Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Well, from the point of view of Orthodox Judaism, there is plenty wrong with sodomy, as I have already written at length.
But, from a secular point of view, is the fact that the government does not recognize same sex marriage a problem? Is it a civil rights issue, comparable to interracial marriage, which was illegal in most of the United States in the first half of the 20th century?
In my humble opinion, even a total secularist should not support gay marriage.
A heterosexual, monogamous, committed relationship is a lifestyle which society should clearly encourage. Children raised in intact families generally are far more successful in life than children who have been raised in single parent homes. If we could wave a magic wand and somehow eliminate sex outside traditional marriage, we would probably in one stroke eliminate most crime, poverty, substance abuse, sexually transmitted diseases and abortions in the United States. Therefore it is in society’s interest to encourage traditional marriage by giving married couples special privileges and to make it difficult for them to separate. Traditional marriage could make the difference, in the long run, between the survival and extinction of American society. There may be no other single more vital priority.
By contrast, what benefit does society have from gay marriages? Of course, it could be argued, that from a secular point of view whatever people do in privacy is their own business and should not be disrupted so long as no innocent person is harmed. However why should society encourage it? Should we encourage sex with animals, polygamy, child marriage and incest? Can I marry my cat and then have to go to court when I want to “divorce” her? There is no Constitutional “freedom of sex” or “freedom of marriage”. Witness the laws against prostitution and statutory rape.
This is even more odd when one considers that heterosexual marriage is almost dead outside of conservative religious circles. For most Americans, “marriage” just means a nice party. People divorce almost casually. First marriages routinely end within the first decade. Half of American adults are single. Forty percent of American babies are born to single women. Sex is not much more serious than a handshake. This makes the gay rush to the altar seem even more bizarre. Marriage is legally convenient in some ways, however it makes breaking up much more complicated. Religious people consider the sanctity of marriage to be a priority, however why do homosexuals want it or need it? Is it merely a desperate effort to prove their equality to heterosexuals? If they feel so inferior, then perhaps that’s a sign that something is wrong with their lifestyle.
Historically, homosexuality has apparently had a status similar to prostitution. It was always practiced everywhere to some greater or lesser extent, however it was never celebrated as a positive thing comparable to marriage. A Roman or Chinese emperor may have had a homosexual boy lover, just as he may have employed prostitutes, however neither the boy nor the prostitute were proudly displayed on official occasions. Today apparently homosexuals are seeking exactly that, a government certification that what they are doing is just as respectable as what everyone else is doing. I think few societies will agree.
Posted by jewish philosopher at 3:02 PM