Monday, May 16, 2005

SSM and "Traditional" Marriage

First of all, I loathe the term "traditional marriage", because it automatically calls into question the time-honoured definition of what "marriage" has always meant. People are welcome to debate why marriage should or shouldn't be expanded to include same sex couples, but don't start the debate by conceding the most relevant term of the debate. Anyway, I recently posted something similar to the below, and in case anyone happens over this way and wishes to discuss it further, please feel so inclined. Cheers!

Somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe Natural Law played a large role in the development of our laws related to moral issues. Natural law is in harmony with Catholic moral teaching, but it isn't necessarily religious in and of itself. Natural has been a sufficient basis for many of our laws in the past, and may continue to do so, with or without further religious arguments.

When it comes to marriage, all societies throughout history, no matter their religious views, have exalted and protected what is now being called 'traditional marriage', simply because the environment that children are produced in should be a protected one, for the sake of the children, and ultimately for the sake of societal stability. Our divorce-friendly culture has undermined marriage incredibly for several decades now - I doubt there would be the slightest desire to even consider SSM if marriage in general was healthy in society - I think this, in itself, says something about what SSM really represents. Fundamentally, SSM is a continuation of the separation between having children and being in a committed relationship. Society has no special interest in giving special status to relationships that don't (have the capacity to) produce children. With a fertile heterosexual marriage, there is always the possibility of procreation. Infertility in a marriage isn't as big an impediment as some make it sound because it's not always permanent, and couples often take steps to overcome infertility.

What about SS couples with children? The second reason to specially support hetero marriage is because of the opposite sex influence/role modelling that children receive from having one of each parent. Despite what trendy types say, there are inherent differences between the sexes, and they tend to be complementary. As a father of several children, I have seen my children grow, and despite any conscious effort on my part or my wife's, they react differently to each of us. These differences are part of the balance that each child deserves.

One last, less positive point - SS relationships are generally less stable than hetero (although the immorality of some heterosexuals have occasionally competed with them). If children become part of the equation, they are more likely to grow up in an unstable situation - a large part of the argument against gay adoption, as well. Male same sex relationships are particularly known for promiscuity (I think most any gay man would admit as much), many times moreso than the 'average' promiscuous heterosexual person. Even within many 'committed' gay male relationships, there is an understanding that there will be partners on the side. Children don't deserve this kind of environment, whether it's heterosexual or homosexual in nature.

As a small aside, I disagree with the CPC position on SS unions. I think our country, to have any real sense of what marriage is supposed to be, should roll back the clock on some of the laws that have eroded marriage these past years. Easy divorce (at least when children are involved) should go the way of the dinosaur; as well as the tendency to give hetero 'civil unions' many of the same privileges as marriages (if they don't want to commit, why treat them as though they have committed?).

I'm testing to see if these borrowed links for "Natural Law" work in here:


It looks like they should work fine.


Blogger Linda said...

Well said! Thanks for your kind comments on my blog -- I'm glad someone finally "discovered" me! (My ego constantly wars with my Catholic guilt - grin!) I'll be back to read some more when it's not after 1 a.m. -- trying to keep up with the posts on AC and elsewhere (not to mention posting to my baby blog) is a futile task today... Time zone advantage to Cyrano!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005 10:20:00 p.m.  
Blogger Mark Francis said...

'Rolling back' divorce to any degree would be irrelevant - as was the case until recently in Ireland where divorce was, until recently, illegal: couples just split anyway, lived separate, found new husbands and wives and had more children, making arrangements for shared child-rearing between them.

The point here isn't about law making something possible; it's about law catching up with what was happening anyway.

The law is incapable of defining interpersonal relationships.

'Natural law' is a farce, to be honest. It constantly fails to account for the fact that we have consciousness and opposable thumbs.

Arguments over whether SSM relationships are inherently less stable are subjective: SSM relationships have a hard time given the relatively hostile environment they must survive in.

If you really look at child rearing, we have left the true model long ago: tribal structure.

Sunday, May 29, 2005 5:57:00 p.m.  
Blogger Cyrano said...

Thanks, Mark.

There have been societies in the past that have accepted, and even promoted, homosexual relationships. It's worth asking why it is that these same societies have still elevated some sense of 'marriage' among heterosexuals exclusive from other types of relationships.

What point is there to law if it's only acknowledging that which already exists? The law is also a teacher; it teaches us that which we value as a society. If this wasn't the case, then when no-fault divorce became law, we shouldn't have seen any substantial change from before - instead, we've seen a steady slide, not only among those who marry, but also among many who even question if it's wise, possible for marriage to survive (there are just too many example where the law was changed, and society's behaviour radically changed as well for that argument to hold any merit). If our society cannot agree on a common set of principles other than majority rule, then our culture is already lost, and we're just killing time.

Could you expand on your views of natural law? Are you saying that whatever we can dream up, technologically or otherwise, should be permissible? That nature doesn't provide us any logical constraints within which we should be acting?

Sunday, May 29, 2005 7:48:00 p.m.  
Blogger Mark Francis said...

We are actually constrained only by the possible. Within that, we build our own contraints, be that through religion, natural law theories, ethical guidelines or whatnot.

My preferred moral structure is simply based upon what I think to be reasonable.

Your paragraph on 'law-as-teacher' and how it applies to divorce is a bit muddled to me.

That the law is a teacher is possible, though irrelevant when culture moves beyond what is written. A lot of law isn't clearly moral, it's just a lot of needed (or not) boundaries to keep this or that wheel from squeaking.

When a law that says 'smoking pot is wrong!' is routinely violated by 30-40% of the population, I would suggest that the law is wrong.

And, yes, sadly, if 50.1% of the population thought that having sex with horses was fine, you and I would have a fit about it, but if at the end of the day the majority wanted it, the law preventing it wouldn't survive.

This all leads to moral absolutism vs. moral relativity. As much as I have an absolute morality of my own, moral absolutism is a sham. The universe doesn't care about our morals. Religion is a construct just as morally relative as my own atheistic stance.

Back to SSM, the law, if left to not allow secular 'marriage' of SS relationships, would truly be an ass, and viewed that way by about 75% of Canadians. Following Harper's plan would leave us about evenly split. I'm not sure where the concept of the 'law as teacher' would come into play in all this.

My solution to all this? The state no longer marries people. It provides civil unions. Civil unions are not the business of any church. You want marriage, go to a church. Church officials can no longer officiate over civil 'marriage' contracts.

Ths state expresses the importance of the family through social policy and fair taxation in due consideration of the costs and sacrifices of raising children, through whatever means, be that with or without contracted child care.

Hetero couples are to be assumed to be formed for the purpose of having children. Thus, as per Egan v. Canada, some programs would be available to only hetero couples.

A note about common principles: in a _free_ and democractic society, the common denominator tends to be lower than what traditionalists would like.

About the only thing that I can squeeze out of natural law, in order of preference, is that we

1. want to exist
2. are social
3. wish to procreate

and I think that #3 isn't always there. I think it can be abandoned (ask any Catholic priest), or even substituted with developing a sense of immortality.

I really gotta go...

Sunday, May 29, 2005 10:22:00 p.m.  

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