Wednesday, December 14, 2005

In defense of marriage

Matt over at It's Matt's World applauds John Bambenek for bringing up the question of same-sex marriage in his latest Daily Illini editorial. John basically says our society needs to have a discussion about what the role of marriage should be in our society. I say we've gone and had that conversation while John was napping. Marriage is about a loving couple coming together and making a life together. The only question that our society is grappling with is about who gets to take part in that institution.

Conservative, including Bambenek, always like to trot out the "gays can't have kids, so they can't get married" argument. Bull. Nothing about heterosexual marriage requires children. Children are a happy consequence of sex and, historically, marriage has been the approved gateway to having sex. Yes, children and marriage have always been closely linked, but marriage has never existed because it provides for "well-adjusted and well-raised children," as John asserts.

A woman can spend about half her life out of her childbearing years. I don't want to hear any more conservatives saying how marriage is only important because chidren can come of it until they also start objecting to post-menopausal women getting married. There is no reproductive reason for a woman "of a certain age" to have sex. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Therefore, insofar that marriage is intended to provide for the healthy upbringing of children, there is zero reason for a woman past about-forty to be able to get married.

Bambenek's column generated several letters to the DI's editor, and he responded to some of them on his own blog (toot!). He again brings up the issue of children when he says

If someone chooses not to have children because of their life circumstances, they can change their mind in one cycle. No amount of mental wrangling will allow for gay couples to produce their own children.

Not only has John just spit in the eye of all the loving adoptive families out there, he's never heard of a sperm bank. All it takes these days for a lesbian to "produce her own children" is an intimate encounter with a turkey baster. There are thousands of gay couples, male and female, out there with their own children. But, for some reason, their lifelong committment to each other doesn't count. The argument goes: they're not really a "family" so they shouldn't be allowed to get married.

My roomate from my freshman year and his wife are in the process of adopting a baby from Guatamala. I'm not sure why, and I wouldn't dream of asking. There may be fertility issues; they may just be incredibly generous people. I just don't understand why they count as a family, but Matt and his husband don't.

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