I am actually pro Gay Marriage. I am all for more commitment vs less. More steady relationships vs fewer. I am for easier rules for businesses to live with….(how come that same sex couple get to have health insurance, by my long term live in boyfriend/girlfriend does not?), etc, etc.
But it keeps coming back to the issue of redefining what marriage is. I’ve always thought it was a commitment between 2 people backed up by the government for the purposes of keeping it together and splitting it fairly if need be. All for the sake of the children.
So, once again, since old people can marry and gay people can have children, why structure it to a man and a woman?
CC Pecknold of the National Review argues against this redefinition and convinces me further that I’m right.
One crucial argument, however, has been curiously absent. It takes a step back from the question of sexuality and the right to certain benefits under law. One reason why marriage is not mentioned in the Constitution is that the Founders recognized that the institution of marriage was a common good of the society and prior to politics. Put differently: Constitutional silence on marriage indicates a commitment to limited government that has so far eluded our debates about marriage in this country.
Augustine was probably the first great theorist of “society” as something that is “pre-political” and that finds its most basic unit in the family. But as Thomas Aquinas notes, Aristotle also recognized this. The Philosopher says in the Nichomachean Ethics that man is more inclined to conjugal union than political union. Human beings are “social animals” before they are “political animals.” This provides the West with an anthropology for understanding that future citizens come into the world through the union of a man and a woman and that therefore the state has a stake in recognizing and protecting the institution of marriage. The family belongs to our social nature, and it is how a civil society continues to flourish and self-govern. The political union is subsequent to this prior reality. A properly ordered state will recognize and protect conjugal marriage precisely to the extent that it believes in pre-political limits to the exercise of its power.
Assuming all is true, then it’s also true for same sex couples. They too are before politics. They too are creating a family. They too have a stake in their family. They too are social animals. Sure people come into the world with sperm/egg but adoption is common as is surrogacy. The family is powerful and it deserves the protection of govt.