In a further effort to increase my leisure time (by reducing my chance of employment), presented here for your edification an argument against same-sex “marriage” in the form of an open letter to a young true believer.
Dear Young Person,
Same-sex “marriage” is winning the day, more so with the young who see it as a case of civil rights. It is about rights. Among these are the right to be left alone, the right to keep government from intruding into areas which it does not belong, the freedom to let people and not bureaucracy decide the form of society. The right to hold to tradition. The right to practice religion freely. And the fundamental God-given right to observe, celebrate, and hold the family-making bond between a man and a woman sacred.
I’m betting you haven’t considered your belief seriously. You might cherish it, are passionate about it, but it’s unlikely you have considered the idea philosophically, that instead you have absorbed your belief passively from the culture. To prove this, I’ll ask a series of questions which will help you see that your opponents have a point.
Ground rules first. In order to prove me wrong, you need to rebut each of the arguments which follow. Ignore just one and victory is mine. Crying “Homophobe!” or use a ruse like dismissing a point because I am a conservative or religious are both fallacies, the use of which concedes victory to me. Any use of a counter-argument which includes as a premise that which we seek to prove—such as saying “Same-sex ‘marriage’ is the law”, or “Marriage is a right”—is a fallacy which, etc. See also the warning on comments below.
Why did you think it was government that got to define marriage? You might answer: in your experience, government gets to define everything. And that’s so, especially over the course of your brief lifetime. But government does so only because we the people have forgotten that it is We the People who are the government. The folks we shoot off to Washington every few years let this slip their minds, too. Our “representatives” no longer see themselves as our servants, but as our masters, so much so that a “Do this!”-”Yes, sir!” relationship is expected. This appears so commonplace to you that you don’t think to question it. It’s worse than that: you are downright suspicious of anybody who does question it. This proves that people are naturally conservative: they like holding on to what is and are, in large part, reluctant to change.
Since you’re a product of public schools, you won’t know that marriage was an institution before the State was, nor will you have been taught that the State itself is a modern creation. Thus it will come as a surprise that rights do not and cannot come from the State, which is a fictional entity; it is a tacit agreement among (some) of the living, more or less constantly renewed. But not always. States dissolve and fresh ones are created. If rights arise from the State, then when the State dissolves its rights expire with it. If the State is the sole source of rights, it may change them capriciously: might makes right (I’ll return to this in another Part). This topic can be expanded indefinitely, but I trust to your good sense to extrapolate from these beginnings the horror life can become if the State is sovereign in all.
In opposition to the State are natural rights, which are self-evident truths. We’re not talking traffic laws, but fundamental rights such as to life, liberty, and the pursuit (but not attainment) of happiness. These rights exist above the State and without the State; the State has no business meddling with these rights, lest it turn tyrannical. Marriage is one of these fundamental, self-evident rights.
There was marriage before the State, before any organized, formalized hierarchy existed; before there were such things as contracts or even paper to write them on. Before State and government there was biology. There was and is nothing more natural than a man and a woman coming together to produce and care for children, theirs or others which some misfortune might send their way. A man and woman came together to produce you. This man-woman pairing is called, in ancient words, dad and mom, husband and wife. Cultures historically created the ceremony of marriage to bless this union. The offspring taken together with the man and woman are called a family. That word is ancient and ubiquitous, too.
This man-woman mating is so natural, so common, and so obvious that only an academic can question it. It is from an academic (or from somebody having prolonged contact with one) where you probably learned to question it. But in questioning it, you acknowledge it. You know the naturalness is true because you are reading these words. I mean, there must be a you there reading, a you produced by a man-woman mating. Yes, there exists technology the good Baron von F. would be proud of which can produce babies in “test tubes,” but this produces few to no children, it is no match for nature, and even with these marvels biological “stuff” from a man and a woman is still required (a physical woman must also carry the baby to term). We call this scientific, biological equation “man plus woman equals childrn” marriage and foundation of a family.
Government takes marriage as a given and then builds rules around it. These rules only pertain to matters which are not marriage. Example: where does the Social Security check go when one of a married couple goes on to his or her reward? Well, to the spouse, says the voluminous paperwork. Yet Social Security, a fine government program (for the sake of argument), is not marriage. It is a way for the government to take money from one group of people and give it to another (keeping a cut for itself). Government decided that a spouse gets the dough, just as it may in the future decide to modify this rule so that somebody else besides a spouse collects, such as a “domestic partner” (you can always tell you’re on shaky philosophical ground when tortuous language like this is employed). But it is not Social Security which defines marriage—marriage was preexistent—it is instead marriage which decides how bureaucracies function. The same is true for any other example.
It is the State which fits itself around marriage, and not marriage which fits itself around the State. We have let government tinker around the edge of marriage, such as allowing it to demand blood tests, or to grant it the power to forbid marriage to anybody under (say) sixteen, or by indulging it in its insane addiction to paperwork. But these rules codified what everybody (or at least an overwhelming majority of adult citizens) already held and acknowledged to be true. You and others are now asking government to encroach further, to stick its nose were it doesn’t belong. You are hoping by its force and might, by fiat, that government will change what marriage means. But government can’t change the state of marriage fundamentally. Nobody can. The best it can do is to use the word incorrectly, and require that others do, too. We’ll see later that this still won’t (and can’t) alter real marriage.
Warning Tolerance is a hallmark of those supporting same-sex marriage. Never will you find proponents employing abuse, vituperation, appeals to emotion, or angry senseless shouting. They do not label their opponents enemies, nor accuse them of being hate-filled. They instead use calm, logical, well-reasoned argument; they understand rational and sincere people may disagree on certain points. I therefore expect supporters of traditional marriage to act similarly. Comments which do not accord with ladylike or gentlemanly behavior will be ruthlessly expurgated.