SOCIETY: by Lucy SullivanNews Weekly
Same-sex relationships are simply not marriage
, June 23, 2012
Marriage is a contract sealed by a rite. Every human society investigated by anthropologists has been found to possess an equivalent to our institution of marriage, that is, a contract that pre-emptively regulates and subsequently acknowledges the genetic relationship of heterosexual couples to their children.
As a record reaching back into the past of prior marriages and into the future of marriages yet to be, it simplifies the networks of genetic relationship and family responsibilities by imposing stability on heterosexual coupling. As should be clear to us all after the experiments of the last several decades, marriage as it stood before the advent of divorce on demand is in the best interests of children, in that it nurtures them in a secure emotional and economic environment.
Anthropologists have seen no difficulty in applying our word “marriage” to parallel institutions in other societies. The details of the eligibility for the contract may differ from society to society, but in every case the key factor is the formal linking of two individuals of opposite sex each to each with the expectation of having children. (Failure to have children in many societies legitimates dissolution of the marriage.)
The ritual and contract of marriage have no purchase for members of the same sex on the grounds on which they claim them, namely to publicly ratify their mutual love and commitment, for marriage is not primarily an institution to secure a relationship of love or affection (although in arranged marriages it seems this commonly develops later). Although in recent times it has become something of an axiom that falling in love should determine the choice of a marriage partner, this is an ancillary, not a defining attribute of marriage as a social institution.
Same-sex couples are frivolous in claiming for themselves incorporation into this universal human institution to whose raison d’être they cannot conform. A same-sex relationship cannot be a “marriage” in the true sense of the word because there can be no joint issue.
If, unlike previous generations of same-sex couples, they require legal support and mediation in matters relating to the shared living consequent on their long-term commitment, well, like opposite-sex unmarried (de facto) couples with or without children, they already enjoy all the legal rights of married couples with children — recognition of shared property ownership in case of separation, inheritance rights, shared rights in superannuation, and employment-related shared benefits.
The biological reality is that same-sex couples cannot have the marriage “equality” they demand. Their “sexual” relationship cannot produce a child. Claiming a name and an institution will not alter this. Thus it is self-deluding of homosexuals to pretend that their love and sexual congress have the same social significance as that of heterosexuals who marry, for their relationship can have no generational consequences.
And it is mean-spirited of the various homosexual lobbies to seek, by annihilating the unique meaning of the word “marriage”, to take from heterosexual couples acknowledgement of their foundational contribution to society, on which same-sex couples continue to be dependent both in the present and for the future.
Dr Lucy Sullivan has written widely on literature, cultural matters, family, taxation and poverty, and is completing a book, False Promises: Sixties Philosophy Against the Church: A Sociological Memoir With Statistics, 1900-1995.