A. The Charge. In seeking to distort and subvert the true purpose of the sexual act, one that is God-given, same-sex marriage violates natural law and the objective norms of morality.
It is true that the cause of gay marriage has recently scored some successes in a number of Western nations. We must steel ourselves to the prospect of further erosion of traditional marriage. Even a moderate like Sean Fieler, the president of Equinox Partners, a New York hedge fund, has expressed serious reservations. “The problem with gay marriage,” he said, “is that it promotes a very harmful myth about the gay lifestyle. It suggests that gay relationships lend themselves to monogamy, stability, health and partnering in the same way heterosexual relationships do. That’s not true.” (New York Times, Jan. 30, 2013).
Commenting on the recent change of the law in England, Sir Roger Gale, a member of the House of Commons stated: “It is not possible to redefine marriage. Marriage is the union between a man and a woman; [it] has been historically, [and] remains so. It is Alice in Wonderland territory, Orwellian almost, for any government of any political persuasion to seek to come along and try to rewrite the lexicon. It will not do.” (Parliamentary debate of February 3, 2011.)
The state bestows numerous benefits on marriage for a good reason. By its very nature and design, traditional marriage provides the proper conditions for a stable, affectionate, and moral atmosphere that is beneficial to the upbringing of children—all fruit of the mutual affection of the parents. This aids in perpetuating the nation and strengthening society, an evident interest of the state.
Homosexual “marriage” does not fosters such conditions. Its primary purpose, objectively speaking, is the personal gratification of two individuals whose union is sterile by nature. It is not entitled, therefore, to the protection that the state extends to true marriage.
B. Background. Whatever view one takes of it, the cause of same-sex marriage has made many advances in recent years. The introduction of same-sex marriage has varied by jurisdiction, resulting from legislative changes to marriage laws, court challenges based on constitutional guarantees of equality, or legalization by voters through referendums and ballot initiatives. That the recognition of same-sex marriages is a civil-rights issue has come to be accepted in many nations. Yet debates arise over whether same-sex couples should be allowed to enter into marriage, be required to use a different status (such as a civil union, which either grant equal rights as marriage or limited rights in comparison to marriage), or not have any such rights. Same-sex marriage can provide LGBT taxpayers with government services and make financial demands on them comparable to those afforded to and required of male-female married couples. Same-sex marriage also gives them legal protections such as inheritance and hospital visitation rights.
As of early 2013 eleven countries (Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, and Sweden) permit same-sex couples to marry nationwide. Same-sex marriages are also performed and recognized in Mexico City, Quintana Roo, and parts of the United States. In Brazil civil unions may be converted into marriage. Some jurisdictions that do not perform same-sex marriages but recognize it being performed elsewhere include Israel, Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten, Rhode Island in the United States, Mexico, and Brazil. Australia recognizes same-sex marriages only if one partner has had gender reassignment therapy.
Some analysts state that financial, psychological and physical well-being are enhanced by marriage, and that children of same-sex couples benefit from being raised by two parents within a legally recognized framework supported by society's institutions. Court documents filed by American scientific associations also state that singling out gay men and women as ineligible for marriage both stigmatizes and invites public discrimination against them. The American Anthropological Association affirms that the finding of social-science research is clear: it does not support the view that either civilization or viable social order require the rejection of same-sex marriage.
C. Response. The view that marriage must be between one man and one woman has been abundantly discussed in recent years and found wanting. There is, for example, a great deal of cross-cultural evidence for polygamy. It is even found in the Bible. Clearly, then, the concept of marriage is not static; it evolves. Ar all events, then was then; now is now.
Some observers detect homophobia or heterosexism in the opposition to gay marriage. Significantly, the opposition has also been likened to past prohibitions of interracial marriage
The chief positive argument for same-sex marriage is one of equity. Why should one segment of the population be deprived of an advantage that is available to the majority? In fact access to same-sex marriage is increasingly defined as a basic human-rights issue. Moreover, it is generally conceded that marriage has many positive benefits, not just for the participants but also for society as a whole.
BIBLIOGRAPHY. Jonathan Rauch, Gay Marriage: Why It Is Good for Straight, and Good for America, New York: Times Books/Henry Holt, 2004; John Corvino and Maggie Gallagher, Debating Gay Marriage, New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.