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Sunday, March 9, 2014

Exclusively Heterosexual Marriage and Rationality

Of all the arguments presented in favor of gay marriage, the most perplexing – in fact, bizarre – is that there is no rational reason to limit marriage to a relationship between a man and a woman.  Even more bizarre is that this argument seems to have had a great deal of success.  It should be obvious to the most casual observer that it is perfectly rational that societies confer an exclusive status on male/female pairs.

Humanity is a two-sex species.  To produce a child requires one of each sex, a male and a female, and ensuring that the child survives to adulthood and has a chance of thriving thereafter requires years of effort by its parents.  If heterosexual marriage didn’t exist, it would be necessary to invent it, and the clear proof of this is that there are few societies we know about in human history (in fact, are there any?) that have failed to invent marriage.  The family unit is without exaggeration the basic building block of all civil societies and the male/female pair is the core of the family unit.  Societies must recognize (and always have recognized) a special status for the male/female pair as a unit.  It’s not the same status as business partners, employers and employees, liege lords and vassals, close friends, prostitutes and customers, or any of any number of other sorts of relationships.

I would be okay with people claiming this is not a strong argument.  I happen to think it’s dispositive but that isn’t the point.  The point is there are people who claim with a straight face it is not even a rational argument.  If you think there is “no rational reason” to provide a special designation for the marriage of a husband and wife, you fail the Inigo Montoya test.

“Rational” doesn’t mean what you think it means.

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