Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What are some reasons society should support same-sex marriage? « Family Scholars

What are some reasons society should support same-sex marriage? « Family Scholars: "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Barry Deutsch 12.03.2010, 8:19 PM

In the comments of Family Scholars Blog, Kisarita wrote:

The only reason to accord a unique status to a sexual relationship is because of the procreative aspect.

I disagree. Quoting The Marriage Movement Statement of Principles:

What is Marriage? Six Dimensions.

Marriage has at least six important dimensions:

1) Marriage is a legal contract. Marriage creates formal and legal obligations and rights between spouses. Public recognition of, and protection for, this marriage contract, whether in tax or divorce law, helps married couples succeed in creating a permanent bond.

2) Marriage is a financial partnership. In marriage, “my money” typically becomes “our money,” and this sharing of property creates its own kind of intimacy and mutuality that is difficult to achieve outside a legal marriage. Only lovers who make this legal vow typically acquire the confidence that allows them to share their bank accounts as well as their bed.

3) Marriage is a sacred promise. Even people who are not part of any organized religion usually see marriage as a sacred union, with profound spiritual implications. “Whether it is the deep metaphors of covenant as in Judaism, Islam and Reformed Protestantism; sacrament as in Roman Catholicism or Eastern Orthodoxy; the yin and yang of Confucianism; the quasi-sacramentalism of Hinduism; or the mysticism often associated with allegedly modern romantic love,” Don Browning writes, “humans tend to find values in marriage that call them beyond the mundane and everyday.” Religious faith helps to deepen the meaning of marriage and provides a unique fountainhead of inspiration and support when troubles arise.

4) Marriage is a sexual union. Marriage elevates sexual desire into a permanent sign of love, turning two lovers into “one flesh.” Marriage indicates not only a private but a public understanding that two people have withdrawn themselves from the sexual marketplace. This public vow of fidelity also makes men and women more likely to be faithful. Research shows, for example, that cohabiting men are four times more likely to cheat than husbands, and cohabiting women are eight times more likely to cheat than spouses.

5) Marriage is a personal bond. Marriage is the ultimate avowal of caring, committed, and collaborative love. Marriage incorporates our desire to know and be known by another human being; it represents our dearest hopes that love is not a temporary condition, that we are not condemned to drift in and out of shifting relationships forever.

6) Marriage is a family-making bond. Marriage takes two biological strangers and turns them into each other’s next-of-kin. As a procreative bond, marriage also includes a commitment to care for any children produced by the married couple. It reinforces fathers’ (and fathers’ kin’s) obligations to acknowledge children as part of the family system.

And furthermore:

Married adults live longer, healthier, happier, and more affluent lives than adults who don’t marry or don’t stay married. This phenomenon is not simply an artifact of selection; marriage itself makes adults better off, by offering them greater emotional and financial support, wider and more integrated social networks, important economies of scale, and productive boosts in earnings, parenting capacity, and life management.

There are clearly many justifications for marriage in addition to (not instead of) the procreative aspects.

Opponents of same-sex marriage tend to argue for a single-dimensional view of marriage — marriage is about procreation, full stop — but that argument doesn’t withstand much examination. (As David Blankenhorn has written, marriage is a “multi-dimensional, multi-purpose institution. It is not true therefore to say that the state’s only interest in marriage is marriage’s generative role. Instead, marriage’s role as a pro-child social institution is only one, albeit the most important, of these legitimate state interests.”)

In her book The Case For Marriage, Maggie Gallagher (and her co-author Linda Waite) dismissed the idea that “marriage is mostly about children” as a “myth.”

Of course, all of these purposes for marriage apply to same-sex couples as they do to opposite-sex couples.

No comments: