Friday, March 06, 2009


The March 1 Perspective pages of the North County Times contained a spirited two-on-two reprise of arguments for and against Proposition 8.

I say “two-on-two,” but supporters of the November measure doubtless noted that one of the arguments against overturning Prop. 8 was authored by an editorialist who opposed the law but hopes to preserve the integrity of the amendment process. Thus, only one of the four pieces agreed with Proposition 8 on the merits—a law approved by about 60% of North County voters.

On the positive side, at least there were two substantive reasons given for upholding the will of the people when it comes to maintaining as normative the male-female definition of an institution as it exists in all but a handful of “progressive” bastions in the United States, Canada, and Western Europe.

Still, little was said that countered the hyperbolic rhetoric in the anti-8 piece that claimed citizens throughout California were in grave danger of losing their rights unless an institution that’s existed for millennia is redefined to post-modern specifications. Ignored in this argument were the two central questions at issue: Are there persuasive reasons for defining marriage as male-female? Are there persuasive reasons for defining homosexuality in the same class as race?

The answer to the first question is clear. The reason marriage is male-female is because only male-female unions produce children, and without children a compelling rationale for marriage as a state-sanctioned institution disappears.

The fact that some men and women get married and don’t have children doesn’t alter the basic link between marriage and raising children. Laws are general, and the essential component of reproduction is male plus female.

On the other hand, changing the definition of marriage to include unions that by their nature exclude procreation sends a quite different message—that marriage is not about children but rather about “feelings of affection.”

Beyond the biological facts of life, sociological evidence demonstrates that children are best raised in families with a mother and a father. Thus, laws promoting this ideal are warranted and can’t be logically equated with segregation codes rooted in notions of racial superiority.

One race isn’t superior to another, but male-female households are better (in general, and thus in law) than households where one sex does all the child-raising or (presumptively) where only one sex is represented in the parental mix. Similarly, Western societies have long presumed the superiority of monogamous over polygamous households.

Concerning parallels drawn between homosexuality and race, there is no compelling evidence, after decades of partisan research, that sexual inclinations are in the same genetic class as skin color. What’s obvious, however (from Greek antiquity to the present) is that social mores greatly impact sexual behavior, whatever the hormonal or genetic givens.

Unfortunately, I suspect that four of California’s Supreme Court jurists have already made up their minds and that same-sex marriage will soon become a “right” like abortion—conjured out of emanations from “progressive” penumbra. Judges rule—history, nature, and democracy be damned.

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