The lovely and ever-gracious Nicole e-mailed me yesterday evening in search of a serviceable response to the argument that, by opposing same-sex marriage, one posits an argument that is both invalid and unconstitutional.
The essence of the argument presented to her was this:
The person who created this image is engaging in not one but two rhetorical fallacies: he is employing a straw man while begging the question. In effect, he claims that marriage is defined as only as a sacred and therefore “religious” institution involving the union of one man and one woman and by that definition it is therefore an invalid arrangement under the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution. By assuming that marriage is a purely religious compact, he conveniently ignores that it is also a social compact completely apart from religion.
“Marriage” as understood and defined in the secular sense (before the so-called gay rights movement) is the state-sanctioned and recognized union of one man and one woman that has its foundation not in the musty halls of churches and temples but much further back in time – all the way back to the point where Homo sapiens (not to be confused with Homo Sexual) evolved to the point where civilization as we know it marks its beginning in the Neolithic Era.
No surprise there: the human species evolved to propagate – and therefore continue its existence – through the sexual union of a male and a female. In the normal scheme of human biology, males and females are sexually attracted to each other at the onset of puberty and that attraction continues until death. This is the norm for the continuation of the species and any deviation from that norm may be properly described as abnormal, in that it does not contribute in any material or even meaningful fashion to the either the propagation of the human race or the orderly function of social intercourse.
As civilization evolved and human society expanded into villages and cities, the household remained the atomic constant: father as proton, mother as neutron and children as electrons, every individual nuclear family functioned as an atom in the raw matter of civil society.
In the course of several millennia, civil society came to recognize the monogamous union of a man and a woman as the foundation of civil society and sanctioned its existence accordingly. In so doing, it merely gave approbation to the biological norm – even if such approbation turned a cold shoulder to the abnormal. After all…in those days, human existence was guided largely by common sense. And so it came to pass that marriage – as defined and recognized by the governmental incarnation of civil society – became the institution we understand it to be today.
But what of polygamy?
What of it? In the final analysis we are still left with one man…and two or more women. The form of the equation (one man, multiple woman) doesn’t really affect the substance (the union of male and female). Nevertheless, it didn’t take long for civil society throughout the world to figure out PDQ that while polygamy undoubtedly serves the vainglorious impulses of megalomaniacal males, it isn’t the norm: you will find very few societies throughout human civilization that condone polygamy; those that do so are often the most primitive.
All of which brings us back to the issue of same-sex marriage. In light of the forgoing, I’m not sure how such a thing can be made possible without denying the fundamental truth of human existence: by legally recognizing the union of a man and a woman, the State imparts upon them certain rights and privileges apart from those enjoyed by the unmarried. In so doing, the State reaffirms the norm of human existence: our race moves forward through time by propagating itself according to the plan established by its own evolution; any deviation from that plan is a fruitless exercise in attempting to naturalize and normalize that which is anything but natural or normal.
It therefore comes as no surprise that gay rights advocates continue to agitate for full recognition of marital status by the State, despite the fact that civil unions – in which all of the benefits of a State-sanctioned marriage are enjoyed – have been established for same-sex couples in many states.
As I see it, this effort has less to do with accruing any remaining benefits of legal matrimony and more to do with approbation. Deep down inside and in spite of their fevered protestations otherwise, same-sex couples know that their union is NOT a normal one as ordained by human evolution and understood by human society for millennia. They desperately want the assurance of normal society that they are “just like everyone else.”
Trouble is…same-sex couples aren’t “just like everyone else” because they aren’t normal – neither is any form of sexual union between them – and no amount of legislative legerdemain can make it so any more than an act of Congress can make the New England Patriots winners of the 2012 Superbowl. Any governmental authority that legalizes same-sex marriage does not elevate it to the level of traditional heterosexual matrimony; rather, deviancy is defined downward as the latter is essentially vitiated and ultimately abrogated, reducing it to the level of just one of several, equally valid, lifestyle choices.
That bears repeating: same-sex unions are abnormal and serve no purpose either in the evolutionary scheme of human existence or in the course of human society. I oppose the legalization of same-sex marriage not for religious reasons, but because it is an attempt to declare as normal that which is ontologically, biologically and socially…abnormal.
As for the religious dimension of marriage…