Is it merely a change in linguistics or is it the sabotage of society? Words change meaning over the course of time and typically this is not a great dilemma. Today’s generation may speak of something being “bad” and it carries a completely different connotation than it did a century ago! It appears the wind of linguistic change may being blowing again around the meaning of the word marriage. In 1828, Noah Webster defined marriage as, “the act of uniting a man and woman for life…the legal union of a man and woman…marriage is a contract both civil and religious” (Webster). In today’s society, it only takes a quick search on the internet to see there are two opposing definitions of the word marriage. Now the word marriage is prefaced with the words “traditional” or “same-sex”. This begs the question of which model of marriage is correct?
On September 21, 1996, the matter reached the pinnacle of debate when President Bill Clinton signed into law H.R. 3396 or the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).The purpose of this law was to allow states to protect the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman; thus, protecting the basic unit of our society the family. It is no secret that the Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender (LGBT) groups want to gain the privilege to have full marital status. The LGBT groups have filed complaints and have fought vigorously to have marriage redefined. Have you ever wondered why shouldn’t homosexual couples be allowed to legally marry? How would this affect society? Society, as we know it, hinges upon how we answer these difficult questions concerning the definition of this sacred union. The bond of marriage is for the betterment of society through the act of procreation, through providing of a nurturing environment for the offspring, and through creating a morally stable citizenry, proving that traditional marriage is the correct model for a prosperous society.
First, one must look at the sexual act and its role in each form of marriage to see how it contributes to the enhancement of human race. In his essay concerning the debatable topic of marriage Patrick Lee writes, “Marriage is that type of community in which the personal community, and the bodily,sexual relationship, are intrinsically oriented to the twofold good of personal communion between the spouses, and bearing and raising of children” (Lee, 423). Although, both traditional and same-sex marriages can share in the intimate relationship of human sexuality, only the traditional model of marriage can benefit the species by procreation. Traditional marriage has been the historical model and it fulfills the twofold purpose of the sacred union of marriage. It is nature’s law that dictates the need for a male and female partner for reproduction. In reproduction, two individuals DNA become one being. Lee goes on to explain, “In genuine marriage sexual intercourse is not merely an extrinsic symbol…between a man and a woman [yet] a real bodily union is established” (Lee). Therefore, biologically speaking, it is impossible for same-sex couples to achieve this state of unity in marriage, because these couples cannot reproduce and continue the chain of human existence. It is obviously clear that traditional marriage is more of a benefit to society, for it produces the next generation.
Secondly, the purpose of marriage is to create a stable and nurturing environment for the development of children to extend the next generation. There are distinct physiological differences between male and female human beings. Each sex has its on needs and roles in the grand scheme of the human experience. In a study of 126 couples (44 Lesbian couples, 34 gay male couples, and 48 heterosexual couples) with adopted children the importance of gender roles can be witnessed. The author writes,
Findings revealed that the perceived play behaviors of boys and girls in same-gender parent families were more similar (i.e., less gender-stereotyped) than the perceived play behavior of boys and girls in heterosexual-parent families (which were more divergent; that is, gender-stereotyped). Sons of lesbian mothers were less masculine in their play behavior than sons of gay fathers and sons of heterosexual parents (Goldberg, Kashy, and Smith).
It is the role of the parent in a marriage to instill the gender role values to their children. It takes a father figure to show a boy how to become a productive male in society. On the other hand, it takes a mother figure to teach a girl how to become a fruitful woman in society. Also, the impact of the opposite gender parent is paramount to the psychological development of a child. It is easy to see the disadvantage the children of same-sex marriages have in their developmental process. Traditional marriage is the only paradigm that offers the gender roles needed for a nurturing environment for its offspring, thus indicating it is the correct definition of marriage.
Furthermore, the family, thus society, has been historically governed by the institution of traditional marriage. All three of the world’s major religions (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam) and many more consider the practice of the homosexual lifestyle as immoral. We do not know the moral and legal ramifications for allowing same-sex marriage. The effects of this practice may not be seen for generations to come. In his article concerning the future impact of same-gender unions Nan Hunter writes, “the social history of the last 100 years should make us cautious in predicting how the shifts that are afoot now will end up affecting structures of legal authority” (Hunter). How will this redefinition of marriage effect society? No one really knows. It is possible it could be a type of “Pandora’s Box” that opens the door for other interpretations of the definition of marriage. The redefining of marriage is a very slippery slope and we are teetering dangerously at the edge. If same-gender marriages were allowed, what would prevent a person from marrying an animal in the future? Or an adult marrying a child? Or multiple people marrying one another? This may seem absurd that something so immoral could happen, but a century ago same-gender marriages was considered immoral and absurd. As man-kind spirals downward into their on depravity, it appears that traditional marriage is the backbone for a morally stable citizenry.
On the other hand, there are those that advocate for gay marriage. Marriage is viewed as a civil right that has been withheld from a minority, by the prevailing majority. The people which hold this position often compared their situation with that of Crowe Laws and treatment of African-Americans prior to 1960. This could not be further from the truth! In fact, if same-sex marriage is legalized, it would jeopardize others constitutional right. Previously, it has been established that marriage is for mutual pleasure among spouses and for child rearing. If legalized, same-sex marriages are automatically given the right to found a family. What about the children’s right? This is exactly what M. Somerville discusses in her article on the subject. She writes,
Two unprecedented developments – that of new reproductive technologies and the legalization of same-sex marriage in some jurisdictions – especially in combination, pose unprecedented challenges to children’s fundamental human rights with respect to their biological origins (their very coming into being); their rights to knowledge of these origins; their rights to be reared within their immediate and wider biological families; and their rights to a parent of each sex (Somerville).
Under the Constitution of the United States, one has the right to pursue happiness, only if those pursuits do not infringe on the rights of others. Homosexual marriage should not be allowed because of the infringement of the human rights of the children. It would rob the children of the ability of having a normal childhood with two parents of the opposite sex. This is the natural order. Homosexuals cannot simply “join” heterosexuals in their right to marriage, because their joining would redefine the marriage and infringe on the rights of others.
In conclusion, it is not merely a linguistic change, but the sabotage of the sacred bond of marriage. The acceptance of homosexual marriage in the definition of holy matrimony will negatively impact our society as a whole and must not be allowed. It negatively impacts the birthrate within the bonds of marriage, thus naturally hindering the survival of the human species on planet earth. It is a biological fact that it takes a male and a female for reproduction. Also, it negatively impacts the developmental environment of a child. This impedes the child, either male or female, from becoming what nature has intended them to be and accomplish. Same-sex marriage opens the door for plethora of moral and ethical questions and should not be recognized as marriage. The only model of marriage that provides all the things necessary to a prosperous human experience is traditional marriage. With this in mind, let us legislate thoughtfully, ethically, and morally for this is where this debate will be won or lost. We must seek to elect officials that will not cave to the pressure of political correctness and hold firm in the face of adversity. We can save the definition of marriage if we do not bury our heads in the sand!
“marriage.” 1828.mshaffer.com. Noah Webster, 1828.Web. 28 Apr. 2013
Goldberg, Abbie E., Deborah A. Kashy, and JuliAnna Z. Smith. “Gender-Typed Play Behavior In Early Childhood: Adopted Children With Lesbian, Gay, And Heterosexual Parents.” Sex Roles 67.9-10 (2012): 503-515. PsycINFO. Web. 27 Apr. 2013.
Hunter, Nan D. “The Future Impact Of Same-Sex Marriage: More Questions Than Answers.” Georgetown Law Journal 100.(2012): 1855. LexisNexis Academic: Law Reviews. Web. 27 Apr. 2013.
Lee, Patrick. “Marriage, Procreation, And Same-Sex Unions.” Monist 91.3/4 (2008): 422-438. Academic Search Complete. Web. 24 Apr. 2013.
Somerville, M. “Children’s Human Rights And Unlinking Child-Parent Biological Bonds With Adoption, Same-Sex Marriage And New Reproductive Technologies.” Journal Of Family Studies 13.2 (2007): 179. Informit Humanities & Social Sciences Collection. Web. 27 Apr. 2013.