Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Protecting Marriage as an Institution

The monogamous, heterosexual marriage is a fundamental institution of Western and other civilizations that has evolved to both legitimize the fruits of procreation and provide the basic unit for the socialization of children. As an institution, monogamous, heterosexual marriage has endured for thousands of years, indicating that it is an effective, if imperfect method for the propagation of societal values.

The Constitutional amendment proposed by President Bush would stipulate that marriage in the United States will consist of one man/one woman unions. The amendment does not target homosexual marriages alone, but also would prohibit any form of polygamous arrangement, and any union with a non-human entity. The amendment recognizes the folly of altering or abolishing this basic institution without any proven alternatives, that allowing the institution of marriage to collapse would be akin to burning a bridge before crossing it.

Proponents of homosexual marriage say that gays are denied the financial benefits that many governments, including the United States, confer upon married couples. This is, in fact, the chief argument put forth to justify recognizing such unions. This argument assumes that married heterosexual couples reap these rewards as if they were a form of welfare. This is not the case.

Financial benefits to married people are vastly outweighed by the hundreds of thousands of dollars and thousands of hours spent on childcare. The purpose of marriage is, after all, to provide the basic environment for the raising of children. Heterosexual married couples bear the burden of assuring the continuation of society.

Though some oppose gay marriage on religious or moral grounds, the best case for protecting marriage in its current form is based on the simple concept that it is unwise to discard a tool for which you have no replacement. No one has proposed a realistic replacement for marriage.

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