Thursday, March 25, 2004

Chicken little was right

Martin (whose URL doesn't seem to be working at the moment) pointed me to this editorial by Donald Sensing in the Wall Street Journal. Sensing concludes:

Sex, childbearing and marriage now have no necessary connection to one another, because the biological connection between sex and childbearing is controllable. The fundamental basis for marriage has thus been technologically obviated. Pair that development with rampant, easy divorce without social stigma, and talk in 2004 of "saving marriage" is pretty specious. There's little there left to save. Men and women today who have successful, enduring marriages till death do them part do so in spite of society, not because of it.

If society has abandoned regulating heterosexual conduct of men and women, what right does it have to regulate homosexual conduct, including the regulation of their legal and property relationship with one another to mirror exactly that of hetero, married couples?

I believe that this state of affairs is contrary to the will of God. But traditionalists, especially Christian traditionalists (in whose ranks I include myself) need to get a clue about what has really been going on and face the fact that same-sex marriage, if it comes about, will not cause the degeneration of the institution of marriage; it is the result of it.

I completely agree (except, of course, for the part about all this being contrary to the will of God). Christian conservatives have been asleep at the switch for a long time, and not just about gay marriage. They're getting outraged about Janet Jackson's tit, when what they should be getting outraged about is "Frasier" (one my my wife's and my favorite shows) and "How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days", both of which portray pre-marital sex as the norm even among the fuddiest of duddies. And this isn't HBO, this is prime-time network TV and a PG-13 romantic comedy, and they are hardly the eception. I can't remember the last time I saw premarital sex portrayed in popular visual media as anything other than a societal norm. But the religious right seems too busy getting passionate about The Passion to notice.

I am not axiomatically pro-gay-marriage. What I am axiomatically for is consistency and effectiveness. Either we're going to defend marriage as an institution designed to foster procreation or we're not. If we're going to defend marriage on those grounds that means making illegal (or at least taking strong stands against) pre-marital sex, birth control, and divorce (at least for couples with children), taking away tax breaks for infertile couples (and even fertile couples who for whatever reason don't have children within a certain time period), and then wrestling with the very sticky issue of artificial insemination and in-vitro fertilization. Most people now laugh at the chicken-littles who warned that the sky would fall as a result of reproductive technology, but it turns out they were right: the sky is falling. Society is coming apart at the seams as a result. Old institutions, like marriage reserved for heterosexual couples, are becoming untenable -- along with suffrage reserved for men and freedom reserved for whites.

Personally, I think that's a good thing. If having society unravel the way it has in the last hundred years is the price we have to pay to realize the American Dream of liberty and justice for all, I say bring it on.

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