I have resisted blogging on the notion of ‘same-sex marriage’, because the issue seemed beneath the dignity of my blog. But the U.S. Supreme Court is considering the issue, and I am sick of those ‘equal’ signs on Facebook. Also, I think that good people are being hoodwinked by the political Left aided by religious conservative straw men. So here goes.
I oppose the notion of homosexual marriage. Individuals have the right to associate by mutual consent; two, three, ten, twenty-thousand homosexuals have the right to do anything with or to each other if they all agree to it. But don’t force me to call such a relationship ‘marriage’.
[T]he concept “marriage” denotes a certain moral-legal relationship between a man and a woman, which entails a certain pattern of behavior, based on a mutual agreement and sanctioned by law.
— Ayn Rand (an atheist) (1966,1967), Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, New York: The Objectivist, p. 37 (Chapter 4).
The issue is not about religion but rather good epistemology—common sense, really—and the proper role of government regarding the meaning of concepts.
There is good cognitive reason for the traditional concept of marriage. ‘Marriage’ is a very abstract and complex concept, but it has basic, perceptual elements that are related to gender.
Children learn the concepts ‘mother’ and ‘father’ well before the concept ‘parent’; they learn ‘brother’ and ‘sister’ well before ‘sibling’; ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ well before ‘spouse’. Imagine trying to teach a child the concept ‘parent’ without the concepts ‘mother’ and ‘father’.
The fact is that males and females have profound differences—perceivably, physically, and psychologically. Our awareness of and relationships with males and females are very different, and we need concepts that recognize these differences. Marriage is such a concept.
If homosexual unions are to be called ‘marriage’, then there will no longer be a word for the current concept of ‘marriage’; that is, the concept of marriage will cease to exist. But marriage is too exalted an idea not to be a concept. A married man should not have to think or say, “I am married … to a woman.” It should be enough for him to think, “I am married” to summon his understanding of a man’s relation to the woman he shares his life with.
Calling homosexual unions ‘marriage’ is as bad as calling all spouses ‘wives’.
For those who want to change the meaning of a concept in the free marketplace of ideas, they are free to try to change one mind at a time through persuasion; and the burden of proof is on them. In my judgment as explained above, this burden regarding ‘marriage’ cannot be met. Instead, advocates of same-sex unions should coin a word or phrase distinct from ‘marriage’.
What is doubly wrong is for government—the agency of force—to change the meaning of a fundamental, rational concept.
Now I come to perhaps the most controversial issue: the normative issue. Marriage is, in principle and despite all the awful marriages that we all know exist, a profoundly healthy relationship: for the husband and wife, and for children that the husband and wife raise or otherwise interact with. The notion of ‘homosexual marriage’ implies the premise that a homosexual union is as healthy as marriage for all involved. To say the least, I doubt this premise; but again, more politically significant than my doubt is this point: It is not the business of government to end the debate over this premise by fiat, by declaring new meanings for a fundamental, rational concept in a free society.
When in doubt, remember this: The political Left is wrong about everything. Even when they seem right, their reasons are wrong, and their end goals are evil. The Left opposes objectivity, reason, rational self-interest, and individual rights; the Left favors subjectivism, emotionalism, and sacrifice of the individual to the collective, the state, some other individual’s whim, or nothing.
The Left opposes consent and favors force.
Leftists are parasites in spirit as in matter. They seek legitimacy and honor from civilized concepts—such as reason, rights, freedom, justice, art, love, and marriage—by trying to pervert the meaning of these concepts. Don’t get in bed with them.