June 07, 2013
There is no such thing as marriage equality
By Stephen Kokx *

By Stephen Kokx *

There's been a lot of talk about marriage equality over the past several months. But like those who invoke the phrase "social justice," activists who speak of "marriage equality" don't seem to have a clear understanding as to what marriage equality actually means.

One writer for Salon.com thinks marriage equality means granting polygamous couples the right to marry. Libertarians contend it means getting the state out of the marriage business all together. Others still, like well-known pro-gay rights journalist Masha Gessen, admit that “fighting for gay marriage generally involves lying” because, in reality, “the institution of marriage should not exist.”

What are we to make of all this? Once we get past all the smoke screens and sloganeering, it’s easy to see that there is no such thing as marriage equality.
Marriage is an institution endowed by nature. It is not a creation of the state. The state merely recognizes marriage as the union of one man and one woman because it has an interest in the well-being of children.

In this sense, marriage is not a religious institution. Marriage is a pre-political union that acts as a societal building block. As the philosopher Aristotle noted some 2300 years ago, when a man and a woman come together they form the first government: the family.

When the state recognizes this complimentary union, it strengthens society. When the state tampers with this union, like it did when it introduced no-fault divorce laws in the 1960s and 70s, the state weakens society. Ultimately, children end up getting hurt.

State recognition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman encourages responsible fatherhood. When a child is born, chances are its mother is going to be close by. Whether or not that child’s father is going to be around is unknown. By supporting “marriage equality,” people are indirectly supporting a policy that says it doesn’t matter where that child’s father is.

Of course, not all male-female unions can produce children. This is an important point. It leads some to argue that marriage really isn’t about procreation at all.

While it may be true that some opposite-sex couples cannot procreate, the reason for their infertility is not the same as same-sex couples. Anatomically speaking, same-sex couples are inherently incapable of bearing children.

Their union necessitates the distancing of any children they may rear from one of that child’s biological parents. Opposite-sex couples, on the other hand, cannot procreate due to old age or biological realities. This is not a one-to-one comparison.

Again, marriage is primarily about children. If marriage was not about children, there would be no reason for the government to regulate it.

Even if you believe same-sex couples should be able to participate in the institution of marriage, what rational basis is there, as liberal Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has argued, to discriminate against polygamous or incestuous couples by limiting marriage to two unrelated people?

Sure, the state may create an institution that imitates marriage, and whatever that institution ends up being called might allow some people to be happy for a while, but marriage itself is not something that can be equalized. Let’s stop kidding ourselves

Stephen Kokx is a blogger for CatholicVote.org and an adjunct instructor of political science living in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He has previously worked for the Archdiocese of Chicago. He is a graduate of Aquinas College and Loyola University Chicago, and belongs to the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars and the Society of Catholic Social Scientists. Follow Stephen on twitter @StephenKokx.
« Previous entry     Back to index     Next entry »
Ads by Google
(What's this?)
blog comments powered by Disqus


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic

Liturgical Calendar

April 20, 2014


All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 24:13-35


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Acts 10:34a, 37-43
Second Reading:: Col 3:1-4
Gospel:: Jn 20:1-9

Homily of the Day

Lk 24:13-35


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: