Let’s see how gay marriage has changed the norms of natural marriage, using an interesting article by Ryan T. Anderson appeared on Ricochet.
First, a bit about the author.
Ryan T. Anderson researches and writes about justice and moral principles in economic thought, health care and education as the William E. Simon Fellow in Religion and a Free Society at The Heritage Foundation. He also has expertise in bioethics, marriage, religious liberty and natural law theory.
Anderson, who joined Heritage’s DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society in 2012, also is the editor of Public Discourse, the online journal of the Witherspoon Institute of Princeton, N.J.
Anderson’s recent work focuses on the moral and constitutional questions surrounding same-sex “marriage.” He is the co-author with Princeton’s Robert P. George and Sherif Girgis of “What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense” (Encounter Books, December 2012). The three also co-wrote the article “What is Marriage?” in the winter 2011 issue of Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy.
[…]Anderson received his bachelor of arts degree from Princeton University, graduatingPhi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude. He is a doctoral candidate in political philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, where he received his master’s degree.
The point I wanted to pull out his piece on Ricochet was that gay activists admit that one of the motives for redefining marriage is to destroy central aspects of traditional marriage, such as monogamy, sexual exclusivity and pledged permanence.
Redefining marriage would abandon the norm of male-female sexual complementarity as an essential characteristic of marriage. Making that optional would also make other essential characteristics—like monogamy, exclusivity and permanency—optional, as my co-authors and I argue in our new book, What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense. We also show how it is increasingly confirmed by the rhetoric and arguments of those who would redefine marriage (“revisionists”) and by the policies that their more candid leaders increasingly embrace. Indeed, several commentators on Tuesday’s post explicitly jettisoned monogamy, sexual exclusivity and pledged permanence as demands of marriage.
Consider the norm of monogamy. In testifying before Congress against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), prominent New York University professor Judith Stacey expressed hope that the revisionist view’s triumph would give marriage “varied, creative and adaptive contours . . . [leading some to] question the dyadic limitations of Western marriage and seek . . . small group marriages.”
In their statement “Beyond Same-Sex Marriage,” more than 300 self-styled LGBT and allied scholars and advocates—including prominent Ivy League professors—call for legally recognizing sexual relationships involving more than two partners. University of Calgary professor Elizabeth Brake argues in her book Minimizing Marriage that justice requires using legal recognition to “denormalize the ideal of heterosexual monogamy” and correct for “past discrimination against homosexuals, bisexuals, polygamists and care networks.”
And exclusivity? Andrew Sullivan, who has extolled the “spirituality” of “anonymous sex,” writes in his book Virtually Normal that the “openness” of same-sex relationships could enhance the bonds of husbands and wives:
Same-sex unions often incorporate the virtues of friendship more effectively than traditional marriages; and at times, among gay male relationships, the openness of the contract makes it more likely to survive than many heterosexual bonds. . . . [T]here is more likely to be greater understanding of the need for extramarital outlets between two men than between a man and a woman. . . . [S]omething of the gay relationship’s necessary honesty, its flexibility, and its equality could undoubtedly help strengthen and inform many heterosexual bonds.
Similarly, in a New York Times Magazine profile titled “Married, With Infidelities”, Dan Savage encourages spouses to adopt “a more flexible attitude” about allowing each other to seek sex outside their marriage. A piece titled “Monogamish” in The Advocate, a gay-interest newsmagazine, supports this point still more candidly:
Anti-equality right-wingers have long insisted that allowing gays to marry will destroy the sanctity of “traditional marriage,” and, of course, the logical, liberal party-line response has long been “No, it won’t.” But what if—for once—the sanctimonious crazies are right? Could the gay male tradition of open relationships actually alter marriage as we know it? And would that be such a bad thing?
As the article’s blurb reads: “We often protest when homophobes insist that same-sex marriage will change marriage for straight people too. But in some ways, they’re right.”
These are the words of leading supporters of same-sex marriage. If you believe in monogamy and exclusivity—and the benefits these bring to orderly procreation and child wellbeing—but would redefine civil marriage, take note.
So the question becomes, does it weaken marriage to introduce these ideas of non-monogamy and non-permanence, and call them “marriage”? The secular left already champions policies like no-fault divorce, single mother welfare, premarital sex, etc. that undermine marital stability. As a result of the ascendancy of the secular left and their Sexual Revolution (not pushed by Christians!), we have a 40% out-of-wedlock birth rate, and much higher in minority communities. And now we see that same-sex marriage, which is endorsed by the secular left, undermines traditional marriage norms even more, exposing children to even more harm.
No-fault divorce was the first redefinition of marriage. The secular left advocated for it, whether they actually did it themselves or not. It definitely harmed children. Sometimes, a person can do harm by advocating for views that cause harm, even if they don’t directly do the harm themselves. In that case, pointing to their own moral goodness does not take away the fact that they are pushing a moral order that is opposed to God’s intended moral design for us.