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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Marriage response

--posted by Tony Garcia on 11/23/2005

A long time ago I had a posting responding to a letter to the editor. The subject was gay marriage. Today someone posted a thoughtful rebuttal. My response was longer than I think should be buried in an old posting. So...at the (known) risk of opening up a firestorm of hatred towards me I will instead post the response here.

Part of the comment from Rob:
Apart from the arguement that childless couples are not forced to divorce and single-parents exist, gay couples bringing up children often have close family and friends who can act as role models of all genders (not just the two society would have us nicely boxed into if it could). While I wouldn’t like to see experimentation with children’s upbringing, I would say it’s not plain and simple – who is to say that a couple that happens to be same-sex does not/could not provide as much love to children as opposite-sex couples. Some people would even say that because it’s so much more difficult for same-sex couples to have a child together, they are forced much more to think about whether or not they are making the right decision, and therefore if they choose to do so, actually provide more love.
This got me thinking on how better to articulate my own definitions and expectations surrounding the debate.

Yep, marriages are falling apart at an alarming rate. The solution is a return to the societal (not to be read as theological) role in holding failed marriages with shame. Initially there might be people who become trapped in a bad marriage...that is the hard part of any transition with societal paradigm shifts. Eventually people would take more care in their choice to marry and with whom.

The other thing that has to change in society is the acceptance of single-parent households. I used to believe that two-parent households were overrated. But I have seen more harm than good with single-parent households. My aunt and her son, whom I love dearly, are a prime example and a constant reminder to me why single-parent families should be highly discouraged. First the parent will be overburdened and the child being somewhat neglected. Some may compensate by buying everything the child wants, partially as a babysitter (e.g. video game systems) and partially as a redemption for the lack of attention. But there is something missing from the constant lessons of two-parents. In my aunt/cousin's case even though his father is a regular fixture in the boy's life there is 100% absence of the fatherly influences and lessons. The boy has NO concept of general maintenance, poor discipline because he knows when the one parent is worn down he can get away with much more, etc. (Yes, mothers can teach what are traditionally male roles but then the female-role lessons tend to be neglected in the child's upbringing.)

So far we have determined that I would like 1) divorce to be more stigmatized and 2) single-parent homes to NOT be encouraged at all.

These lead me to the conclusion that any stable couple should be able to adopt. Kids that are in need of adoption, well, need a good stable home.

But marriage is not about adoption. Marriage, from a society's legal perspective, should be about the continuation of the soceity...procreation. The privileges from laws should be to encourage a behavior.

For example, we set some of the rites of passage ages at 18. At 18 you are deemed to be able to maintain society's expectations of responsiblity enough to enter into contracts. Does that mean ALL who are 18 are responsible enough? No. Does it mean that none under 18 are responsible enough? No. But that is where we set the law to encourage the behavior we expect.

Likewise with marriage. If you agreed with what I said above about divorce and single-parent families then it must be conceded that a "couple" is the best family unit to raise children and thus "marriage" encourages that. But there are three types of marriages to be considered: hetero, homo, and polygamist. We can alreay rule out polygamist if we agree that TWO parents are ideal. Otherwise we would be encouraging more than two. Is that the panacea? Absolutely not.

That leaves us with hetero and homo marriages. If, as I believe, marriage from the legal standpoint is the encouragement of procreation then only one of these two types fulfills that expectation. Does this mean that all hetero marriages will bear children? No. But it is still an encouragement from society.

A common fallacy that the pro-gay-marriage crowd sets up (to make an easy rebuttal for themselves) is that the idea of hetero marriage is intended to guarantee a stable family unit. There is not a guarantee just as there is not a guarantee that all 18-year-olds are mature enough to make responsible decisions about their lives. Encouragement is vastly different from guarantee. I can encourage bloggers to avoid double standards, but I cannot guarantee it. We can encourage people to practice safe sex to avoid diseases, but we cannot guarantee they will practice safe sex nor can we guarantee they will avoid diseases even if they do practice safe sex.

That is the only real purpose that should exist behind marriage laws...especially since the anti-religious Left wants 100% secularism behind all the laws.

Marriage, in the eyes of the law, is NOT a right, but a privilege. There is not absolute equality behind privileges. You must meet certain criteria.

You must meet certain criteria to obtain a driver's license. Otherwise you do not get one.

You must meet certain criteria to engage in your 2nd Amendment Rights. Otherwise you do not get that right.

You must meet certain criteria to engage in your 1st Amendment Rights. Otherwise you do not get to engage in that right.

You must meet certain criteria to engage in the privilege of legal marriage. Otherwise you do not get that privilege.

And with the privileges there must be an encouragement for the benefit of the society or that privilege is moot. With marriage it is the encouragement of healthy nuclear families in which procreation exists.


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