Friday, February 6

Understanding Heterosexist Marriage Values

Same-sex marriage is being debated in New Hampshire this session.
Republican state Rep. Daniel Itse said gay marriage would cause out-of-wedlock births to rise in New Hampshire, adding that the debate itself and civil unions have already cheapened marriage.

“Young people now see no need to get married,” Itse said. “It just doesn’t mean anything anymore.”
I'm not defending his argument, but here's where I think he is coming from:
As a conservative, I don't like change. Change in general is a confession that we got it wrong the first time. Therefore our idea of marriage was wrong because it was incomplete. We can no longer look at marriage as a perfect institution (something controlled only by divine, supernatural, or untouchable powers) but as an institution controlled by us regular humans. Further, for generations we've been adding value into marriage. Every heterosexual wedding we celebrated and built it up. If marriage changes, some of that value will transfer but some will not.
Again, not to defend his point of view but this is my attempt to understand it. I also think he's using his words as a euphemism for "letting in those dirty fagots will soil the exclusivity of our club" but I won't go there. Being pro same-sex marriage, I have a response to each idea.

For the first, consider that marriage is a human institution. As a Christian I believe it is also divine (as most things in Christianity blend divinity and humanity together) but even my cursory knowledge of anthropology clearly teaches me that marriages are dictated by the culture that performs them. Given that fact, better to embrace marriage's human element than pretend it does not exist.

For the second, I think altering our cultural definition of marriage will subtract some value. But combine it with the fact that allowing another 9 million americans to marry will add to our value of marriage. When the math is done, we end up ahead. Besides, in a few generations we'll get that value back anyway.

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