This comment — in response to this post at AoSHQ: Is Monogamy Unnatural, Evolutionarily, Secularly Speaking? — is the best answer and explanation I have seen to the typical question from the redefine marriage crowd of “how would a ‘homosexual marriage’ affect your marriage?”
Andrew Sullivan, who vowed that gay marriage would not change conventional marriage one iota and who further vowed that gay marriage would have the salutary effect of reducing and restraining gay male promiscuity, is championing the book, declaring, again, that heterosexual breeders really need to get over their hang-ups about having multiple partners and embrace polyamory.
Thanks for pointing this out, Ace. This is what same-sex marriage opponents are talking about when they say that state recognition of SSM will weaken marriage. Proponents of SSM often (mockingly) ask “how will my marriage do anything to yours?” The question is meant rhetorically, but Milky Loads has unwittingly supplied the answer.
SSM applies the “marriage” label to a significantly large set of relationships between people who have little interest in temporary monogamy, much less lifelong monogamy. The more people who enter into “marriage” without insisting on monogamy, the less we as a culture will understand “marriage” to involve monogamy. “Marriage” then becomes just a basket of rights, like survivor benefits or visiting your spouse in the hospital. It loses the ancient, normal, and overwhelming understanding of marriage as involving monogamy, and reduces it to a partnership based on legal rights and obligations.
That’s what the unmarried are going to understand: that marriage is about getting to visit the person you love in the hospital, and automatically inheriting her shit when she dies. It isn’t about sexual exclusivity, and the related guarantee that all children born of or fathered by each partner belongs equally to the other partner. It’s about a mutual agreement for benefits, like any other contract. If that’s what everyone understands, then the institution of marriage is weaker for it.
Posted by: Masturbatin’ Pete at August 31, 2010 12:45 PM
Some other interesting points made in the thread:
To elaborate on the Scientific American guy’s comments:
The problem lies in assuming that what you have an evolutionary inclination to do is actually what you would have done thousands of years ago, before current religions, laws, and traditions.
Tossing aside all the civilizations besides Christianity where the population at large (not including the nobility) were monogamous, which everybody with the most basic understanding of history should know about — there’s this idea going back to Rousseau that there was an ancient past where everybody acted freely according to their inclinations and was happy. Bullshit.
Many people did have an inclination to cheat. They also had an inclination to steal. They had an inclination to lie. They had an inclination to kill. Your inclination does not equal how you would have acted thousands of years ago (at least without facing serious or even more severe repercussions than you do now).
As this guy points out, just as you might have an inclination to cheat, your wife has it built in her to stop you. These don’t both win out. Nature is not just what your inclined to do. Nature subverts what you’re inclined to do. I may have an inclination to lie, but somebody has an inclination to stop me from lying — you will have the urge to do many things, but the more damaging urge (to your family, friends, and future generations) will eventually lose.
Posted by: AD at August 31, 2010 12:50 PM
Biologically, the goal of a male is to further his genes by having many children.
Biologically, the goal of the female is to make sure her child is given the best care possible — this usually means that it is beneficial to have the father around.
From a biological standpoint, there is a conflict here, since a man cannot protect dozens of children by dozens of women.
So… society came up with a plan. I think it works well.
Posted by: shibumi at August 31, 2010 02:08 PM
Yep. Me too.
So those people who are falling for the plan of the GLBT movement and are now advocating for the government to get out of ‘the marriage business’ altogether, I believe they are wrong. Marriage (one man-one woman) has a purpose in civil society and government has a vested interest in promoting marriage and not redefining it on the whims of pop culture.