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marriage for all

By Diogenes (articles ) | Apr 08, 2009

In every nation, in every epoch, homosexuals have been free to marry. In every nation, in every epoch, homosexuals been free to marry other homosexuals. Homosexuals have been prohibited, exactly as heterosexuals have been prohibited, from marrying persons of the same sex. There was no question of discrimination on the basis of orientation because the appetites of the consenting parties (as is the case in every contractual obligation) were beside the point. Until now.

Partisans of same-sex marriage pretend that marriage is a good they wish to extend to those it has been arbitrarily denied: hence campaigns named "Marriage for All" or "Marriage Equality." But the publicly dispensable good (the kind a marriage license gives you) has always been available. What they resent is the moral value accorded marriage -- an honor markedly weaker today than in the past, yet still potent enough to cause gnashing of teeth among the innovators. That honor is what they want to abolish.

Imagine that the attitudes of a century ago -- when marriage was accorded the power to ennoble sexual relations -- could be beamed forward into the present. And imagine today's parents of a young man betrothed to another young man, urging him to remain a virgin until his wedding so as to preserve intact his and his fiancé's purity. Or imagine a same-sex couple, piously abstaining from fellatio or rimming during the season of Lent, only to resume it with prayerful joy on Easter morning. Simply to raise these possibilities is to see how grotesque they are. The decision to countenance same-sex unions is not to shift sodomy in one's books from the "immoral" to the "moral" column, it is to dispense with the category of sexual morality full stop. It is to rip up one's passport and renounce one's citizenship in the commonwealth of sexual morality.

Gay activists taunt the rest of us that conventional man-woman marriage is in a shambles today, and they're right. But their proposed innovation, as they really understand and rarely admit, is a choice for moral anarchy. Within their world there is no question of calling one act pure and another act impure, because the notion of purity has to be put to death before their project is embarked on. Chastity cannot be ennobling because to embrace same-sex congress is to debunk nobility. Even the photos from the Pride parades display a kind of sack-dance gloating over the dethronement of the concepts of purity and sexual integrity; it's a burlesque of those values that marriage -- real marriage -- was ordained to uphold.

Same-sex marriage is a war on honor. And it appears to be winning.

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