A relationship between any two people, whether they are hetero- or homosexual, having as its purpose the mutual expression of love and affection can take many forms and does not require any legal framework whatsoever for its support and encouragement. To any extent two individuals desire, they may formalize their relationship with binding legal agreements that include the combining and sharing of their wealth and assets. Or, as so many who cohabit well know, couples without such agreements are free to leave everything as loose and whimsical as their hearts desire. Love and the expression of love does not need the social institution of marriage to thrive.
But marriage is not principally about love, though love is unquestionably crucial to its success. The institution of marriage is society's way of demonstrating its commitment to future generations by creating a safehouse for procreation and child rearing.
This is why marriage includes public vows of commitment, in which the couple and those who witness the ceremony pledge to support and safeguard this relationship for life. This is also why marriage has historically been established and sanctioned by the church, where a commitment is made before God to faithfulness and sexual fruitfulness, just as the first couple, Adam and Eve, were joined together by God to love and support each other, and to enjoy sexual intimacy aimed at producing children to populate God's earth.
The fact that not all marriages produce children only underlines and highlights the fact that children are the normal and expected result of every marriage. That same-sex "marriage" is a non-sequitur can be shown quite simply: if everyone married someone of the same sex, life on earth would quickly die out. Same-sex marriage is a corruption of a long-held societal norm and a distortion of the fundamental design and intent of the marital commitment.
Americans have generous hearts. The shift in opinion in light of the gay rights media blitz of the past decades is proof of the generous, but entirely emotional (read: irrational), response to the heartfelt pleas of those who have chosen to embrace their homosexual desires in very public ways. This widespread change of heart is built on a reflexive but misplaced sense of compassion among heterosexuals for a very vocal homosexual minority. It represents a complete failure to consider the damage that will result from changing marriage into something it was never meant to be.
Liberalized divorce laws have already done terrible harm to children and the stable, nurturing environment that the two-parent family was intended to provide. Study after study confirms that children of single-parent families do worse on a wide range of metrics than their peers in two-parent, heterosexual families.
Our societal understanding of marriage has already been damaged by high levels of divorce and children born to unmarried, cohabiting couples. If we further erode the cultural understanding of marriage's procreative roots by including a non-procreative set of relationships under the same umbrella, marriage will ultimately cease to mean anything at all. Same-sex marriage will be one more cultural message to young men and women that we are not really serious about creating and parenting the next generation.
Read the whole thing and walk away a better person.
If Mr. Lehardy is not a regular stop on your tour of the blogosphere, he needs to become one.
It's really that simple.