Sunday, November 01, 2009

American Thinker: Why Marriage?

Rebecca Dalmas makes some points about marriage in her piece at American Thinker.

...while marriage is a social state and a lifestyle, and it is based on a philosophy of well-being, it is also based on innate biological forces.

Imagine that first public wedding ceremony in unwritten human history. Doubtless, men and women had wed before, yet at some point it became necessary to put the union on public display, to make the union common knowledge. Why? In our species, only women get pregnant. The mother has about nine months to establish her maternity. Yet after conception, there is no similar biological way for the father to establish his status as such. Similarly, there is no comparable way a woman can prove the identity of the father.

Consider the cases today of women suing for child support, of men pleading their cases for parental visitation, of mothers and fathers seeking an orderly way to establish custody and support arrangements for their children when they are no longer together. Like any law, the institution of marriage does two things: it provides consequences and it teaches. Marriage, as strange as it sounds, makes divorce possible; or in other words, marriage improves the enforcement of parental rights and responsibilities when a couple parts. Secondly, but just as essentially, it teaches the importance of commitment before sex. It teaches pain avoidance.
The raging debate over same-sex marriage passes over several essential points all too frequently. First, marriage is not about shaming individuals regarding homosexuality. In fact, marriage is not even about sexual orientation. Marriage is simply about managing the intrinsic forces of males and females making babies together. Marriage functions through legal consequences and social expectations. The problem with widening the expanse of marital functions is chiefly related to changing the social expectations that the institution of marriage produces.

Have we evolved as a society to the point where we are as safe and secure having sex outside of marriage as within it?

And that last question is actually a very good one.

If we didn't have marriage in our society, would we have to invent the institution? What would it be intended to achieve? What alternatives would accomplish the same ends?

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