Many feel compelled to defend the sanctity of marriage by continuing to limit the legal definition of marriage as “1M1W”. The opposition to marriage equality for same-gender couples is often because of perceived dire consequences for the traditional family and society at large if it is allowed. Along with their view that 1M1W is a long-held tradition, there is the belief that such a union is the only one grounded in biblical principles.
Q: Doesn’t modern 1M1W resemble Biblical marriage?
A: Not really.
With Biblical marriage there was...
A summary of biblical marriage: women were often bought or sold much like any other possession, without any rights of their own. Having only one wife, often denoted the extent of the husband’s poverty. There was nothing resembling our modern concept of ‘proposal’ or ‘wedding,’ but most often consisted of a transaction of money or gifts to the bride’s father. There was no wedding ceremony in a synagogue or other house of worship.
Q: Doesn’t modern 1M1W resemble Traditional marriage?
A: Again, not really.
Traditional marriage in the United States meant...
Some changes to traditional marriage were met with opposition and were described as social experiments with risks too great for society to bear. Those opposed to each augmentation often warned of a “slippery slope” leading to adults marrying children, adults marrying animals, or adults marrying inanimate objects. None of the warnings were based in reality: two human adults legally able to give consent and sign a marriage certificate. Yet these are the same arguments used now against same-sex marriage.
Q: Won’t same-sex marriage harm society?
A: There is no evidence to suggest it.
The preceding historical synopsis shows that there is very little either “traditional” or “biblical” about society’s current concept of marriage. Marriage has instead changed with the times, and it remained marriage through all of these changes, even now as same-sex marriage is legally recognized. 1M1W marriage is often referred to as either biblical or traditional marriage, but history shows it is neither, that 1M1W is actually a relatively recent western construct.
To those who feel same-sex marriage poses a threat to other marriages, here is data from Massachusetts where same-sex marriage has been legal since 2004. Since then the divorce rate in that state has decreased. Men and women marry each other now just as they did before, and their marriage is not redefined. No clergy of any denomination has been forced to marry same-sex couples. No church has lost its tax-exemption for refusing to officiate a same-sex marriage. Gay sex is not being taught to children in school... none of the things the anti-gay marriage activists said would happen. The only difference is that now every person—not just if they’re straight—has the freedom to marry the one they love. In the state of Massachusetts marriage is not just a special right of those who are heterosexually oriented.
Same-sex marriage opponents say that they are trying to “protect” marriage. But now in all 50 States, marriage is protected for everyone. If it is simply “left up to the States” as in the case of mixed-racial marriage before Loving vs. Virginia, (or as former Vice President Cheney wants same-sex marriage left up to the States), there is no legal protection for them should couples cross state lines (as when on vacation). Marriage as an institution is strengthened when it is not exclusive to only those of heterosexual orientation.
There are no mandates of procreation put upon married heterosexual couples, and so there is no valid argument against same-sex couples’ lack of ability to procreate, especially when you consider the number of couples who choose not to, or are medically-advised not to have children, or the people beyond child-bearing age who marry every day whose marriages are universally recognized and celebrated.
The staggering number of unwanted children who age out of foster care and adoption placement is enough to show that there is no shortage of children in our society, only a shortage of caring couples who are legally eligible and willing to provide a loving home. All credible psychiatric and medical data has shown that adopted children raised in a home with same-sex parents are just as likely to be well-adjusted in every category as their heterosexual-parented adopted classmates.
In summary: It seems beyond explanation from a social conservative standpoint, that “living in fornication” (their term) be preferred to a loving, official life-long commitment that marriage provides. In this current age where there is such a relative lack of commitment to taking care of one another except as it is convenient, one would think that if two people truly love each other and would want to make their bond of relationship official, that their decision would be welcomed regardless of their physical genders.