Friday, June 15, 2007

Public or private marriage?

Some people argue that marriage is a private matter between two consenting adults, so nobody else gets to say what it means for them, that it's ridiculous to suggest that someone allegedly perverting their own nuptial union harms anyone else's. Others--or often the same, since usually nobody makes any criticism against which this argument is leveled until the convention is challenged in the first place--say that they should be recognized and honored by the public because they want it to be so, and if their desire to be happy (or have power of attorney, or whatever) doesn't accommodate the traditional matrimonial configuration, then everyone else has to bow to their radical new vision.

It's kind of like saying "making an omelette is a private matter. If an omelette to me means no cheese, who are you to judge?" The question of the omelette isn't about me being judgmental. You can leave out the cheese and call it an omelette if you want, but all you've got are scrambled eggs, and no amount of desire or imagination or "Hey, who's to say what an omelette should be?" equivocating can make it otherwise.

In the words of c matt at Mark Shea's blog: "Marriage is for the begetting and raising of children. Society's interest in marriage is for the raising of its future citizens, hence it has a stake in marriage, and there really is no such thing as a private marriage. Marriage is inherently a public act."

Quite so. You want a marriage publicly recognized, you take the public stipulations. Yes, you're in a free country. You want to keep a private affair between two consenting adults? Do whatever you want (I may have some moral qualms, but it isn't my place to police your bedroom). You want to drive a car? Go ahead. You want to drive on public roads? Get licensed and stay between the curbs. Think you should drive on the sidewalks? Get new traffic laws passed and see how pedestrians react. Are they just being killjoys or bigots? Are they?

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