Gay Marriage...And Then What?

Edmonton - Thursday, August 14, 2003 - by: Ron Thornton


There are those who claim that expanding the definition or, to be more correct, to simply redefine marriage to mean the union of two persons, regardless as to gender, as something progressive and somehow promoting equality. Of course, those people are wrong. Though I am tolerant and understand how homosexuals would desire, and even should have the opportunity, to legalise such a union, the redefining of such a basic institution as marriage to accommodate them would have long reaching ramifications for our society.




There are those who cite the number of heterosexual relationships that have not been sanctioned by either the state or the church, or the divorce rate among those who have been so united, as a reason to give up on the whole concept of marriage. It rings with the same logic as giving up on health care just because a few folks get sick, or allowing everyone to pee in the pool just because there are a few social swine who do.


Some believe that allowing gays to marry under the same definition that has always been reserved for different sex unions would not put the institution at risk for challenge by those who would wish to have polygamy also included within the definition. Again, they are wrong. In fact, polygamists have a much stronger claim for inclusion than gays, as within some cultures and religions throughout history such unions were and, in some cases, continue to be recognized. For example, the practice of one woman marrying multiple husbands takes place in rural regions of India, Nepal, and China, as well as being an accepted norm in a few African societies. Polygyny, where one man married multiple wives, has gone on for thousands of years among the ancient Israelites, Islam, the Christian Mormons of the 19th century United States and even today among those who consider themselves "fundamentalists."



a family

The reason for marriage was to provide the firm foundation for men and women to come together in order to commit themselves to the raising of the next generation. That was the ideal. This was even the case among those who practiced polygamy. The fact that some desire this solely for companionship, be it for a short or long term basis, does not erode the ideals for which the institution was established. Our own life choices, both as individuals and as a society, are to be blamed for that, not the institution itself.




There are those who state that gay relationships are natural, and direct our attention to the animal kingdom for proof. Unfortunately for them, they are wrong. I've never seen two animals of the same gender, outside of humans, who go through a mating ritual, never mind sending flowers. What I have seen are critters seeking relief through whatever method available to animals with hooves or paws. Rather than a committed relationship, what we do see is that some animals will do whatever to whatever, or whomever, in order to seek that satisfaction. Natural, maybe. Grounds for matrimony, probably not.


Then again, maybe we should simply cease determining what the correct course might be according to any moral principle. For example, while incestuous relationships are banned everywhere, history gives us the Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt, where brother-sister marriages were quite common amongst the royals. The famous Queen Cleopatra would not have enjoyed very large family reunions, even if she had not been busy killing off two of her brother-husbands. Though we might argue that such a marriage could upset the genetics of the population through inbreeding, such an argument would not hold in adult homosexual incestuous relationships. In fact, It would seem a logical progression.

to come

The teaching in our schools that a homosexual union is as equal and as desirable as heterosexual marriage is just one more Supreme Court ruling away, and that is just at the top of this Pandora's Box we seem intent on opening. Those who believe this is an insulated issue, without the potential for wholesale societal ramifications, are either terribly naive or quite dishonest. If that were not the case, I honestly would have no problems with letting homosexuals marry, if that is their desire. Two people who love each other and are willing to commit themselves to a life long union is a wonderful thing. I think the world would be a much better place if more of us were so dedicated and responsible. However, such a change in the definition of marriage would not just end there; its impact would be immeasurable in a negative sense. A more creative solution is required.

basis of

Thirty-five years ago, then Justice Minister Pierre Trudeau said that "the state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation." I might agree with that, but it becomes my business when some emerge from those bedrooms to state demands that threaten to completely undermine this most important building block of that nation's society. There are always consequences to all of our actions, even those made with the best of intentions. It is my hope that our Members of Parliament take this into consideration as they make their decisions.


Ron Thornton




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