Thursday, August 03, 2006

Logical end: same-sex "marriage" to polygamy

Robert George posted at First Things:

A group of self-identified “lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender and allied activists, scholars, educators, writers, artists, lawyers, journalists, and community organizers” has released a statement explicitly endorsing “committed, loving households in which there is more than one conjugal partner.” Got that? More than one conjugal partner.


overbo said...

Heya Dan,

I'm guessing here that you're against making same-sex marriage legal. Am I right?

I always assumed that in gods eyes it doesn't matter what a government labels marriage and doesn't, and since it does not interfere with the more traditional marriages I would have expected less resistance from the catholic community.

So I was wondering if you could expand a bit on some of the key reasons why gay marriage should not be recognized by the government.

Dan said...

Yes, I think that marriage should continue to be between a man and a woman.

You are correct that the Catholic Church's understanding of marriage is not dependent upon what any temporal power decides. The Church believes that according to God's design marriage between a man and a woman is life-long, faithful and open to children. Jesus elevated the reality of this relationship to a sacrament, meaning a concrete means of communicating his grace (cf. CCC 1601-1666). None of this would be affected by a change in civil law.

The argument against same-sex marriage requires us to ask why the state recognizes marriage at all. It has nothing to do with somehow validating a religion (evidenced by the fact that the government doesn't care what kind of religious/non-religious official marries you), but rather with promoting the common good. Stable, healthy marriages produce offspring that provide the next generation of laborers, lawmakers, soldiers, scientists, writers, artists, healthcare workers, taxpayers... If families are dysfunctional, then society suffers. Indeed, we read often today of the problems related to weak or broken families and ask how we might fix them.

Because of the great good that traditional marriages do for society, the government privileges these relationships in order to encourage healthy families. The common good done by heterosexual marriage is well established by tradition and more recently by research. Homosexual marriage would be an experiment in social engineering on a grand scale. What will happen to a society if same-sex marriage or any kind of relationship between loving, consenting adults is promoted at the societal level? We don't know. Given the radical change in the understanding of marriage that is being proposed, the burden of proof is on the proponents of same-sex marriage.

Because Christians (or any other religious group with a similar understanding) believe in a good God who created marriage for a purpose, there is even greater reason to think that God-defined marriage as manifested in the nature of man and woman is the best for human society.

While I haven't read all of it yet, Marriage and the common good: Ten principles is a work of contemporary scholars to defend exactly why traditional marriage is good. You can find the executive summary here.

overbo said...

Thanks for taking the time time to respond.

I wonder though- If the purpose of all this government recognition is to promote the production of healthy children, why not just have the government ignore marriage financially and increase the tax breaks for couples with children?

In the current scheme if two people get married and don't have children then they are just taking free money from society for nothing.