You shouldn’t even bother reading the excerpts I’m pasting below, just click this: Marriage and the Presidency, by Ryan T. Anderson, Robert P. George, and Sherif Girgis and read the whole thing.
Here are the excerpts:
The Historic View
Marriage as a comprehensive union: Joining spouses in body as well as mind, it is begun by commitment and sealed by sexual intercourse. So completed in the acts by which new life is made, it is specially apt for and deepened by procreation, and calls for that broad sharing of domestic life uniquely fit for family life. Uniting spouses in these all-encompassing ways, it also calls for all-encompassing commitment: permanent and exclusive. Comprehensive union is valuable in itself, but its link to children’s welfare makes marriage a public good that the state should recognize, support, and in certain ways regulate. Call this the conjugal view of marriage.
The Revisionist View
Marriage as the union of two people who commit to romantic partnership and domestic life: essentially an emotional union, merely enhanced by whatever sexual activity partners find agreeable. Such committed romantic unions are seen as valuable while emotion lasts. The state recognizes them because it has an interest in their stability, and in the needs of spouses and any children they choose to rear. Call this the revisionist view of marriage.
President Obama has made it clear that he favors the second view. He hasn’t offered any arguments for it, merely pointing to his feelings and those of his children.
Now that the president has disclosed his view, he — like all revisionists — must confront some tough questions. And he, like they, will run into a problem. Something must set marriages as a class apart from other bonds. But on every point where most agree that marriage is different, the conjugal view has a coherent explanation — and the revisionist has none.
The president has now created a platform for this very discussion; and it is a discussion we look forward to having. For as Obama himself implied, this is not a dispute featuring “bigots” on one side, any more than it has “perverts” on the other. It is a debate of reasonable people of goodwill who disagree about the nature of the most basic unit of society. In saying that he supports letting states decide the definition of marriage for themselves, Obama indicated that this issue shouldn’t be settled by judicial fiat. On this, we agree. Our national conversation shouldn’t be brought to an undemocratically abrupt end. But as it continues, advocates on all sides must contend with, and answer, the central question in this debate, without which we can’t know the what or the why of legal recognition, much less what justice demands: What is marriage?
God help us.
So, if an elderly man and woman – both having lost their spouses – share time together, date and decide to get married, but because of advanced years and physical limitations they are conjugally limited, we’re to say their marriage is a fraud?
My wife and I have no children but have been married for over 20 years. Our deficiency in procreating should be seen as grounds to deny the validity of our marriage?
Of course not, and the authors address this kind of thing in their paper: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1722155
The National Review article addresses these points? I didn’t read the entire paper but I read the National Review article and took the thrust of the NR article to be that the authors – in their words – “argue that as a moral reality, marriage is the union of a man and a woman who make a permanent and exclusive commitment to each other of the type that is naturally fulfilled by bearing and rearing children together, and renewed by acts that constitute the behavioral part of the process of reproduction.”
The National Review article is a brief statement. Follow the link to the PDF of the full paper in my comment above, and they take account of the circumstance you’re in and the one you mention in your first comment.
Good to hear from you!
I thought Obama’s comment that a main reason he is for gay marriage is because his girls couldn’t understand why some of their friends’ parents couldn’t be married. Since when do we make decisions based on what our children can understand? It would be difficult to even make little children if adults limited their activities to what children can understand.
I appreciate how your post says the key is to defining marriage. Not surprisingly, this is the very thing that the pro gay marriage side will not engage. They will probably continue to ignore the question. This seems to be an extremely dangerous moment for our country. God help us indeed.
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