Friday, August 6, 2010

Proposition 8 -- The end of marriage (in 50 years)

I found an interesting video on Youtube that inspired me to write another post, this time about why gay marriage is ultimately bad for and will harm society by dissolving the institution of marriage. As always, if my readers are too lazy to watch the video, I have summarized the main points below.

To summarize, marriage -- in the opinion of Mr. Keyes (apparently a former opponent of Obama in some past political race) if you take away the idea of centering marriage around procreation, you take away the need for marriage altogether. The conveyance of these ideas by Keyes in the video is a bit strained (largely due to repeated interruptions by the host) but, to summarize, Keyes was restating the observation that the exceptions don't disprove the rule. I agree wholeheartedly. Let me explain.

How does "the exceptions don't disprove the rules" apply to gay marriage?

Let me start my argument by stating two facts that I hold to be "self evident": 1. Marriage exists and has existed in nearly every culture in the history of the world and 2. Marriage is mainly centered around the idea of regulating procreation. The first point is easy to prove, simply because even a small amount of research will verify that practically every culture on earth, even those sometimes considered "primitive" by western standards, has a form of marriage. If you don't believe me, try Googling it. The second point is a bit more difficult to argue but can probably be adequately proved through an observation that the reason why marriage is ubiquitous is because the requirement for procreation is ubiquitous.

Assuming these two propositions, then the establishment of marriage for the purpose of regulating procreation becomes "the rule" and marriages for other reasons -- including couples who are infertile, don't want kids, are too old to have children, are of the same sex, etc. -- become "exceptions". Also, as happens in every other institution in the world, the exceptions cannot disprove the rule. Another example of this is the concept that people shouldn't steal food from grocery stores but a man does steal food in one particular case because his family is starving. In that one case (or other cases like it) the theft was justified; in general, it isn't.

But how will letting gays marry "dissolve" the institution of marriage? Why are the two even related?

Again, to prove this point, I refer back to the arguments made by Keyes in the video. Essentially, what he argued here was that, in principle, any heterosexual couple can conceive a biological child. An infertile or older couple can use fertility treatments or in vitro fertilization and a couple that doesn't want kids can change their mind and decide to have kids. Gay couples, without extensive intervention from science, cannot have kids, not even in principle.

Without getting into the discussion of whether gay couples can adopt kids (they can) or whether they make good parents (some do, some don't probably), let me refer the argument back to the original premise: marriage is about society's ability to regulate procreation. If you allow marriages that are literally impossible for parents to produce natural offspring in, even in principle, you essentially negate the need for marriage at all. Why else would marriage exist if not to facilitate procreation?

That's the entirety of Keyes' argument from the video. For my part, I would like to agree with his viewpoint and expand on this a bit in the next section.

If marriage no longer exists to govern procreation, why have marriage at all?

This is the 800 pound elephant in the room that nobody in the gay rights movement wants to address directly. Ask any gay marriage advocate what the purpose of securing the right of gays to marry is, and they're sure to say something about equal rights. I have yet to meet one who says openly, "We want to do away with the institution of marriage." Yet, if you're going to allow marriages that negate the reason for having marriage in the first place, society will have two logical choices left: a) dissolve the institution of marriage (either gradually or suddenly) or b) change the reason behind having the institution.

From what I've seen from the gay marriage advocacy movement, they've opted (at least publicly) for the latter approach. In place of marriage as a vehicle to regulate procreation, gay marriage advocates have decided to redesign it as a relationship based on "mutual attraction, love and affection". While this sound difficult to refute on the surface (who can argue against love?) it has some interesting outcomes if you take it to the logical conclusions. I think that gay marriage advocates refer to this as the "slippery slope" argument, something that has admittedly been discussed before but I would like to rehash again to make a few points.

The road to polygamy and more:

When marriage eventually becomes (as I believe it will) to be associated with love between people instead of regulating marriage, there is really nothing to stop it from including more than two people in that "love bond". Why not three people? or four? If marriage is really only about love, then why not allow "big love" (pun intended) to replace the smaller love of traditional marriage. For example, say that a woman has a husband and a lesbian lover. With the only requirement for marriage being love, why can't she love, and be married to, both partners simultaneously?

Okay, fine, we'll have polygamy then: so what?

Unfortunately, situations like these can be taken to ridiculous extremes. If three is okay, how about four, five, six? How about a cult leader who wants to marry all 150 of his followers? What about a man who wants to marry a new woman every week without bothering to divorce his current wives? Even though situations like these might elicit scorn from the current gay marriage movement, I would bet good money that the ACLU will be defending cases like these in 20 years.

And the absurdity doesn't need to stop there. For example, what about incestuous relationships? If marriage is only about love, why not let brother and sister or mother and son (or daughter) marry? Why not take it to even a further extreme and allow children to marry? After all, if a 15 year old boy can be tried for murder as an adult, surely he can be allowed to marry as an adult as well.

I could even see the marriages becoming more absurd from there. What about if a man wants to marry his horse, or a woman who is already deceased? What if he wants to marry a futuristic robot or even a ham sandwich?

But, gay marriage is legal in some parts of the world, and this hasn't happened.

Just because something hasn't happened yet doesn't mean that it's not going to happen someday. If you expect to see an institution as embedded as marriage disappear, you have to give it a while to happen.

Even in places like Canada, where gay marriage is legal, my guess would be that, if I were to poll 100 people on the street, the majority of them would have some notion that a "traditional marriage" is the model that most people in society either follow or strive to emulate. However, I really don't see, in an environment of "anything goes" with respect to marriage, I just don't see how that common perception of traditional marriage as being the standard can last. At most, I'd give it 50 years -- after gay marriage, polygamy, etc. have been legalized and embraced by society -- that the majority of the people on the street would not say that traditional marriage is the norm. And, when that happens, society is going to change dramatically.

And that will lead to the end of marriage, at least in the form in which society presently knows it. But, the implications of that are best left for another post.

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  1. It's appropriate the word "Twit" appears in your blog title.

  2. I still find this completely incredible. Two gay marriage activists, two instances of name calling, zero logical arguments addressing or refuting what I have to say.

    Is that what gay marriage advocates do if the find an argument that opposes them: start calling names?

    I thought people generally got over than in the third grade.

  3. If you asked any two people, "Why do you want to get married?" I think the answer would be, "Because we are in love." Marriage has to do with building a life together. Any two people can do this. When you build a life as closely as two people in marriage, you develop certain rights and responsibilities with respect to that other person and society. If anything, "gay" marriage will strengthen the institution of marriage.

    You are a twit.

  4. Dude, you need to read the decision as all your points were addressed in it.

  5. @Anonymous So, you agree with me that marriage is going to be redefined as about love and not regulating procreation then? Well, great! If marriage is only about "love", then most of the outlandish scenarios that I talked about in my post are a couple of court battles away.

    I know someone that has decided that they love two women, and they would like to marry them both. Who are you, or anyone else, to limit that kind of love? How about three, or four women, or two men, or etc.?

    Basically, you've done nothing to disprove my argument there, and you've also agreed with my proposition that marriage is being redefined to be about "love". So, do I mark down two points for myself, or how does this fight proceed from here?

    Also, if I'm a twit, I guess you're a poopy head. Isn't that how these name calling games from elementary school proceed?

  6. Margaret Romao Toigo: Without going into a complete legal analysis of the Walker's decision (which I have read, btw), let me just say that every argument I read in there that is not specific to gays and lesbians could be (IMHO) easily applied to polygamous marriages or any of the other unions I've described in the text. For example, is bestiality something one is "born with"? If so, why can't a man be allowed to marry a consenting monkey? Why can't brother and sister be allowed to marry?

  7. Furthermore, no less than the Huffington Post has now argued that society should "get rid of" traditional marriage.

    How does anything in this ruling, or in what you've said, contradict my argument that traditional marriage will be gone in 50 years?

  8. If you asked any two people, "Why do you want to get married?" I think the answer would be, "Because we are in love." Marriage has to do with building a life together. Any two people can do this. When you build a life as closely as two people in marriage, you develop certain rights and responsibilities with respect to that other person and society. If anything, "gay" marriage will strengthen the institution of marriage.

  9. First off thanks for your support with blogging its great networking with you. Second I love this post I just wrote an article on the same topic. Have a voting pole and most people say that day marriage should be legal. Stop by my place when you get a chance, and vote on your feelings. Leave your opinion as well.

  10. @Nursing Board Exam Results, Ms Kay: Thanks for your civil comments on this story. I know that topics like gay marriage can often elicit emotional responses from people, as evidenced by some of the earlier commenters.

    I would say in response, in brief, that Nursing is still working from a world view where traditional marriage is the norm for society and gay marriage is a notable exception. I was writing my article by trying to look at things from a future where traditional marriages are scarce, frowned upon, and disappearing in society. I hope that the latter doesn't happen.

  11. The whole argument is based on this assumption: "If you allow marriages that are literally impossible for parents to produce natural offspring in, even in principle, you essentially negate the need for marriage at all. Why else would marriage exist if not to facilitate procreation?"

    Though in some cultures that is indeed the origin of marriage, you should ask whether in these times you still want to hold on to ancient rules and values. But whatever happens, I wouldn't fear for the end of marriage since it's also a commitment between two persons promising each other to spend their live together. That concept will never get old because it's basically about mutual security. Seems that your main argument is based on fear which i always a pretty bad advisor.

    But, just want to say that I like the fact that you have write about such a sensitive topic and clearly give your opinion. Too many people tend to walk away from difficult topics in fear of what others might think. So keep on writing this stuff and accept some people will frown upon it.

  12. Man, I liked your blog until I read all this nonsense. Gay marriage doesn't encourage polygamy. I haven't misunderstood you, that it will serve as a step on the way to polygamy, but it is nonsense...

  13. It isn't nonsense and it will lead to polygamy, for the reasons I have outlined in my post.

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