What the 'Respect for Marriage Act' Really Respects

Last week, Congress passed the "Respect for Marriage" Act.  As usual, the name the proponents (or, sometimes, opponents) invent for the bill does not accurately represent its purpose.  You may remember that the "For the People" Act was a lot less useful to the people than it was to the Democrat party.  The "Inflation Reduction Act" did nothing to reduce inflation.  And the "Don't Say Gay" bill did not ban the word "gay."

The "Respect for Marriage" Act purportedly "legalizes" same-sex "marriage."  Because the Supreme Court already ruled on this matter, the law does not expand legal protection for same-sex couples in any way.  The law, in part, requires private businesses to perform services they object to on moral grounds.  This law should be called the "disrespect for personal freedom" act.

To understand why legitimizing same-sex "marriage" is detrimental for society, we must first examine some myths associated with the institution of marriage, from both the conservative and the liberal viewpoints.

Myth #1: Marriage is a human right.

Stable families are the basis for a stable society and are building blocks for successful and productive future generations.  The institution of marriage was designed to help society in maintaining these relationships.  Marriage has nothing to do with freedoms or rights, which are "unalienable," and are granted to you by nature, or G-d, if you are a person of faith.  Marriage is what we call "a social construct" (unlike biological sex, which is not one) and is defined by society (in our case, a state or a country).

Because it is in society's interest to maintain stable family units, society grants benefits to those who choose to enter them.  Individual members cannot demand these benefits without providing anything in return.  What society gains is that married couples raise stable and productive children. 

Healthy and strong humans are almost always a product of a nuclear family.  Historically, "a village" has never been successful in raising children — not for lack of trying.  Children raised by any kind of a "village" are a lot more likely to grow up poor, to have emotional problems, and to struggle academically (some of the statistics are here).

Myth #2: You should be able to marry whomever you love.

As soon as you accept that "love" is the sole basis for claiming the right to marry, then it becomes hard to argue why it should be limited only to couples (straight or gay).  The proponents of polygamous relationships now have the rightful claim as well.  Virtually all sexual deviations are being "normalized" today: "minor attraction" and "animal attraction" are no longer as frowned upon as they used to be.  If the trend of "inclusion" continues, Congress will be hard pressed to explain why the "Respect for Marriage" Act does not include all of them.

Marriages based on "love" (read: physical attraction) are a relatively modern invention — and not a successful one.  Historically, mutual attraction has not been either a requirement or a reason for marriage.  Society has no interest in any feelings, or lack thereof, you may have for your spouse.  All society is interested in is for you and your spouse to stay together.  Mutual attraction helps couples stay together; however, a lot more is necessary to make a marriage last.  With "love is love" obsession, that fact is lost on the younger generation.

Historically, marriage had very little to do with feelings and a lot more to do with money.  Because in the past, nobility was not into monogamy, determining which descendants (conceived with various partners) have the right to daddy's money (and often the title) was a hot mess.  The main purpose of marriage was preserving wealth within the family and passing it on to the legitimate descendants.

Today, family wealth is distributed by means of a will or other legal document.  So the financial aspect is much less important in most cases.  Couple, gay or straight, have the right to pass on property to anyone they choose.  However, raising productive members of society remains at the heart of marriage.

Myth #3: The purpose of marriage is to conceive children.

Many opponents of same-sex "marriage" base their opposition on inability of gay couples to conceive children.  That opposition becomes hard to defend when you know that many heterosexual couples also fail to produce descendants — either by choice or for medical reasons.  Many couples enter marriage well beyond reproductive age, which means they are unable to conceive even in theory.  Arguing that their reproductive deficiency is somehow more "morally justifiable" than a gay couple's is a hard position to defend.

Nor should it be defended.  The ultimate purpose of marriage is not to conceive children, but to raise them.  Adoption is a viable option for childless couples.  A couple can adopt at any age; it is not uncommon for grandparents to raise their grandchildren, if parents are unable to do so.  Raising children, whether biological or adopted, is the essential duty of every family.  For those couples who willfully choose not to take that responsibility, marriage becomes a mere formality.

Myth #4: Heterosexual marriage and same-sex "marriage" are created equal.

The institution of marriage was created to keep couples together.  It very provably works.  This study finds that "children born to cohabiting parents are 75% more likely to experience family dissolution than the children of married parents."  Creating an obstacle to family separation is a good thing.  Society benefits only from stable relationships.

That is where same-sex relationships are different.  It is easy to see why.  By nature, men are polygamous creatures.  Their natural purpose is to procreate.  If left to their natural devices, men can produce offspring on any given day.  A woman can produce only one (multiple pregnancies are an exception) a year and, in most cases, fewer than that.  A woman has a dual purpose: not just to produce a baby, but also to take care of him — and that's where a stable partner is a big help.  In exchange for giving up natural proclivities, a man gets many perks, in addition to bragging rights for well behaved kids. 

Absent a female, you have a couple where both sides have a natural inclination for polygamy, without any "checks and balances" to counteract it.  Relying on an "honor system" to counteract nature by and large is a losing proposition.  Even "married" same-sex couples don't view monogamy as a virtue, by their own admission.

It is true that heterosexual relationships are becoming increasingly shaky as well.  However, the reasons are social rather than biological.  Among the reasons for failing relationships is the diminishing value society places on the institution of marriage.  Today, the importance given to personal gratification, both professional and emotional, far exceeds the emphasis being placed on building a strong union, which demands personal sacrifices.  As a result, young people expect their marriages to be an extension of that self-fulfillment, rather than a moral obligation to their partners, their children, and the society they live in.

Because marriage is no longer seen as a sacred bond with a unique purpose, but rather a pathway to personal gratification, increasingly fewer people understand what makes the marriage work.  The institution of marriage was designed to promote the well-being of society — not for society to cater to individuals or social groups.  Extending the benefits of marriage to groups who are, by design, not going to adhere to the goals and principles of that institution is the road to the destruction of Western civilization.

Tanya Berlaga is a freelance writer, translator, and publisher and is currently a contributor to Right Wire Report, The Liberty Loft, and Free Speech Movement.

Image via Pixnio.

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