Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Marriage, Gay Couples & Cheese

First, please check out my preamble before reading this.. This little disclaimer explains why I won't be using the Catholic Church in my defense of marriage here. It also explains the concept of a true argument. Rarely do I find that people disprove the arguments.. Instead we jump around to new points and we never actually hash out the main one. Check out my previous post so that we're all on the same page as we begin to discuss!

First up?
Why don't gay couples have the right to marriage? 

The first sentence of the Declaration of Independence reads as follows: "When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."

Clearly not a religious text. Instead its one of the most foundational documents in our democratic history! Yet the "Laws of Nature" are cited as an ethical barometer. And I love that phrase.. "to which the Laws of Nature.. entitle them.." Its not unreasonable to say, therefore, that we are not entitled to our country promoting or protecting a lifestyle that is not in accordance with the Laws of Nature. Freedom, therefore, is not about doing whatever you want.. It's about doing what is right. A perfect lead into my summarized point here:

Marriage, at it's most basic form, is the unity of man and wife with the potential for children; distinct from all other relationships. As the building block of our society, redefining the concept of marriage to include other relationships is not only unnecessary, but destructive. 

What do you see here?

Did you say cheese? Well, you're wrong. Take a look at the label a little closer.. It is actually a "pasteurized prepared cheese product"! Its "cheese food", my friend.

Now you might say, "C'mon, Caitie! Who cares! It looks like cheese. It smells (kinda) like cheese. It tastes like cheese!" Well, you're right. And when it comes to making a grilled cheese, this is the way to go, no doubt. But no matter how cheesey and delicious these little plastic wrapped squares are, they're just not cheese. Why not? Well, there's a standard. A definition. According to the FDA, a food is considered cheese when it is 100% cheese. When it's less than 51% cheese, like our wonderful Kraft Singles are, it must be called "cheese food". Real cheese is not an apple, it's not bread or even milk. It's a distinct food that has its own characteristics.

And so does marriage. Marriage is a distinct relationship. Marriage is not just any coupling of the romantically inclined! Duh, right!? Well, let's hold up here a minute because some people have come into this conversation already having redefined it. Let's take a look at the dictionary, shall we?

This is from Oxford Dictionary Online. Again, not a religious institution. And it doesn't include anything about love (the concept of arranged marriages is alive and well in this country and others!), living together, the amount of commitment between them, the ceremony, etc. Why? Because this is a basic definition. And the basis of the definition is not romance, it's not commitment, it's not compatibility. The BASIS of the definition of marriage is man and wife.

Why is this relationship so distinct? A VERY IMPORTANT question! Let's look at Biology. There are two relationships in the history of mankind that are reflected in our human bodies; mother and child and husband and wife.  Think about it! The bodies of a man and a woman fit together so perfectly that a new life is created! Whoa! We can't dismiss that. There is something intrinsically important about that relationship.

And I don't care how much love there is between two women or two men.. ^ THAT doesn't happen! No matter how committed, how compatible, how long they are together, that love that is between them cannot create new life. Two woman or two men cannot join as one like a man and woman can! Biology tells us there is something different about marriage; about the relationship between a man and a woman.

So, if a gay couple's union can never meet the same requirements for marriage (two men or two women will never equal one woman and one man), then they are not married. And no piece of paper disputes this. I could hand out college diplomas all day long! But if the person didn't meet the requirements of graduation does it matter?

And an even bigger question: Would it be discrimination to withhold diplomas from non-graduates? See, that's really what the argument turns into. I've never heard an argument that refutes why the relationship between a man and a woman is not actually distinct. No one argues that homosexuality is right, they argue that we shouldn't care. And they argue that this is an issue of equality.

Well, let me be clear. I am 100% for marriage equality! What I am against is the concept of "gay marriage". Remember the definition above? "The formal union of a man and a woman, typically recognized by law, by which they become husband and wife". I am all for equal rights when it comes to marriage; the right for a man to marry any woman he chooses and visa versa!

Check out this video of beautiful Maggie Gallagher.. Brave lady!

But there is no discrimination when you deny that right to those who don't meet the requirements. That's not discrimination, that's reality! If someone cut in line at graduation and, despite attending the classes and wearing the robe, never actually passed a class, would it be discrimination to deny them a diploma? Nope, that's reality, my friend.

I'm not saying there is no love in a homosexual relationship. And I'm not saying there is perfect love in a hetero one. I'm saying that not every loving relationship is a marital one and then two women cannot truly be married because they are two women; not because there is no love between them! And two men cannot truly be married -- be as one -- because they are two men; not because there is no commitment between them.

Let's return to the quote from the Declaration of Independance.. "When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."

Our government does not have a duty to redefine marriage. It is clear that the definition is reasonable: that the relationship between man and woman, with that distinct biological ability to fit together and the potential to create life, is indeed sacred and set apart from all other relationships, no matter how loving and committed they are.

But alas.. We fight so hard for "cheese food".

So, quick answer: Why don't gay couples have the right to marriage? Is it because their love isn't enough? Or their commitment isn't set in stone? No. It's because they don't meet the requirements for marriage (man and woman). If they did and still were not allowed, THAT would be discrimination. This is just the truth. And sometime we have to Jack Nicholson this thing and admit that some people can't handle the truth. Sometimes they can't see it. But never should we back down from sharing it.


  1. I won't respond to your central thesis that only man + woman can = marriage according to the "laws of nature." I do feel strongly that this is not a reason deny to gay couples equal rights and protections under the law and I will go on record that I do not accept it as fact that only man + woman = marriage, but I know that I will not convince you otherwise and I am content to agree to disagree. However, I feel even more passionately about another topic, that being equality regardless of gender. I wish to respect your space so I won't derail the conversation for more than a moment. However, I must point out that the use of the phrase "man and wife" is problematic in regards to gender equality and also good grammar. This phrase defines the woman in a heterosexual relationship by her relationship to the man while the "man" is treated as an individual. The following scholarly article delves into the use of sexist language like this further if you are interested in considering how this affects the example you set for others:
    I do not expect a response as I recognize that this is mostly off topic, but I would be remiss if I did not call you out on this as I expect others to do for me as we seek to better ourselves.

  2. You claim that the current definition of marriage between a man and woman is "reasonable: that the relationship between man and woman, with that distinct biological ability to fit together and the potential to create life, is indeed sacred." I think that everyone can agree that only a healthy man and a healthy woman can naturally make a child. However, how can you justify the marriage of an infertile man and woman? Or a man and an infertile woman? Or an older man and older woman (post menopause)? Or a woman and a man who had his testicles removed due to cancer? None of these couples have potential to produce life. Should they be allowed to marry? I would very much like to hear from you how these couples fit in with your potential-to-create-life argument.

    1. As this blog post is trying to stay away from the Church teaching and the Bible, so will I.

      Perhaps the "potential to create life" wording is not necessarily the best. A better way to state this is: A relationship between a man and woman, with the distinct biological ability that allows for the kind of act which is proper to creating life, is indeed sacred. That proper act, of course, is Sex. This does not state that there is potential for life in all sexual acts, but that the proper act required to create life (Sex) is still present.

      Your first two questions state: "How can you justify the marriage of an infertile man and woman? Or a man and an infertile woman?" A recent study done by Harvard University states that with certain lifestyle changes, infertility decreases or becomes nonexistent up to 80% of the time. I understand that infertility can sometimes last forever, but there is no way of 100% sure knowing that a person is infinitely infertile. Because there is not a very sure way of knowing whether infertility is infinite, the "potential for life" is still there. Also, in this case, the "proper act required to create life" is still present. In this paragraph, I am strictly talking about infertility, not sterility or impotency. There are major differences between the three.

      Your second question was, "Or an older man and older woman (post menopause)?" There are some cases out there of women having babies after menopause at ages as high as 59 (five years after menopause in one case). I guess in this instance, there is always "potential for life," but it does not happen very often. However, the "proper act required to create life" is still present, even if you disagree that there is not "potential for life."

      Your third question states, "Or a woman and a man who had his testicles removed due to cancer?" Your are correct in stating that there is no "potential for life." However, just because his testicles have been removed does not mean that the "proper act required to create life" is not present. Men without testicles can still have sex and ejaculate.

      In all these instances, these couples should be able to marry because the "proper act required to create life" is present. In the marriage of homosexual men or women, this act is not present. It is not biologically possible.

      Even though I did not bring the church into this argument, I believe the Catholic church agrees with everything I have stated. Please let me know your thoughts or concerns.

    2. Some infertility cases can be reversed. However, there are some cases that are permanent. To make it easier to follow, I will focus on one case. The ejaculate from a man without testicles will never have sperm. His relationship with a woman will never naturally create life, in the same way that the relationship between two men or two women will never naturally create life. The only relationship where the "act required to create life" is present is a heterosexual relationship between two fertile non-sterile individuals.
      There are also heterosexual couples where sex isn't even possible due to various physical disabilities. There is not even any sort of “act” present in that relationship.
      I also would like to clarify one thing. Are you saying that marriage is defined but what type of sex the couple has, or is marriage defined by having (or at least honestly trying) to produce and raise children? I think this blog had claimed the latter, while you may be claiming the former. I think there is a major difference between the two, and my first comment was focusing on the blog's claim. The type of sex couples have should not determine the validity or legality of their marriage. The blog claims that the “love between them [same-sex couples] cannot create new life”, so they shouldn’t be allowed to marry. The love between a sterile man and a woman also cannot create new life. A sterile man and a woman are not marrying to produce children. They are marrying because they love each other, want to commit to each other, and may also want to raise children together through adoption or with the help of a sperm donor.

  3. Ashley, if I tried to make a souffle and somehow, despite having mixed the ingredients correctly and setting the oven to the right temp, it didn't rise, would I have redefined a souffle? No.. Just didn't work right. However, if I never put the ingredients together and just stuck them all in a pile in the oven, I could not claim that I made a souffle. There is a difference between not being able to reach the potential VS. removing it completely.

    That is my point.

    Catholic Caitie Rose