Gay Marriage, con’td.:

by Yule Heibel on June 20, 2003

The radio commentary on the legalization of gay marriage here in Canada has me going crazy. There’s Pat O’Brien, a Liberal Party Member of Parliament, who yesterday told CBC Radio in most authoritative terms that marriage’s primary role is in ensuring procreation. People have gotten married for always, it seems, because of the need/ desire/ directive to have children. So, if your marriage can’t produce children, is it moot? That at least is the question, in rhetorical terms, that O’Brien’s stance prompts. O’Brien would insist that lack of children doesn’t constrain a heterosexual marriage, but since children are the primary reason for marriage, the point of departure if you will, it negates gay marriage.

This is a ridiculous position. First, homosexuals are already having having children, whether through adoption, or from prior hetero-marriages, or from artificial insemination. Second, the child issue in marriage has a rather barbaric history that we don’t necessarily want to perpetuate: marriage was the institution that allowed a man to have some kind of certainty — however illusional — over paternity. That’s all. Beyond that, it was a way of cementing a family’s power, making alliances, and building dynasties. Women — or let’s call them girls, since that’s all they often were, bartered off to comparatively middle-aged men — had little autonomy here. It was the introduction of love into the equation — good old chaos — that eventually changed marriage from its utilitarian and tribal-based purposes into the modern institution we now recognize.

Marriage is about love. Homosexual people love each other. Why not get married? In a world of consumerism and hype, anthing that gives a heads-up to love deserves support.

Then there is the position of the REAL Women of Canada, who amplify some of O’Brien’s dire worries. The latter tells us that we’ll be legalizing polygamy next (why? we’ve already legalized serial marriage), while the former warn us that pedophiles, who claim that their sexuality is a legit “orientation,” will next be allowed to get married to young children. (Wait, didn’t we already do that in ancient Rome when 12-year old girls got married to men one-and-one-half decades older?) O’Brien asked, “If you’re going to throw open the definition of marriage so you destroy it in essence, how do you know you can ever draw the line any place?” Like the pedophilia argument, this is a typical strategy used to intimidate people who are already used to thinking like sheep, grazing over the same patch of meadow year in, year out. It’s a strategy that leaves out history, that presumes untenable definitions or points of departure (O’Brien’s definition of marriage, if analyzed historically, turns out to be bogus), and that reduces the object in question (marriage) to an expression of sex. Oh yeah, those pedophiles who want to bugger young boys or girls are going to want to get married and see those boys and girls grow old, right. If marriage were just about sex, we wouldn’t need marriage. Sex, as our consumer world has abundantly shown, is available everywhere. Those protectors of the sanctity of marriage reduce it to the very thing they abhor, a simple exchange of bodily fluids, and that shows that their thinking is still back in ancient Rome. With pro-marriage warriors like that, watch out for the lions, little sheep.

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