To what attribute the so wide acceptance of same-sex
marriage in today's Western World?
Well, without a doubt: to Selfishness.
There is a misunderstanding today, whether intentional
or historical, that marriage is strictly a religious
institution which was only later awarded the civil
entitlements it came to have (and, of course,
organized religions have a stake in keeping this
fiction going). But long before organized religions
sprouted up... marriage was a societal institution
which must have arisen out of the then valid
expectation that married couple would procreate the
next generation and bear the costs of its rearing.
[The intrusion of religion into it must have come
about as a result of the fact that all societies seek
the blessings of religion for whatever they wish to
prosper. And once religion gets into anything of value
to society it tends to use it as one more means of
justifying its own existence, of course.]
As a result of this once valid expectation, married
couples were originally automatically granted a number
of civil rights & privileges (tax breaks, exceptions
from having to participate in military or other sundry
civil activities) not ordinarily granted to the
unmarried members of the society. This was not an
entitlement for couples bunking together but a
sacrifice by the general society to compensate the
specific members of the society who were incurring all
by themselves the costs of actually rearing the next
generation. It was, and will always remain, an
equitable and just arrangement.
The problem is when one or the other side of this
arrangement (equation) throws it out of balance: If
society removed the rights & privileges now held by
married couples (and forced them to be the sole
bearers of the costs of rearing the next generation)
it would be just as unjust as were the parents of
society's children to suddenly refuse to rear them and
immediately upon their birth abandon them either to be
cared for by the state or to simply perish in the
street--or, I might add, were married couples to NOT
have children at all. Either one of these two
injustices would be unacceptable, and would
unquestionably do great damage to society.
Same-sex marriage, or the demand that (in spite of the
automatic expectation that such same-sex couples will
bear none of the costs of rearing the next generation)
they too are entitled to all of the civil rights &
privileges which are granted to those members of
society who ARE bearing the costs of rearing the next
generation... is unsustainable. A rich society may
keep the fraud going for a longer time than a poorer
one, of course, but it does not negate the fraud.
You might conclude from this that I oppose same-sex
marriage, but you'd be wrong: As far as I'm concerned
if the present religions (or new religions they've yet
to invent) give their blessing, people should be able
to marry their dogs for all I care. And the state
should not be able to prohibit those religions from
doing so. My only concern is that everyone get a fair
"everybody's equal before the law" deal.
Extending preferential benefits to childless couples
without granting those same benefits to childless
individuals is a self-evident and very costly fraud
perpetrated on those members of society who do not
marry and therefore never receive such entitlements.
Indeed there are even very real penalties for single
parents in some of today's societies!
There simply is no justification for couples without
children to be favored above singles without children
by any society in any way, shape, or form. And even
less so for childless couples to be favored above
At some point society must rebel and put a stop to
this unjust fraud either by modifying the definitions
of today's so-called "marriage" or by simply putting
an end to marriage altogether as the unlawful fraud it
obviously is against some members of society by
Same-sex "marriage" is the natural evolution of a "me"
society in which sacrifice for the sake of others (or
for, or of society in general) has pretty much gone by
Marriage was originally instituted as a necessary and
just sacrifice by society in general: At some point
society took note of the fact that it was only married
couples who were bearing the costs of raising the
future generation, and deemed this to be unfair:
Obviously, people who produced no children (whether
intentionally or not) were not paying their fair share
for enjoying the privileges of membership in society,
since the future generation was expected to provide
safety and sustenance for them too (as much as for the
parents who had made all the sacrifices for rearing
that future generation... and paid all the costs).
You can see why a society might wish to encourage
marriage as a stable platform upon which to base its
need for children rather than merely encouraging the
promiscuous procreation of children directly
(something which will not guarantee that children will
be born into a stable nurturing environment). And so
society instituted the traditional whatever benefits
of marriage as privileges & entitlements by which the
entire society might share in the costs of nurturing
the next generation. But in the absence of children I
just don't see the purpose of states pushing marriage
as a preferred lifestyle.
To the "me first" (and sometimes even "just me")
generations of today's societies (most members of whom
do not even seem to grasp in the least the real need
that exists for individual self-sacrifice at all), the
relief from duties & obligations, the rights,
privileges & entitlements which are accorded only to
the traditionally "married couples" AND NOT TO THEM
(tax breaks, inheritance rights, et al) are the ones
that seem totally & completely unfair (to them).
It's conceivable that one could justify this otherwise
incredibly selfish attitude by pointing out that there
are heterosexual couples enjoying the entitlements of
marriage without rearing any children--and this is a
just & valid comment. Which is why the automatic
assumption that "marring couples" WILL produce & rear
children is the one aspect of "marriage" that must be
immediately eliminated once & for all (if marriage is
to survive as an institution) because it is no longer
a valid assumption.
I am convinced that if tomorrow society were to remove
all the rights, privileges & entitlements associated
with "just marrying" (alone) the demand by same-sex
couples for "equality in marrying" (for themselves)
would vanish almost instantly.
There should be a distinction between designating
someone as having the rights of "closest family
member," and their automatically getting tax breaks
and other benefits just for marrying you.
This can be done now by uncoupling "religious
marriage" (or "just marrying"), which ought not to
carry any civil rights, privileges & entitlements at
all, uncoupling it from "civil marriages" (which
would). Then, if "civil marriage" couples also wish to
marry in religious ceremonies: that would be romantic,
pious, even virtuous of them, but it would not be
marrying just for a financial advantage; and the fraud
would be removed.
The distinction between purely religious and solely
"civil" marriages ought to be that while religious
marriages should be unconditionally open to all, civil
marriages must come with just & reasonable conditions,
the principal one of which having to do with the
rearing of children.
Of course, all sorts of sham marriages (same-sex, or
otherwise), pursuing benefits other than love, sex, or
companionship are not that unusual. And I agree that
in a world where sham heterosexual marriages are not
subject to continuing investigation & prosecution,
barring same-sex marriages is unconstitutional.
The solution lies in not automatically awarding "the
civil rights & privileges of marriage" to couples
getting married just because they are getting married
(because of the ancient and obviously now dead
assumption that all such marrying couples would
produce & rear children), and only award those civil
rights & privileges to couples once they ARE actually
rearing children (whether they be same-sex or
heterosexual couples, and even whether we are talking
about couples at all). It is the only fair thing to do.
All such "civil rights & privileges" (or most, if you
don't count those "rights & privileges" which do not
factor in the costs of rearing children, such as the
right to be present at a sick partner's bedside, to
make life/death decisions, etc.) should only come into
effect once the "civil partners" ARE rearing children.
And then should be terminated once those children are
no longer in need of assistance, and the "couples" are
on an equal footing with other childless individuals.
Yes, same-sex couples cannot procreate children (and
require either one or two additional persons to be
involved for there to be children). But the "civil
rights & privileges" ought to be granted to the person
or persons actually incurring the costs of rearing the
children, regardless of all other considerations.
There is no justification for granting preferential
tax breaks (et al) to childless persons who are simply
living together while denying those same entitlements
to childless persons who may be living outside of
marriage! It is clearly, by any definition, a self-
evidently unfair & unjust fraud. And one hell of a
justification for this unfairness would have to be
presented to me before I would withdraw this opinion.
Marriage as a societal (civil) institution is either
on its way out or already dead & done for, killed off
by society itself having elevating it to a fraud by
which more and more members of society are being
cheated out of their fair share.
Something more equitable needs to take its place:
Perhaps some sort of tiered "social partnerships"
involving clearly delineated rights & responsibilities
both given/taken according to what benefits they (the
child-rearing couples) return to society [and which
must never exceed the benefits awarded to individuals
also bearing the costs of rearing children--obviously
not couples--by themselves].
Therefore there ought not to be ANY automatic
entitlements at all granted to couples just for simply
"getting married" (whatever that may entail in the
future). This may require for all practical effects
the end of currently-understood marriages except where
parents (natural or adoptive) have entered into such a
"civil contract" for the sake of children (the new
Sometime in the perhaps not so distant future, all the
rights & privileges which were originally granted
automatically to couples just for getting married must
be abolished (and will be abolished)... to be replaced
by more equitable rights & privileges for only those
members of society (whether couples or individuals,
certainly, and whether they are married in a religious
ceremony or not) who are actually bearing the costs of
rearing the next generation. This is inevitable.
Marriage would then be returned to its original intent
in a modern world where its members have lost track of
what marriage was originally about.
S D Rodrian
SUNDRY OTHER S D Rodrian NOTES:
The Rules of Life
Rabbi Shmuley: How Jewish Values Enrich The Earth
An Open Letter To President Obama On The Trayvon Martin Affair.
Tricky Headlines / S D Rodrian
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