BRENDAN MALONE – LifeNet.co.nz
There is a huge flaw in the way that some are using the word ‘right’ in this debate.
What I mean by this is that I have heard a lot of people talking about marriage in a sense which implies that it is an absolute right for heterosexuals, and that it is only homosexuals whom marriage is denied to.
However this understanding is definitely not correct.
You see marriage is not afforded to heterosexuals as an absolute right at all.
A child cannot marry.
A brother and sister cannot marry.
Someone who is already married cannot marry.
More than one man and one woman cannot marry.
A father cannot marry his daughter.
A couple cannot marry without the required documentation.
A couple cannot marry without a celebrant and witnesses.
So, without even exploring the issue of gay ‘marriage’, we can already see that marriage has strict boundaries which cannot be violated if the two persons who want to be married wish to actually enter into a valid marriage – thus meaning that marriage is not actually something that is afforded to heterosexuals by right, instead it is something that is afforded to them on condition of them being able to meet the requirements necessary for a marriage to be brought into existence.
Two important things you will see from the limitations listed above:
a) The presence of a romantic bond between the parties wishing to enter into a marriage does not override, or make null and void any of these conditions – the reason I point this fact out is because many gay marriage supporters are suggesting that a romantic bond between two people of the same gender should be all that is required for a marriage to be brought into existence. If we actually embraced this reasoning then none of the limitations listed above could be legitimately placed upon a marriage either.
b) They create a framework which legitimately discriminates against certain people and situations when it comes to marriage, thus making a complete mockery of the argument that it is only two people of the same gender who wish to marry who are discriminated against by current marriage laws.
The other important point to note is that the current law does not actually prevent homosexual persons from marrying, instead it prevents ANY two people of the same gender from marrying, regardless of their sexuality – this is because two people of the same gender, regardless of their sexuality, cannot satisfy the fundamental requirement necessary for a pairing of two people to actually be a marriage.
That fundamental requirement is the potential for procreation in the pairing of the two persons.
Now before you start raising objections about infertile heterosexual couples, please note that I refer to the ‘potential for procreation’, rather than the ‘ability to procreate’. This distinction is vitally important, and it is the pivotal distinction between a same sex couple and a male/female couple.
An infertile male/female couple is still a pairing with the potential for procreation, it is simply that this potential is rendered unavailable to them by an impairment of the nature of their union, however a same sex couple do not posses this potential at all because they lack the obvious complementarity that is required for a couple to posses the potency for procreation within the nature of their pairing.
At this juncture some might be asking ‘but so what, why is procreation such a big deal?’
Precisely because marriage laws are simply a legal recognition of the fact that marriage is an institution that can, and does, result in the good of children because of the potential for procreation that exists between one man and one woman. The very reason we have marriage laws in the first place is not because the state invented marriage, but because the state recognises marriage – and for the state to recognise something, that thing has to exist PRIOR to the state and have its own clearly recognized form already in place (i.e. the form of marriage is not given to marriage by the state, but rather by the potency that exists in the sexual union of a man and woman, and by implementing marriage laws the state is simply recognising that form and upholding its vital importance as a public good).
Secondly, in regard to the current popular trend of using the word ‘right’ when talking about gay marriage I would humbly suggest that if you want to try and claim something as a human right, that thing actually has to first exist in reality.
Marriage definitely exists, but gay marriage does not, so in order to create gay ‘marriage’, you would first need to completely abolish marriage in order to create a new form that you also call ‘marriage’, but which is actually completely different to authentic marriage in its form – the obvious problem with doing this is you’ve actually abolished marriage in the process, meaning that gay ‘marriage’ is not actually marriage in anything other than name only (because the form of marriage had to be destroyed in order to create gay ‘marriage’).
The difference between marriage and gay ‘marriage’ is that marriage is RECOGNISED by law, whereas gay ‘marriage’ is INVENTED by law – this is a vitally important distinction, as the state has no legitimate authority to impose itself in this way upon something which exists prior to, and which does not flow from the state.
Let me give you another example – your right to life does not come from the state, it is not granted to you by them, instead it is yours by virtue of your nature – that is, you are a human being. Your right to life was not invented by the state, but is definitely recognized by them and enshrined in law because the state has a duty to uphold the common good in order to provide the necessary just order that enables human beings to flourish.
So if the state was to suddenly start enacting laws which denied you, an innocent human being, your right to life, then the state would be imposing itself upon something that it has no legitimate right to impose itself upon, and thus it would now be working against the common good and acting in an illegitimate fashion.
This matter of state recognition versus state invention when it comes to marriage is precisely why the issue of polygamy can be validly raised in a debate about gay marriage.
Because if the state now believes that, based on nothing more than a popular whim, it has the power to completely abolish and redefine institutions that exist prior to, and independently of the state – those which are recognised, rather than invented by the state – then how can the state exclude ANY new form of those institutions without actually engaging in an act of unreasoned and totally arbitrary prejudice?
You see, when it comes to marriage, if the state is now going to try and claim that the primary thing that makes a marriage a marriage is a romantic bond and a freewill desire from the parties entering into a marriage, then how can ANY of the following be excluded from access to marriage by anything other than a totally unfounded prejudice on the part of the state:
-Polygamous relationships where a romantic bond and a freewill desire to marry on the part of all parties is present
-Relationships between two siblings where a romantic bond and a freewill desire to marry on the part of both siblings is present
-Relationships between a parent and their child where a romantic bond and a freewill desire to marry on the part of all parties is present
-Relationships between two people who are already married to other people, but who wish to marry a second person in a different marriage, where a romantic bond and a freewill desire to marry on the part of all parties is present
-Child marriage where a romantic bond and a freewill desire to marry on the part of all parties is present
I am yet to hear a coherent, or even close to convincing argument from those who want to abolish marriage and remake it in their own image.
Using newspeak such as ‘marriage equality’, or simply parroting slogans like: ‘marriage is a human right for everybody’, or: ‘not letting two people of the same gender marry is like when they used to ban interracial couples from marrying’ is not actually the same thing as presenting a reasoned argument in support of your views on this issue.
The reason I am pro-marriage, and therefore opposed to any state imposition and redefinition of marriage to include pairings that can’t actually legitimately be marriages, is not because I am anti-gay, it is because I have weighed the evidence and I can clearly see a logically coherent reasoning as to why the state has no legitimate right to abolish marriage and invent something new that will also include a thing, that only exists in legal definition, called ‘gay marriage’.