Is marriage equality quality for all?

  • Thursday, July 11, 2013

People around here are still discussing one issue that will be one of the defining ones of our era: same-sex marriage. One of the funniest sights in this entire cultural debate was the young guy holding up a sign that read, “Why can't we be miserable too?” But here's an interesting and more substantive quote from the authors of a recently published book on the subject of traditional marriage versus the “revisionist view” of marriage: “Children deserve the best shot at knowing the man and woman whose love gave them life, and fare best when they do.”

At first glance, most people would think those authors hailed from some conservative, evangelical college.

Not so. The authors of “What is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense,” are Sherif Grigis, a Rhodes Scholar who is studying law at Yale and getting his PhD from Princeton, Robert George, who is a visiting professor at Harvard Law School and a Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton, and Ryan T. Anderson, who is fellow at the Heritage Foundation and a PhD candidate at Notre Dame.

While these three make sound legal and sociological points in their book, this quote of theirs in an interview in National Review Online addresses something most of us grew up knowing: that marriage is, at the basic level, not just about physical attraction or sexual compatibility, but about the security and stability of the family unit.

Traditional marriage upholds the uniqueness and instinctive desire of the vast majority of the world's population to have a safe, committed relationship with the other half of the human equation – the half whose brain is designed differently, whose body functions differently, whose emotions and needs are different yet complimentary to our own.

Accounts recently showed that in South Carolina, there are four same-sex union households for every 1,000 households in the state.

Do the math and you'll see that the purported statistic that 10 percent of the population is gay appears to be way off.

I had a very respectful and insightful discussion/debate about this issue with a fellow Citadel graduate who is openly gay and has been in a committed relationship for well over a decade. He took the stance that this was about “marriage equality.” I asked him what that meant – marriage equality for those who believe in polygamy and bigamy? What about the right to marry a family member? His reply was that he meant equality for two, and only two, consenting adults regardless of gender. To his credit, he acknowledged that the “marriage equality” term he used didn't mean equality for all, just those who held the same views of marriage that he does. There are people in jail right now because their view of marriage doesn't conform with the majority's or the law's.

I ask this question: If our country can redefine marriage, when do we let those people out of jail?

If the United States is going to redefine marriage, is it going to be redefined so that those seeking to immigrate here can do so with their plural marriages intact? How about for those whose spouse is age 13? Do they get marriage equality?

When I was doing research for my book, “When My Cell Phone Blinks 'ROAM,' Do I Have a Call from Italy?” (Alexander Books, 2001) I did a lot of research on the differences between males and females. The amount of published research on this issue is astounding. It furthered my conviction that marriage is the melding of the conquering, driven, and protective instincts of males with the brilliant, intuitive, nurturing and caring qualities of females. These are not stereotypes – these are basic, documented characteristics. Marriage involves the attraction and mystery of another person built bewilderingly different from ourselves.

Things can look similar, but that does not mean they are the same. Same-sex relationships and heterosexual marriage may appear similar on the surface, but in reality are completely different. To be in an intimate relationship with someone whose brain, emotions, body parts and thought processes mirror your own - to equate that with the dance of nature between women and men that sustains the birth, nurturing, protection, and emotional balance not only of offspring but of the couples themselves, is like looking at the ocean from one of our local beaches when it doesn't reflect the infinite beauty of the blue sky.

Sure, there's something there, but it doesn't encompass the incomparable mystery, glory and wonder of the sustaining balance of all creation. So let there be civil unions and legal contracts to protect assets and health care decisions and the like, but traditional marriage is what it is. In fact, it is so hard to define, how in the world could anybody redefine it?

Will Haynie has published more than 400 oped columns as a feature columnist for the Asheville Citizen-Times and the Hendersonville (N.C.) Times-News when it was owned by the New York Times. His niche is as a humorous conservative. Find him on Twitter at @willhaynie or email him at Haynie.will@gmail.com.

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