Saturday, December 27, 2008

Those Damn Queers Are Demanding "Rights" Again!

Recently, featured the following column by Jack Kerwick: (italics are mine)

Proposition 8 and the events that have unfolded in the wake of its passage in California have reignited the controversy over so-called “gay marriage.” Partisans on both sides of this issue invariably characterize it as an issue over the “definition” of marriage: those on the Right want to continue “defining” marriage as a union between “a man and a woman”, while those on the Left seek to expand its definition to encompass unions between members of the same sex.

While the issue at stake here definitely involves “the definition” of marriage, to understand it only in these terms is to both misunderstand and grossly understate what is at stake. No arguement there.

The claim that this debate centers on a disagreement over a “definition” erroneously suggests that the proponents and opponents of “gay marriage” differ with one another merely in degree ; in fact, the conflict between them runs much deeper than the term “definition” would indicate. Yep, all the way down to the basic rights heterosexual Americans take for granted. Like the right to be protected from discrimination in housing and employment, the right of spousal inheritence, and all other societal privileges granted to heterosexual marriages.

Republicans and Democrats entertain (or at least claim to entertain) different “definitions” of government, yet insofar as the one Party champions “Big Government” while the other promotes “Small Government,” their disagreement appears to be one of degree. Couldn't resist that tired old "big government" dig, even now, could ya, Kerwick?

In contrast, the difference between the two conceptions of “marriage” in question is a difference in kind . Here we go, let the spin begin.

Reflection on the history of the institution of marriage makes it possible to abstract from the contingencies and relativities of time and place an ideal type, that is, a set of presuppositions underlying and, thus, surviving the fluctuations that actual marriage has undergone and in the absence of which it wouldn’t be the institution that it is. Good thing it's "fluctuated" away from that whole "women as property" beginning, huh? Oh wait...

Admittedly, these presuppositions are few in number, but they are unmistakable. Anyone else sense mistakes coming up?

Marriage is, first, an enduring, indeed, permanent union (Not even gonna bother looking up divorce rates here.); second, it is the permanent union between members of the opposite sex—an inherently heterosexual compact; finally, it is a union from which children can be and are expected to spring.

Those on the Right who oppose “gay marriage” by arguing that marriage is and always has been “the union of a man and a woman” are being less than fully honest. Wow, what a humbling admission!

It is much more accurate to say that marriage has always been a union between men and women .

“Polygamy” -- the union of one man and several women -- has been the historical norm. “Polyandry” -- the union of one woman and multiple men -- though much rarer, is not unheard of. Anthropological evidence suggests that history is not without cultures that sanctioned the marrying of sons and mothers! Holy marriage trivia, Batman! And, of course, marriage has been expressed through the form of monogamy.

The proponents of these various expressions of marriage often disagree fiercely and passionately with one another over the proper form of marriage. Still, their disagreement is one of degree. There is no disagreement that marriage is an inherently heterosexual union, the means by which the human race is replenished and civilized. I think it's nice they were all able to agree on that at least, don't you?

The proponents of so-called “gay-marriage” demand not merely a “re-definition” of marriage -- marriage has been continually redefined throughout its history -- they demand, rather, that two fundamentally distinct, irreducible kinds of association, the one “marital,” the other “non-marital,” be collapsed into one another. To paraphrase Aristotle, it was as if they insisted on describing the conclusions of mathematics in terms of “virtue” and “vice,” “justice” and “injustice,” and ethics in terms of “axioms” and “proofs.” I'll see your Aristotle and raise you Platos' Republic on the subject of marriage.

In short, the proponents of “gay marriage” claim a “right” (Those zany homosexuals and their wacky claims of "rights"!) to a contradiction in terms: “same-sex unions” simply cannot be marital. Bearing in mind that the argument in favor of “same-sex marriage” is not simply an argument in favor of but one more revision of the “definition” of marriage, but instead rests upon a fundamental confusion of categories, it is not difficult to recognize the comparison with earlier restrictions on inter-racial marriage that are often made for the spurious analogy that it is. Funny, it all looks like hate to me.

That parties to a marriage be of the same racial background is not a postulate of marriage. Or, to use the idiom of an earlier era, race is an “accidental” feature of marriage, while heterosexuality is “essential” to it. Because only heterosexuals can take vows and exchange rings?

Mormons have incurred the wrath of the supporters of “same sex marriage” for their endorsement of Proposition 8. In response to the outrageous manner in which members of the Church of Latter Day Saints (LDS) have been treated, it would be something like poetic justice if they would now assert their “right” to marry whomever and how many ever people they wanted to marry. While our society judges polygamy an undesirable marital arrangement, unlike homosexual “unions,” at least polygamy is a form of marriage. I kinda wish they'd take ya up on that, if only so I could watch ya'll try to fight this battle on two fronts.

Paraphrasing Aristotle, correcting fellow pundits on their semantics, and using tortured sentence structure do not make for a compelling arguement, Mr. Kerwick. There's a reason you have to work so hard to make your case against gay marriage. It's always difficult to defend an exclusive veiwpoint, because such a position requires one to dismiss all other opinions as foolish and without merit. If you'd step away from your irrational fear that we are trying to take something away from you for a moment, maybe you could see how damaging it is to society as a whole to marginalize an entire segment of the population on the basis of who (whom?) they love.

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