Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Witherspoon Institute on true marriage.

Sometimes, I still can’t believe that I live in a world where something as tried and true as the definition of marriage is under attack. How did genderphobia become so popular?

“... Definitions clear away weeds, clarity fosters productive disagreement,...

... The authors explain why debates over gay marriage are only indirectly about homosexuality; the real issue is “not about whom to let marry, but about what marriage is.” Thus the need to address whether the conjugal or revisionist view of marriage is correct. Briefly, the conjugal view holds that marriage, by its nature, can only be the union of man and woman, because marriage is “distinguished by its comprehensiveness,” requiring “a bodily as well as an emotional and spiritual bond.” The revisionist view, on the other hand, treats marriage as a malleable union of any two partners; here marriage is simply “a loving emotional bond, one distinguished by its intensity.”

...The book begins with a pointed challenge to revisionists: What does it mean to say that marriage is an intense emotional bond, and what does such a definition limit? The burden of proof is placed on the revisionists, and they do not fare well.

... If, as revisionists claim, “marriage is distinguished simply by emotional union and the activities that foster it,” what rational basis limits marriage to exclusive monogamy while not including polyamory, close friends, or any sort of arrangement?

... According to the conjugal view, on the other hand, marriage is more than a formless emotional bond; it is a basic human good, a way of being well with an objective and rational basis. Marriage cannot be redefined without deeply misconstruing (and thus missing out on) this good and the flourishing it partially constitutes.

... Marriage, like friendship, also has an objective core that cannot be altered without misunderstanding it. This core distinguishes marriage from other forms of relationship.

... Since “your body is an essential part of you, not a vehicle driven by the ‘real’ you, your mind,” it follows that “any union of two people must include bodily union to be comprehensive.”

... Thus a man and woman of deep intellectual and emotional commitment are not married without bodily union, and neither are Oscar and Alfred, the bachelor brothers. Likewise, same-sex partners or members of a polyamorous community cannot be married, because they cannot establish the bodily union that’s necessary for comprehensive union.

... Marriages are the “main and most effective means” of raising flourishing children, and since the “health and order of society” depend on such children, the law has a compelling reason to support conjugal marriage.

... There is no revulsion or bigotry evident here, but rather compassion for fellow human beings, and while reason reveals that marriage is conjugal and cannot be otherwise, reason—and compassion—demand caring for all, the married or the unmarried. But compassion does not, simply cannot, include redefining marriage, for marriage cannot be redefined. It is what it is. ...”

Full article here.

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