Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The "definition of marriage"

“Our society doesn’t deprive homosexuals of the right to marry. They are perfectly free to marry someone of the opposite sex, aren’t they?” Ever hear people use this argument before? Funny how these same folks will add that a major reason why they oppose civil same-sex marriage is that it would “change the definition” of traditional marriage. But if you are gay and married to an opposite-sex partner, your marriage is about as radical a departure from the definition of traditional marriage as any. Because you are calling what you have a “marriage” even though it fails to accomplish the most fundamental purpose of why the institution of marriage exists in the first place, which is to curb promiscuity by providing a legitimate, socially respectable outlet for the human sex drive. “It is better to marry than to burn with passion” the apostle Paul once wrote long ago.

Same-sex civil marriages would accomplish this fundamental purpose, whereas gays with opposite-sex partners will more often than not continue to burn with the passion of a repressed and frustrated sex drive, so that the very problem that marriage is supposed to alleviate is in fact exacerbated. So which marriage is the more radical departure from the traditional “definition of marriage”? I’d say that while both are departures, same-sex civil marriages are closer to our society's traditional definition because sexual satisfaction, emotional bonding and romantic love are truly within reach, whereas the other arrangement can’t help but result in an unhappiness and dissatisfaction that strikes at the very heart of what is supposed to bind a married couple together in a lifelong relationship.