical alteration
the societal institution of marriage. Feminists attacked marriage as a
patriarchal prison for women trapped in child-rearing, while one
publication stated: "The heterosexual family unit-spawning ground of
betrayals, mediocrity, hypocrisy and violence-shall be abolished."
marriage is but a step toward the abolishment of marriage.
While the courts ponder whether it is constitutional for the public to
enshrine in law their distaste and disapproval of homosexual marriage,
whether the federal or State constitution requires a redefinition of what
meant by marriage to accommodate same-sex unions, the public is left to
ponder the remark of Chief Justice Warren Burger that when the courts
the links in the chain of legal reasoning, each link built on the
link, the completed chain leads us to a destination we neither intended
Where this matter will lead cannot be good for society, but the
Judiciary seems determined to take us to that destination, as shown in
Hawaii, Alaska, Massachusetts, and California, whose Supreme Court has
to rule. While no doubt a drastic remedy, nothing short of a federal
Constitutional Amendment, setting forth the public's moral choice on
marriage as between one man and one woman, can prevent the Judiciary
defining that moral choice as a matter of law without regard to the
from the April Passover 2004 Edition of the Jewish Magazine
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