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Do you take this woman? Do you take this man?
by Alan Caruba
24 February 2004

To permit the term “marriage” to be applied to a gay couple is nothing less than an attack on the very foundation of society.


Excuse me, but hasn’t marriage always been about the joining together of a man and a woman? Where did this bizarre notion come from that marriage means a man marrying a man or a woman marrying a woman?

For as long as there has been human civilization, all cultures, all peoples, have recognized marriage as specific to the opposite genders mating for the purpose of establishing a family. It is, simply put, the linchpin of society.

Like many, I have gay friends. I knew gays as far back as my days in college and, yes, even in the Army. The one thing I will not let a gay friend tell me is that his sexual orientation is “natural” or “normal.” It is to the homosexual, but there is nothing in nature that reflects anything other than the biological and genetic demand for propagation. Sex is powerful for a reason. We are wired to reproduce. Sperm must fertilize an egg to do that.

In the conduct of their sexual lives gays cannot reproduce. This isn’t to say lesbians can’t be artificially inseminated or that a gay male couple cannot adopt. Science and society has extended these privileges, but they are fairly new and reflect a more tolerant society. A fairly militant gay movement has achieved this, enthusiastically supported by Hollywood and the entertainment industry.

What gays cannot dispute, however, is that the long history of marriage was and is about a man and a woman mating in a religious and/or civil ceremony (you need a license!). To call a gay relationship a “marriage” is manifestly inaccurate.  To permit the term “marriage” to be applied to a gay couple is nothing less than an attack on the very foundation of society.

This is not to say that marriage in America hasn’t taken a beating. My parent’s generation would have been aghast at couples living together out of wedlock or with single motherhood. Most certainly, the divorce rate is such that marriage for life is now a rarity and second or even third marriage doesn’t raise any eyebrows. However, when someone says “marriage” most people understand it means a man and a woman.

All of which brings us back to an even larger issue. Who decides who’s married? The State. Marriage has never been a federal concern and most certainly should not become one. The notion of passing a Constitutional amendment to protect marriage is absurd! The idea of throwing federal tax dollars at a program to encourage marriage is absurd! Let it also be noted that, when people want to divorce, they must get the State’s permission.

What’s been happening in San Francisco is a wholesale flouting of the State’s laws regarding marriage. The Mayor there needs to do some jail time.  Not surprisingly, the State has announced it will not recognize the marriage licenses as legal.

What’s happening in America is a debate about whether “marriage” incorporates the relationships of gays who love each other and are devoted to a single partner. No, it doesn’t. It can respect those relationships by extending various legal protections and benefits, but it cannot jettison the entire reason for the institution of marriage.

Therefore, it is up to the State legislatures to get a grip on reality, to reflect the ancient construct of all societies and, in this case, the view of the majority of Americans. They must make it perfectly clear that marriage is about the union of a man and a woman.

The idea that this is even being debated suggests that moral values, societal values, family values---whatever you want to call them---are already in serious trouble in America.

Alan Caruba is the author of Warning Signs, published by Merril Press. His weekly commentaries are posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center.

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