The Institution Formerly Known As Marriage

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D. of the Ruth Institute has written a great article that gets right to the heart of the issue of redefining marriage:

The Institution Formerly Known As Marriage
by Jennifer Roback Morse
April 24, 2009

The Iowa court’s recent decision does not simply broaden marriage, it radically changes its nature. While marriage previously served public purposes of attaching mothers and fathers to their children and one another, now marriage merely serves as affirmation of adult feelings.

The Iowa Supreme Court recently proved that the critics of same-sex “marriage” are correct: we are not being urged to make marriage more inclusive, but to radically redefine the nature of marriage itself. With its decision, the Iowa Supreme Court covertly but profoundly changed the meaning of marriage. The Court abolished the essential public purpose of marriage, and replaced it with a new understanding of marriage that is neither essential nor public. The Institution Formerly Known as Marriage will be an empty shell in Iowa. As the movement to redefine marriage spreads across the country, citizens should look to Iowa to see what this actually entails.

The essential purpose of marriage is to attach mothers and fathers to their children and to one another. Absent this purpose, we would not need marriage as a distinct social institution. Human beings are not born as rational autonomous actors, they are the immature products of sexual relations between a man and a woman, and they need the assistance of adults to survive. Marriage exists, in all times and places, to solve this social problem. If our offspring were born as adults, ready to live independently, or if we reproduced through some form of asexual process, we would not need anything like marriage.

Marriage also has a profoundly social purpose. Marriage creates its own small society consisting of mother, father, and children. That small social unit contributes to the larger society by creating a functioning future—the next generation. Everyone benefits from having a next generation that can sustain the society and keep its institutions going. Even when I personally am old, and even if I have not had any children myself, I benefit from the fact that younger people are building cars and houses, providing medical and legal care, starting new businesses, and running old ones. In modern developed countries, the family also saves the state a lot of money by taking care of its own dependent young, rather than foisting that responsibility onto the taxpayers. Thus, the benefits of marriage go far beyond the benefits to the individual members of the family.

[Read the entire article]

1 comments:

Secular Heretic said...

The Iowa courts have certainly made a bad decision. Marriage is between a man and a woman. Any other arrangement is not a marriage.

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