The Globe And Mail: Keep it all in the family:
Marriage is a complex institution and, from a cross-cultural and historical perspective, fostering the emotional gratification of two adults is the least important of its functions. Marriage in our culture must do several specific things. It must foster the bonds between men and women for at least three reasons: to encourage the birth and rearing of children (at least to the extent necessary for preserving and fostering society), to provide an appropriate setting for children growing to maturity; and — something usually forgotten — to ensure the co-operation of men and women for the common good. Culture must also ensure the bonds between men and children, otherwise men would have no reason to become active participants in family life.
Would the Canadian federal government please recognise gay marriage if only to cease drivel similar to the above. I am sick and tired of hearing people, mostly religious nuts, waxing on about “the family” and how vitally important it is that a wedding only involve someone with a penis and another with a vagina. “Oh, but don’t let that stop you gay types from loving each other, we just don’t want you to participate in the eternal bond that is marriage, understand?”
Following the above purposes of marriage, infertile couples or couples not intending to have children shouldn’t be able to marry. After all, they aren’t raising children to maturity. Certainly, infertile couples can adopt, but so can same-sex couples, which means that their marriage could fit the above reasoning.
Every society maintains institutions and norms — rules, customs, laws, symbols, rituals, incentives, rewards, etc. — that provide public support for relationships between men and women. So deeply embedded are these that few people are consciously aware of them. The result, in any case, is that our culture has given “privileged” status to heterosexual relationships.
Another poor argument as a Globe And Mail comment in support of same-sex marriage points out:
Traditions change to accommodate new realities. It was only in 1969 that Canada woke up to the injustice of convicting men and women for engaging in homosexual acts, and removed that law from the Criminal Code.
To reach for even more radical examples, if that argument had any validity whatsoever, women would still not have the vote, blacks would still be in slavery, and child labour in factories would still be wide-spread. In short, the good old days as far as Katherine Young and Paul Nathanson are concerned. Here’s a newsflash for you Kat and Paul: culture is fluid, altering over time. If you can’t handle it, return to the trees.
Alec Sanders provides some additional insight into this fiasco:
As a straight married guy, none of this affects me, except potentially if one of my children were gay, and then I would want that child to have all the rights I have.
This is about as good a reason as any to grant marriage rights to same-sex couples. I would certainly love to see Katherine Young and Paul Nathanson tell their children or grand-children that they won’t be able play in the house of marriage if they happened to be gay.
I find it incomprehensible that we as a nation are still having this debate. It seems years ago that I voiced a similar frustration with our federal government. Unless the federal government steps in and takes a stand, we will continue to read frustrating rants like this one. Don’t hold your breath waiting for Paul Martin to break the ban, either; he’s still waffling on the issue.