Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
Some of the arguments in favor of changing the definition of marriage to include partners of the same sex make it sound like the current definition was concocted by the institutions of government and religion to purposely deny a segment of the population the rights and benefits of marriage. We are told that defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman intrudes on same-sex couples' right to happiness and in trudes on their private decision to love whomever they wish.
Governments and organized religion didn't invent marriage, however. All of recorded human history has defined marriage as the union of a man and a woman, a definition which recognizes and affirms the fundamental nature of humanity as male and female. Marriage between a man and a woman has rightly been viewed as the foundation of human society, a necessary and crucial institution for the procreation and nurture of children. The reason the other institutions in society-like government and religion-have historically protected and promoted marriage is that it has always, from the beginning of time, been recognized as the basic building block of every other human institution.
Lost in the emotional arguments about how intolerant and discriminatory it is to "limit" marriage to couples of the opposite sex is the fact that society, in its wisdom, has always placed reasonable limits on marriage. Polygamy is illegal. Siblings cannot marry. You must be 18 to acquire a marriage license. All these limitations are deemed necessary for the good of society and the protection of the basic family unit. If we decide to fundamentally redefine marriage-mostly because it leaves certain people out, and is. therefore, "unfair"-how will we be able to argue against those who wish to marry multiple partners, their brother, or sister, a minor-or perhaps even a beloved pet? Anyone who claims to be unhappy, left out, and discriminated against for any reason has just as strong a case-and the exact same argument-as those who wish to marry a partner of the same sex.
We can't predict all of the future consequences of redefining the institution of marriage. We can be sure, however, that such a radical change in the structure of society will have profound consequences, many of them unforeseen; not all of them beneficial. We should, at the very least, ask ourselves if it is recklessly arrogant to sweep aside the collective wisdom of countless generations because we are somehow more enlightened than all those who have gone before us. An issue of such overarching impact on the very foundation of human society deserves a far deeper, more critical examination than the victim-driven, emotional handwringing which dominates the discussion of who can-and cannot-marry. I believe that anyone willing to do so will conclude that it is difficult to see how society in any way benefits from the confusion and complication that will inevitably result when the covenant of marriage as understood, practiced, honored and protected for thousands of years, is radically redefined.
David S. Milz, Kimball