The Problem with Gay Marriage

Lately I've been thinking of a former close friend and colleague who happens to be one of the most brilliant and insightful political writers of our time.  I had referenced his work in my own books long before I got to know him and was honored to find after we'd met that the esteem was mutual.  I regarded his camaraderie as one of the blessings that conservative affiliations can afford, especially to those toiling in the scribbling trade.

Our relationship lasted many years.  We met often when he visited our shores, enjoyed many pleasant, conversation-rich dinners, shared the same circle of friends, continued to read one another's works with admiration, exchanged emails several times a week, and even wrote for the same magazines.  I introduced him to my wife, with whom he developed a friendship and appreciation for her own contributions to the conservative movement.  We were like an extended family.  What could possibly go wrong?

The short answer is, a lot.  Our relationship foundered over the vexed issue of redefining marriage, for my friend was gay and expected us to affirm the legalization of gay marriage in the United States and his forthcoming betrothal, as he referred to it, to his longtime partner.  This we could not do.  He objected to a rather obscure Facebook comment in which my wife deplored how the gay lobby's justifiable plea for tolerance, with which she was fully on board, had morphed into the triumphalist demand for the unconditional celebration of all things gay, from gay politicking to Gay Pride to so-called gay marriage.

The question of religious freedom and belief, sanctioned by the Constitution, also entered into the equation.  She supported the right of a Christian baker to refuse preparing a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.  This my friend could not accept.  An email arrived accusing us of homophobia and informing us that the friendship was over.

Although I regard the reduction of identity to one's sexual preferences, whatever these might be, as a diminishment of the complex spectrum of human personality, I have nothing against the practice of homosexuality – to each his own – and considered it a non-issue and none of my business.  I do not like to interfere in other people's personal lives.  Then and now, however, I believed as a matter of principle that redefining marriage was another kettle entirely.  People can manage their private passions as they wish, provided they remain within the common law, but marriage has to be defended not only as a binding compact between two people and an expression of religious faith, but as a social institution whose role is twofold: the preservation of cultural life and the procreation of the species.

For these reasons, marriage can be only a contract between a man and woman.  Love, companionship, spiritual and intellectual reciprocity are desirable goods, but from the institutional perspective, such golden qualities are sufficient though not necessary conditions.  As the backbone of the social covenant and the sine qua non of reproductive duration, marriage is more than merely a ritual performance or a consumer accessory.  Romance and compatibility will sweeten and strengthen commitment and avowal, but the essential point is that the contractual heterosexual union is the driving force of human culture and the warranty of human survival.

When the institution of marriage is compromised; when single mothers proliferate and are even applauded; when children are separated or alienated from their parents; when the bonds of heterosexual intimacy are breached; when gender politics sabotages concord between the sexes; when same-sex couples receive the same rights, privileges, and rewards as child-bearing couples; and when matrimony becomes the prerogative of any group whatsoever with no relation to fecundity or cultural stability, the underpinnings of Western society will inevitably collapse.

This is why Marxism, for example, considers marriage an institution that needs to be destroyed, since procreant marriage with all its attendant responsibilities is the foundation of bourgeois society.  This is why its dissolution or misprision is a prerequisite for the revolutionary socialist state in which the pivotal loyalty of the individual belongs to the sovereign collective, not to the family.  And this is why calling two men or two women in a union "marriage" has been serially championed by the left.

Marriage in its orthodox acceptation may be in some respects a flawed institution; nevertheless, it is imperative.  It is, as I've argued, the basis of civilizational survival, just as the heterosexual union in whatever form it may assume guarantees the survival of the race.  Gay "marriage," taken to its reductio ad absurdum, would terminate in the disappearance of the human race from the face of the Earth.  In weakening the institution of marriage, gay people calling themselves spouses actually endorse the logic of species annihilation.

Moreover, to contend, as same-sex couples do, that they can adopt children or rely on sperm donors merely accentuates the paradox, for they reveal themselves as dependent on precisely the sexual fertility which they forsake and the procreative function they have renounced.  There would be no gays in the absence of the bonded heterosexual couple that rears children and is socially constrained to provide for their future.  There is a debt to be paid in the only way possible: do not insult or damage the institution that gave you existence and continues to sustain it.  The fact often adduced by skeptics that not all heterosexual unions are fertile or permanent is beside the point; the ancestral purpose of marriage as an institution remains intact.

There is another paradox regarding gays who, like my former friend, are politically conservative, since they have participated in the socialist and communist paradigm of family abolition and the destruction of the very society they have taken for granted, espousing as they do a kind of archetypal sterility.  They are doing the left's bidding – professed conservatives eroding the traditional foundation of heteronormative society, turning marriage into a mockery of its reason for being.  The cognitive dissonance is startling.

None of these considerations carried any weight with my literary colleague, who accused my wife and me of rejecting his "essential humanity" and broke off all communication, saying the issue was "non-negotiable" and all discussion would henceforth cease.  We have never heard from him again.  That his sexual proclivities were wholly inconsequential to us and that we explicitly wished the best for him and his partner were now immaterial.  That he was helping to consummate the cultural mission of the left simply did not factor.

I think of our lost friendship with regret.  We still follow his political writing devoutly, though we miss the conversations and lament the forfeiture of mutual affection.  But there's no help for it.  My brief, as I've stressed, was never against him or the nature of his desire and love.  My argument was, one might say, clinical.  The received institution of marriage, whether regarded as sacrosanct or purely functional, was indispensable to both culture and race and should not be enfeebled or caricatured or rendered moot.  It has to be respected and maintained in order to serve its original purpose.

My friend would have none of it.  He demanded total assent and expected our congratulations.  But as he once wrote me about another matter, "you don't owe a friend a lie."  It's a maxim worth living by.

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