Marriage: Not So Gay.

The California Supreme Court in agony over Prop 8.

Oh the poor tortured California Supreme Court is suffering again.  They have to decide between The Constitution and Law on one hand, or The World As They Dream It on the other hand.

The poor things.  These Solomonic decisions are so blasted difficult.

As I understand it, the advocates of “same-sex marriage” pretty much seem to center their argument around a concept of “equality of recognition”.

But I’m stumped. I really don’t get that.

What do they think Marriage is, a sex license? A chance to have a rollicking party to make the special couple feel good about themselves?  An official government-sanctioned valentine?   Where have these guys spent the last 40 centuries?  At Gay Day in Disneyland?

Let’s step back.  What the heck is marriage, and why do we have it?  What is the historical meaning of the term?   Over time and in every civilization “Marriage” has been consistently defined as a special legal contract between a man and a woman.  But why?  Why do we have such a concept?  What is the ordinary and common understanding upon which “Marriage” has been constructed?

I can’t think of anything more ordinary and common than the 1976 edition of The World Book Encyclopedia which sits a-mouldering on a sagging shelf in my basement.  Smack in the middle lies the thickest volume, heavy with knowledge and wisdom, and simply entitled “M.”  It plainly reads:

“People everywhere feel that the regulations of marriage  are necessary to protect women and children and maintain the stability of the community.”

So there you have it.  The  purposes of marriage are:

— The protection of women,

–Which fosters the protection of children,

–Which, in turn,  fosters the stability of civilization.

Such protection is necessary because in the raw, natural, biological reality, men can, frankly, beat the crap out of women.  We’re bigger, stronger, and unfortunately, fond of getting our way.   And that cries out for some kind of corrective.  Study after study has shown that women living unmarried with male partners are more than twice as likely to be physically abused as women who are married.   To say nothing of psychological abuse backed by threat of violence, the tendency toward intimidation, or the cascading damage to children that flows from this biological inequality.

Thus we have the imperfect but nonetheless significant remedy called “Marriage”, in which the male of the species gets his selfish flamboyance snipped and undertakes certain legal obligations thereby imbibing the gentler ways of  civilization, though not usually to the extent of  learning proper tea party etiquette.

So how do Bob and Harry, standing bereft at the door of the church or city hall, pining for “their love to be recognized,” fit into all this?

The answer is, they don’t.  Marriage is only tangentially about a particular couple. It certainly isn’t about “being recognized.”  It’s about bigger things than me or you or him or her.    It’s about the way men and women relate to each other in a society that deserves the title “civilization.”  And for it to be about how men and women relate, there have to be men and women, or, to be perfectly direct, a man and a woman.

Then again….

Given the human male’s predilection for boorish and aggressive behavior, perhaps there is a need for some sort of institution to shape how men relate to one another.

But I don’t believe that institution should be called “Marriage.”

It would be better to call it what it is……. “Football.”


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