All over the country homosexuals are pressing
for the right to marry one another. These efforts are usually
confined to the courts of the various states because there is
no hope of getting homosexual marriage legislation through any
state legislature, at least not yet.
Should homosexuals be allowed to marry one another?
Why would they want to marry one another? Do they have a right
to marry one another? Taking those questions in inverse order,
we deal first with the issue of homosexuals’ right to marry.
There is no doubt that they have the right to marry, what is at
issue is whether or not they have a constitutional right to marry
someone of the same sex. In my opinion, the answer is no.
If you are religious you believe that God instituted
the state of marriage in order to provide a safe and nurturing
atmosphere for the raising of children. If you are not religious
you probably believe that as society developed it was discovered
that stable and monogamous relationships provided the best setting
for child rearing with the female watching the children while
the male went off to find food. Eventually society developed rules
and rituals to govern this relationship. The question to be decided
is whether or not the changed circumstances of the 21st century
have made the one-man-one-woman formula an obsolete requirement.
After all, children do not need to issue from a marital union.
Plenty of man-woman relationships are childless by choice. Such
is the legacy of the family planning (read contraception) movement.
Additionally, some heterosexual couples are childless because
one or the other is sterile; and childless couples (whether barren
or simply protective of a slim female body) wanting to “have
the experience of raising children” have a great many avenues
open to satisfy that desire. Everything from adoption to hiring
a surrogate womb is available at a price. Why then should not
the concept of traditional marriage be expanded to include same
If you are religious, you will probably claim
that homosexual sex is sinful and that the state should not be
officially sanctioning sin. In this day and age it would probably
be a good idea to be very careful where you voice that opinion
because the homosexual movement has the ability to make life uncomfortable
for people who mention sin in connection with their sexual habits.
One does not have to be religious, however, in order to find something
wrong with the claim of a constitutional right to homosexual marriage.
If you are a strict constructionist in constitutional interpretation
you will be hard pressed to find a constitutional right to engage
in activity that was criminal at the time the constitution was
We come now to the question of why homosexual
couples would want to marry. Some may wish to marry because if
one of them were to become incapacitated the other would not be
able to make any decisions on care. That problem can, of course,
be solved without the need for marriage. One may designate anyone
one wants to make such decisions. Some may want to marry in order
to take advantage of a tax break, or to obtain health insurance,
or other employer sponsored spousal benefits. It should be pointed
out that the lower tax bracket was instituted in recognition that
the man of the house was supporting a wife and raising children.
The government let him keep a little more of his money because
he needed it. Employer sponsored benefits such as health insurance
are also based on the assumption that the husband is working and
the wife is staying home with the children, and therefore she
(and the children) will have no health insurance if the husband’s
policy does not cover them. This assumption can, in many cases,
be shown to be false. There are many married couples who have
no children and both partners are often employed outside the home.
How do these couples differ from homosexual couples? They don’t;
but that is a much better argument for denying these benefits
to some heterosexual partners than it is for extending them to
homosexual couples. Some homosexual couples just want to marry
in order to show the heterosexual world that they can; that their
sexual habits are just as good as anyone else’s, and that
people will just have to accept them and their lifestyle whether
they like it or not.. That reason should be rejected out of hand.
We come now to the final question: should homosexuals
be allowed to marry one another? What exactly is the purpose of
marriage? Is the purpose of marriage to bring children into the
world and to provide a good environment for their development,
or is the purpose of marriage to provide people with sexual partners?
A great many people seem to enter marriage with no intention of
having children. For them, the provision of a reliable sexual
partner would seem to be the purpose of their marriage. Do people
have a right to state sanctioned and tax subsidized recreational
sex? If so, what about the people who cannot find partners? Should
the state be required to provide them with recreational sex? I
would suggest that the answer to that question is no. When people
marry with no intention of having children the state is subsidizing
their recreational sex with “married” tax deductions,
and there really is no need for employer sponsored spousal benefits,
but it is impossible to say with certainty which couples married
with no intention of having children and which couples have simply
been thus far infertile. However, since homosexual couples have
no hope of bringing children out of their union, there is no reason
to allow them to marry.
Now that we have determined that homosexual marriage
is not a good idea, how do we keep the courts from sanctioning
it? If state legislatures are really opposed to same sex “marriage,”
they can amend their states’ constitutions to define marriage
in traditional terms. If the legislatures are not interested in
such amendments, then the people of the state have it in their
power to protect traditional marriage, if they really want to
do so. Most state judges are elected. If an elected state court
forces same sex marriage upon an unwilling electorate, a new court
is as near as the next election. This new court would be free
to overturn the previous erroneous decision.
In a democracy people get what they deserve and
they deserve what they get. If there are enough people left who
think that same sex marriage ought to be unthinkable, same sex
marriage will not be accepted as the norm. I recommend, however,
that political action not be delayed. Another generation of Will
and Grace will probably leave the homosexual agenda impregnable.