Heterosexual Marriage Is Logical as Well as Right
Typical proponents of same-sex marriage think that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry without interference from others because they love each other. In addition, they believe we have two classes of people: (1) persons who prefer members of the opposite sex and (2) persons who prefer members of the same sex. The first group may marry in accordance with their preferences. The second group may not marry in accordance with their preferences. Discrimination purportedly exists against the second group.
The logic of the above position has an enticing simplicity, but is it true?
First, marriage involves more than feelings or attitudes of the parties involved. If it were subjective, then anyone could be "married," and it would no longer be an institution. Justice S. Sotomayor hinted at this during her questioning of the attorneys against California’s Proposition 8 when she asked if any restrictions could be placed on marriage. Could marriage be between a parent and his or her child? Would polygamy implicitly be allowed if the restriction that marriage is between a man and a woman were lifted? If the definition is open-ended and depends only on the feelings of the two parties intending to be married, then marriage loses all relevance in law or society.
Further, looking at the view that says that marriage is discriminatory, Justice A. Scalia asked attorney Ted Olson when this exclusion began. His question understands that to be discriminatory against a class of persons, a law or an action must have been put in place at some point in time with the intent to discriminate. For example, the 14th Amendment was a response to the Black Codes enacted in the former Confederate states after the Civil War. Attorney Olson had to admit he had no specific date or occasion of exclusion. Thus, marriage was never licensed and regulated to exclude anyone, just as calling a dog a "cocker spaniel" was never intended or created to exclude non-cocker spaniels from that designation.
Our last argument in support of traditional marriage is also definitional, but not “merely semantics.” The argument would be that anyone – gay or straight – can enter into heterosexual marriage if he or she pleases to do so. Thus, even if a homosexual male or female claims to be that way from birth, he or she would not be barred from marrying a member of the opposite sex because of that propensity. If a homosexual male could find a female willing to marry him even though he is homosexual, there would not be any law forbidding that union. Likewise, a lesbian could marry a male if the male were agreeable to marrying her. Thus, sexual orientation would not be the basis of discrimination for participating in the traditional (eternal) definition of marriage. People unsuited to be married together are getting married all the time based on the fact that one is a male and the other is a female. Therefore, one's sexual orientation is not a bar to marriage. The present definition of marriage does not discriminate against gays in the same ways that laws of an earlier period barred marriage of a black and a white even if they were heterosexual. Present marriage laws deny no one his or her civil rights.
Lastly, there is an all-important extra-legal principle that has been incorporated into our legal system. It was established approximately 3,500 years ago and carried forward by the Romans, and later by the Teutonic tribes that took over the Roman Empire beginning in the 5th century AD. This wise principle states, “Honor your father and your mother.” No one would think that this precept means honor anyone who loves you and provides for your needs. Clearly, it's gender-specific.