The voters of California recently voted to keep the meaning of marriage intact, that is, as a union between one man and one woman. Gays in California and elsewhere are upset. I have been following the controversy and I must say that I am saddened but not surprised by the quality of arguments coming from those who wished to change the definition of marriage.
Read more at http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-protests9-2008nov09,0,7790800.story
As I see it, in this country, marriage has been understood to mean a union between one man and one woman. And the question today is whether the institution should be redefined to include men marrying men and women marrying women.
Or to put it another way, do we wish to change marriage from a union between men and women to an institution based on a persons sexual orientation. Because if marriage is changed in such a way to include those with a same sex orientation, we would remove any rational argument to exclude other orientations.
Certainly some people would claim to be oriented toward both men and women and others no doubt would push the envelope even further, seeking to enter into some bizzare entanglements with multiple partners, inanimate objects etc... On what rational basis could those unions be denied if we have changed marriage to an orientation based institution?
And let us not forget that we have laws pertaining to children, divorce, inheritance etc... that could be made infinitely more complicated than they are today. How would our current laws resolve a divorce and custody issues if one person wishes to dissolve a marriage between several partners? Do the remaining members of the union remain married? What happens to the children?
Now some of you no doubt think I am getting a bit ridiculous and that marriage should be between two people only. But if we have changed to an orientation based system of marriage, do we then discriminate against the bisexuals that wish to marry both men and women? Aren't we all about ending discrimination?
Changing the definition of marriage would have far reaching consequences that we can't even fathom right now. I have not heard of any convincing arguments that address any of the issues that I have brought up. In California, some of the protesters would consider me a hateful bigot.
Hatred for gays is by no means the only reason why a person might vote to keep marriage the way it is. Certainly changing marriage could lead to profound changes in society and it is not too dificult to imagine that some of those changes would not be good.
The advocates of gay marriage have not made a convincing enough case to change an institution thousand of years in the making.
But I am interested in opposing points of view. Bring em on.