Redefining traditional marriage has caveats

Jan 6 2014 - 7:00pm


The same-sex "marriage" debate re-ignited by a recent judicial ruling isn't directly about homosexuality; it's about how marriage should be defined.   

There are two competing, incompatible views. 1) Revisionist: "Marriage" is primarily an emotional and private bond between two people without public ramifications involving natural rights of children and their parents. It is temporary and does not attach children to their parents, and parents to each other.

2) Traditional: Marriage is a conjugal, comprehensive, union between a man and a woman as defined by thousands of years of experience. It is a public institution because it impacts those not directly privy to marital vows (children, their relatives, and descendants as well) and society itself. It establishes values that govern transmission of life to the next generation and nurturing that life in the basic societal unit, the family.

The latest "redefinition" of marriage removes gender from the definition of marriage. It allows marriage to become whatever emotional bond the government says it is. It de-links childbearing from marriage, which will create confusion for children that the state (taxpayers) will be responsible for. It codifies the idea that children are not entitled to a mother and father and removes children from the central focus of marriage (and primary need of society). The short answer to "no harm to opposite-sex marriage" comes from Europe after about thirty years of experimenting: same-sex marriage equals "no marriage."  More than half of the children in Europe now are born to unwed mothers: Sweden, 54 percent; Norway, 49 percent; Denmark, 46 percent, Iceland, 65 percent.  The "state" with its welfare programs becomes "father" with the inevitable increased welfare costs, delinquency, drug use, poor performance in school, etc.

Redefinition of marriage to include same-sex marriage would affect its cultural meaning and function. It would damage society's capability to protect the procreative relationship with the resulting children, and ensure society's continuing existence. There are other ways to protect same-sex unions and provide certain legal benefits to individuals in these unions, but redefining traditional marriage with its potentially harmful effects on a critical societal institution and society itself should not be one of them.

Gerald J. Boyum


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