Know where you stand on issue of gay marriage

Lee McClelland

While the United States Supreme Court makes its determinations on arguments heard in Hollingsworth v. Perry (the Proposition 8 case), the definition of marriage and its protection under the law has come into question.

Professor Zac Cogley discussed the definition of marriage in American society in the Thursday, April 4 issue of The North Wind, and he discussed what is referred to as the “conjugal” definition (or conjugalism) of marriage.

The conjugal definition focuses more on the emotional gratification two partners seek from a romantic relationship, rather than a desire to procreate and start a family.

The opposition to same-sex marriage argue that the purpose of marriage — as it was established in society — is for two people to bear children and start a family, with one man, one woman and X-amount of children. I will refer to this as the “reproductive” definition.

At the foundation of the same-sex marriage debate is the protection heterosexual and homosexual partners enjoy under existing laws.

While nine states and the District of Columbia grant same-sex marriages, there are seven states that have laws allowing for gay or lesbian couples to wed in civil unions or domestic partnerships.

Proponents of same-sex marriage equality, such as the Obama administration, argue civil unions and domestic partnerships violate the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause.

Once again, the definition of marriage becomes crucial when deciding whether or not same-sex marriage should be included in United States law — a social contract that Americans must adhere to after a legally-binding decision.

If the purpose of marriage is to bind one man and one woman in order for two individuals to procreate and foster children while maintaining a nurturing environment, then it would not seem appropriate to extend the benefits to those who cannot bear children.

But if ever the definition of marriage was for the purpose of procreation, its meaning has changed over time, as language tends to do. Plenty of heterosexual couples — men and women — choose not to have children and rightfully so.

With a fast-growing, unsustainable world population and an increasing number of individuals receiving an education in the United States, many choose to have one child or no children at all. And then there are those who cannot have children. The sterile. The infertile. The disabled. The wanton men and women who do not wish to be parents.

If the United States is to define marriage as an institution for the sole purpose of procreation, then these individuals would be excluded as well.

The claim that gays and lesbians cannot change the definition of marriage because the inherent change will lead to a moral backsliding in society is trite and untrue. And when you hear someone making this claim, listen closely.

Take Dr. Ben Carson for example. Carson is a prominent Baltimore neurosurgeon who has grown as an important figure in the conservative scene.

Carson is also the man who appeared on the Sean Hannity show and remarked: “Marriage is between a man and a woman. It’s a well established, fundamental pillar of society, and no group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA, be they people who believe in bestiality, it doesn’t matter what they are. They don’t get to change the definition.”

Many took offense to the comparison of gays to pedophiles and proponents of bestiality. On the Wednesday, April 4, episode of “The Daily Show,” John Stewart said of Carson’s remarks, “One of those things doesn’t fit.”

To poke fun, John Stewart stops short of analyzing Carson’s categorization of bestiality, pedophilia and homosexuality. Carson views these, no doubt, as sexually-deviant behavior. Therefore, if sexual deviants can change the definition of marriage, then society will be undergo irreparable damage.

Men like Carson are not in the majority, thankfully.

Now is the time for Americans to become advocates for change. Marriage offers numerous legal benefits, as well as the invaluable social validation that, yes, two people are observed under the law as married.

The fact that domestic partnerships and civil unions exist proves the whole of society does not view gays and lesbians as sexual deviants — only a minority, though they be a vocal minority, believes this to be so.

The definition of marriage has changed to a conjugal definition. Americans need to realize this change has already happened in society; now, the law needs to change so the institution of marriage is inclusive to both heterosexual and homosexual spouses.