This November 4th in California there is a Proposition on the ballot to reinstate marriage as between on man and one woman. This is Proposition 8. This blog post is my reasons for voting yes on proposition 8.
Here is some history.
In March of 2000 Californians passed Proposition 22 which clarified the California family code that marriage is between one man and one woman. Prop 22 passed with a 61% of the vote. In May of this year the California Supreme Court overturned Proposition 22 by citing that there was no legitimate basis to discriminate based on sexual preference and declared Proposition 22 unconstitutional. This is a direct assault on our sovereignty and authority as a democratic-republic.
So now we have Proposition 8 which is set to amend the California Constitution to clarify, again, that marriage is specifically between one man and one woman.
I agree with many of the arguments for Prop. 8, however I think many the arguments don’t go far enough to explain why we should keep marriage between man and woman. This is my attempt to explore my reasons for voting yes on 8.
What is the purpose of marriage? Why was the institution of marriage created so long ago? Is it simply a commitment between two people? If so why is it so important to make this commitment a public affair? What benefit to you or me is it that two random people decide to commit to each other? Why should a governmental body recognize and encourage two people to commit to each other?
In my opinion a man marring another man or a woman marring another woman is no more realistic than a boy joining the Girl Scouts or a girl joining the Boy Scouts.
Marriage is a social & cultural construct based on the realities of procreation. Marriage is not a natural institution, it is a cultural and societal one, and its sole purpose is to raise children in a stable controlled environment. No one other than the child’s parents can have more interest in a child’s well-being. After all the child is a biological extension of themselves.
Unlike other animals humans have a long development process, which is something we recognize as a society; depending on the state the legal age of an adult is between 18 and 21. Because of this fact society has realized that children need to be cared for for an extended period of time. So how does a culture encourage people to stay together for an extended period of time to raise their children? Simple, you encourage people to make public life-long commitments to each other and encourage them to have many kids. This is why we give married couples extra benefits over a single person and also give even more benefits to those that have kids.
Parents then teach their children how to be a productive and contributing member of society while discouraging their anti-societal impulses. It is in the interests of the parents and society to have well-adjusted offspring that integrate with society. This is a reality of human nature and our tribal instincts.
So if society holds people accountable to their marriage contracts how would two people make the decision that they could live bound to another for the rest of their life? Simple, the strongest of the human emotions, love. This is the only human characteristic that will allow two people to make a life-long commitment to each other through thick and thin, which in-turn is the most stable and nurturing environment to raise a child in.
This is where the gay marriage debate chimes in. Most people see marriage simply as an expression of love and commitment. Which is only partly true. The fulfillment and actualization of marriage only comes when a child enters into society as a productive and contributing member resulting from the love and commitment of the married couple. This is why marriage, as a cultural institution was created in the first place.
I don’t doubt that a committed gay couple could raise a well adjusted child. I don’t doubt that a gay couple could love each other enough to make a public commitment. However to call that commitment marriage is simply incorrect. If we can claim that two people whom love each other but are unable to procreate is the institution of marriage then what cultural institution do we have to encourage people to commit to each other for the purpose of procreating and producing contributing members of society?
As a society we all benefit, and have benefited from, the institution of marriage.
Most people have a hard time arguing the logical realities for marriage. However they argue the best they can, usually citing religion, because they understand the intrinsic value it has in our society. Most people understand this. However most people also understand that exclusion is hurtful and are conflicted between the the argument that non-gay marriage is exclusionary and that traditional marriage is beneficial to society.
Allowing gay marriage isn’t expanding the definition of marriage, but rather it is narrowing the definition of marriage. It is removing the assumption that the point of marriage is to procreate and rear well-adjusted children in favor of defining it solely as a relationship of commitment and love.
Also, a secondary argument to voting yes on proposition 8 is to send a message to the California Supreme Court that we will not let them usurp the authority of the people. They are there to protect our laws, not redefine them!
Update: I found another blog post that talks about why you should vote yes on prop 8. Here is a quote.
This argument against Proposition 8 not only mischaracterizes the issue, but does so in a way that is calculated to put supporters of traditional marriage on the defensive. The right to marry has never been an unfettered right. Even today, we maintain important restrictions on the right of individuals to marry. (For example, not permitting marriage between close relatives or prohibiting someone from being married to two people at the same time).
Update 2: Here is a website that details how gay marriage has affected Massachusetts since their courts legalized gay marriage back in 2003. Here is a quote from that page:
Homosexual “married” couples can now demand to be able to adopt children the same as normal couples. Catholic Charities decided to abandon handling adoptions rather submit to regulations requiring them to allow homosexuals to adopt the children in their care.
Update 3: An interesting article by Stanley Kurtz about how marriage is dying in some parts of the world and how gay marriage fits into this problem:
At issue in the gay-marriage controversy is nothing less than the existence of marriage itself. This point is vehemently denied by the proponents of gay marriage, who speak endlessly of marriage’s adaptability and “resilience.” But if there is one thing I think I’ve established in my recent writing on Scandinavia, it is that marriage can die — and is in fact dying — somewhere in the world. In fact, marriage is dying in the very the same place that first recognized gay marriage.
In setting up the institution of marriage, society offers special support and encouragement to the men and women who together make children. Because marriage is deeply implicated in the interests of children, it is a matter of public concern. Children are helpless. They depend upon adults. Over and above their parents, children depend upon society to create institutions that keep them from chaos. Children cannot articulate their needs. Children cannot vote. Yet children are society. They are us, and they are our future. That is why society has the right to give special support and encouragement to an institution that is necessary to the well being of children — even if that means special benefits for some, and not for others. The dependence intrinsic to human childhood is why unadulterated libertarianism can never work.