Gay marriage has gone from unthinkable to reality in the blink of an eye. A recent Washington Post/ABC News poll shows that support for gay marriage is now at 61 percent—the highest it’s ever been. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case that many court-watchers believe will deliver the final blow to those seeking to prevent the redefinition of marriage. By all measures, this fight is over. Gay marriage won.
As a 30-year-old gay man, one would expect me to be ecstatic. After all, I’m at that age where people tend to settle down and get married. And there is nothing in this world I want more than to be a father and raise a family. Yet I can’t seem to bring myself to celebrate the triumph of same-sex marriage. Deep down, I know that every American, gay or straight, has suffered a great loss because of this.
I’m not alone in thinking this. The big secret in the LGBT community is that there are a significant number of gays and lesbians who oppose same-sex marriage, and an even larger number who are ambivalent. You don’t hear us speak out because gay rights activists (most of whom are straight) have a history of viciously stamping out any trace of individualism within the gay community. I asked to publish this article under a pseudonym, not because I fear harassment from Christian conservatives, but because I know this article will make me a target of the Gaystapo.
Marriage Is More than a Contract
The wheels of my Pride Parade float came off the moment I realized that the argument in support of gay marriage is predicated on one audaciously bald-faced lie: the lie that same-sex relationships are inherently equal to heterosexual relationships. It only takes a moment of objective thought to realize that the union of two men or two women is a drastically different arrangement than the union of a man and a woman. It’s about time we realize this very basic truth and stop pretending that all relationships are created equal.
This inherent inequality is often overlooked by same-sex marriage advocates because they lack a fundamental understanding of what marriage actually is. It seems as though most people view marriage as little more than a love contract. Two people fall in love, agree to stick together (for a while, at least), then sign on the dotted line. If marriage is just a love contract, then surely same-sex couples should be allowed to participate in this institution. After all, two men or two women are capable of loving each other just as well as a man and a woman.
But this vapid understanding of marriage leaves many questions unanswered. If marriage is little more than a love contract, why do we need government to get involved? Why was government invited to regulate marriages but not other interpersonal relationships, like friendships? Why does every religion hold marriage to be a sacred and divine institution? Surely marriage must be more than just a love contract.
Government Is Involved in Marriage Because It Creates Babies
People have forgotten that the defining feature of marriage, the thing that makes marriage marriage, is the sexual complementarity of the people involved. Marriage is often correctly viewed as an institution deeply rooted in religious tradition. But people sometimes forget that marriage is also based in science. When a heterosexual couple has sex, a biological reaction can occur that results in a new human life.
Government got into the marriage business to ensure that these new lives are created in a responsible manner. This capacity for creating new life is what makes marriage special. No matter how much we try, same-sex couples will never be able to create a new life. If you find that level of inequality offensive, take it up with Mother Nature. Redefining marriage to include same-sex couples relegates this once noble institution to nothing more than a lousy love contract. This harms all of society by turning marriage, the bedrock of society, into a meaningless anachronism.
A Good Dad Puts Kids First
Same-sex relationships not only lack the ability to create children, but I believe they are also suboptimal environments for raising children. On a personal level, this was an agonizing realization for me to come to. I have always wanted to be a father. I would give just about anything for the chance to have kids. But the first rule of fatherhood is that a good dad will put the needs of his children before his own—and every child needs a mom and a dad. Period. I could never forgive myself for ripping a child away from his mother so I could selfishly live out my dreams.
Same-sex relationships, by design, require children to be removed from one or more of their biological parents and raised absent a father or mother. This hardly seems fair. So much of what we do as a society prioritizes the needs of adults over the needs of children. Social Security and Medicare rob the young to pay the old. The Affordable Care Act requires young and healthy people to buy insurance to subsidize the cost for the old and sick. Our schools seem more concerned with keeping the teachers unions happy than they are educating our children. Haven’t children suffered enough to make adults’ lives more convenient? For once, it would be nice to see our society put the needs of children first. Let’s raise them in homes where they can enjoy having both a mom and a dad. We owe them that.
At its core, the institution of marriage is all about creating and sustaining families. Over thousands of years of human civilization, the brightest minds have been unable to come up with a successful alternative. Yet in our hubris we assume we know better. Americans need to realize that same-sex relationships will never be equal to traditional marriages. You know what? I’m okay with that.