Redefining Marriage: Why Not?
Saints and Sceptics
Although we’d much rather discuss something else, the debate over the redefinition of marriage continues to hold the public’s attention. Furthermore, it does not seem that the case for the traditional definition of marriage can even receive a fair hearing. Is it so ridiculous to suggest that we need an institution which insists that our children matter more than we do? Have we completely lost sight of the connection between sex and procreation? After all, there is a rather strong correlation between having a child and having had sex; there is an even stronger correlation between being human and having a biological mother and father. Whatever the case, it seems that the secular world does not understand the traditional view of marriage. So, we hope that these “Quick Points” might shed a little more light than heat, help others understand our position a little better and demonstrate that it is possible to rationally disagree with the arguments for same-sex marriage.
1) The traditional, or conjugal, view of marriage is that marriage is the exclusive, lifelong, sexual and personal union of a man and a woman.
2) The argument for the conjugal definition is quite simple: if there was no intrinsic link between sex, procreation and family there would simply be no need for society to promote and protect faithful, permanent, lifelong sexual relationships. Put another way, the traditional view of marriage recognises the basic facts of life: that sex is not merely for pleasure, affection and romance. We cannot escape the fact that sex aims at procreation. Therefore, society has encouraged and protected sexual relationships which are suitable for procreation. That’s the point of marriage.
3) Marriage gives sexual relationships a very definite purpose: to create a union which can create new life and support new families. It is astonishing that we have to remind people of this; but humans naturally seek to reproduce and nurture their children. Marriage aims to order those instincts to a specific end. Marriage is an institution which places normative demands on sexual partners so that children will be raised by parents who will stay together for life.
So this is not a debate about “marriage equality” : it is a debate about redefining the nature and the purpose of the institution of marriage…
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