Thursday, August 07, 2003

Rights and Reason: The future of gay marriage

Consider this gem from conservative writer Maggie Gallagher:

America is disfigured by high rates of sexual disorders, including unnecessary divorce, unmarried childbearing, sexually transmitted diseases, a pornographic culture, and the progressive normalization of alternative sexual lifestyles, along with the sudden real threat that courts will impose gay marriage. A Vatican statement simply repeating a 2,000-year-old ethical tradition about marriage and sex has prompted a flurry of threats, overt and implicit, around what we used to call the Free World.
Impose gay marriage? I just love how conservatives think that by recognizing gay relationships before the law the whole world will come to an end. Gallagher calls gay marrage a threat, but just who does it threaten? It would seem to me the only people gay marriage is a problem for are those who detest that our sexual capacity can be used for our own gratification. And that, of course would be Maggie Gallagher.

The present may look bleak, but the future belongs to those people and cultures that deeply commit to ideas grounded in human nature: Men and women are not interchangeable units, sex has a meaning beyond immediate pleasure, society needs babies, children need mothers and fathers, marriage is a word for the way we join men and women to make the future happen.
Yet the desire for the recognition of gay marriage speaks to long term—the long term relationship and happiness of consenting adults. So much for individual rights—as long as gays don’t procreate, in Gallagher’s eyes, they are less that full humans. I wonder how Gallagher feels about those who can’t have children, or chose not to get married. Hell, I wonder how she feels about priests and nuns, who renounce their sexual capacity outright.

Human beings are free to adopt self-destructive ideas, but we are not free to make them work. Ideas based on a faulty view of human nature can grip the imagination of the powerful for decades, wreak havoc and suffering on untold millions, but they cannot triumph in the end. What is contrary to nature, including human nature, cannot ultimately survive.
I agree. It's too bad Gallagher doesn’t see that it's her own views that are destructive and don’t work.

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