“Destroy the family and you destroy a nation” has been an oft-repeated aphorism of unverified origin that rings true from a common sense perspective. The family unit, after all, is the building block of all cultures and societies. And just as the law of unintended consequences manifests itself often glaringly when dealing with issues of a political nature, so likewise the unintended consequences of redefining marriage will likewise prove to be pejorative.
The proliferation of “same-sex marriage” is based, both judicially and from a political correctness standpoint, on two major fallacious premises. The first is that marrying whoever or whatever one wants is somehow a “right,” and the second is that marriage can be whatever we choose it to be.
Marriage to whomever or whatever one chooses to be is not a codified “right.” Even if it could somehow be so extrapolated, nowhere is it based on whom one professes love for. To the contrary, it is, based in natural law, lex naturalis, which is the system of law that is determined by nature and is thus universal. Embedded also in nature’s law is the use of reason to analyze social and personal human nature to deduce binding rules of behavior from it. As fundamentally significant as marriage is to our culture, our society, and our civilization, the institution cannot be simply redefined based on fad or political correctness without negative consequences.
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Dr. Patrick Fagan, a sociologist and psychologist, has said, “The family is the fundamental building block of society and predates the state and even the societies it builds…At the heart of the family is the mother and father who bring their children into existence.” This is a self-evident truth, regardless of who said it; and anthropologists, biologists, sociologists, and politicians have reiterated that very sentiment. The family is the building block of society and civilization; and the cornerstone to that foundation, or the genesis of it, is a mother and a father.
Foundations must be strong, and built to withstand the elements, corrosion, and the test of time. Otherwise, the structure built thereon will inevitably crumble. If a foundation is made with unmixed cement or just water, as same-sex marriage tries to do, the foundation is weak; and the structure (our civilization) built thereon will crumble. When we tamper with, and attempt to socially-engineer, the foundational elements and institutions to civilization and our society, the results will be destructive.
Redefining marriage based on who one purportedly loves is a spurious dilution of our societal foundation. At no time in human history has marriage been legally based on who one loves, but has always been about perpetuating the species and forming familial units that construct the foundation to civilization. Sometimes it has included multiple spouses; but always it has been based on propagational properties, whether age or fertility exceptions apply or not. Any semantic change to the definition is only that, semantic, and does not change the biological or anthropological verities etymologically embedded in the term. Such a change to accommodate same-sex “marriage” is therefore nothing more than creating a verbal counterfeit to the real thing. Referring to a snake as a swan doesn’t change it into something that it is not.
Nor is there a “right” to marry whomsoever or whatsoever we please, or profess love for. Such a right is, as most other “rights,” claimed by those in our society who feel somehow shortchanged, slighted, or disadvantaged. The “right” is not codified in any legal document, much less our founding documents, just like the “right” to health care, or the “right” to a good job. Heterosexual marriage, however, is codified in natural law, as attested by biological and anthropological fact. The test is simple: try building a civilization or a society from scratch with anything other than natural law, heterosexual marriage. As an attorney friend of mine said, “there is absolutely no logical interpretation of the Constitution that can stretch sufficiently to include the definition of marriage as a judicially definable term.”
Mat Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel, has warned that the door to what can be legitimized as a legal relationship is now wide open. “This doesn’t just stop at heterosexual marriage or same-sex ‘marriage,’ but it also will extend to bigamy and incestuous marriage and all kinds of situations. If the government doesn’t have any interest in [marriage], then polygamy is permissible, polyamory is permissible. We would have group marriages. Incestuous marriages are permissible. Marriages with … children as young as 8 or 7 or however low you want to go on the list — all of that becomes a free-for-all.”
Dr. Charles Krauthammer makes the same argument. “Traditional marriage is defined as the union of (1) two people of (2) opposite gender. If, as advocates of gay marriage insist, the gender requirement is nothing but prejudice, exclusion and an arbitrary denial of one’s autonomous choices, then on what grounds do they insist upon the traditional, arbitrary and exclusionary number of two?”
Other factors now become arbitrary and exclusionary as well. A Missouri man feels he was discriminated against when the state disallowed his marriage to his chosen “partner.” He says of her, “She’s gorgeous. She’s sweet. She’s loving. I’m very proud of her.” He can now employ the same charge of “discrimination” that is precluding him from “marrying” his favorite mare, Pixel.
Doug Mainwaring, an avowed homosexual, has made an astute observation regarding marriage. “Two men or two women together is, in truth, nothing like a man and a woman creating a life and a family together…Marriage is not an elastic term. It is immutable. It offers the very best for children and society. We should not adulterate nor mutilate its definition, thereby denying its riches to current and future generations.”
Words have meaning; and marriage, as the cornerstone to civilization, is copiously imbued with it. I have yet to hear a logical or cogent explanation as to why a binding homosexual relationship must be a marriage as opposed to a civil union or legal partnership. Rather than weakening and diluting the foundation to our society, we should be strengthening and encouraging it. After all, our future, and stability, as a society is dependent on it.
AP award winning columnist Richard Larsen is a regular contributor to the Idaho State Journal. He is also President of Larsen Financial, a brokerage and financial planning firm in Pocatello, Idaho, and is a graduate of Idaho State University with a BA in Political Science and History and former member of the Idaho State Journal Editorial Board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.