Let’s start with something we can agree on.
Marriage is something that gives higher status to a relationship within our culture. That is a good thing. It makes this relationship very important. It has value for society beyond other relationships.
But, can we say a marriage between same sex couples should be given equal recognition before the law as a marriage between a man and a woman? Are they the same?
I don’t think we can, because union between a man and women is fundamentally different from a union between people of the same sex.
I am arguing that opposite sex couples and same sex couples are not equal in every way. They are plainly not. They may be equal in love, but I’ve been trying to show that it isn’t the only definition of marriage that counts. The definition that bases marriage on love is too narrow.
Why aren’t these two relationships equal?
Firstly, one simple difference is that they cannot reproduce children through sexual intercourse. It is possible for SSC’s to have children, but it cannot be from sexual intercourse and therefore they are unequal and unique to each other.
Second, having babies isn’t just a physical act, otherwise we would have no sex unless it made a baby. This also explains why, even though some people can’t have children, the act of sex for opposite sex couples cements their relationship in a way only sex between opposites can. The ‘special making babies’ act of sex, although absent in infertile couples, doesn’t diminish the child producing result of the act.
Thirdly, we can’t deny the physiological differences between men and women. We can’t deny research that says the brains of men and women are wired differently. Our bodies are different, our muscles are different, our brains are different, and despite the remarkable ability of men and women to adapt to new situations, we have different things to offer when it comes to growth and nurturing of children.
Lastly, this union we call marriage can produce kids, and when it does there is well attested evidence that children do best with a mother and father, or here, or here.
Sadly, this isn’t always the case and I’m not denying the remarkable job many single parents do in raising their kids. However, kids in these situations often hunger for their absent father or mother. They recognise something is missing when one is not present.
Next week: I want to address the issue of why our governments regulate marriage and why they should leave the definition the way it is.