Friday, June 3, 2011

Same Sex Marriage a Societal Experiment

The Essential Public Purpose of Marriage - by Jennifer Roback Morse
h/t Mercator Net

Same sex marriage redefines parenthood, as a side effect of redefining marriage. Up until now, marriage has made legal parenthood track biological parenthood, with adoption for exceptional situations. The legal presumption of paternity means that children born to a married woman are presumed to be the children of her husband. With this legal rule, and the social practice of sexual exclusivity, marriage attaches children to their biological parents.
Same sex couples of course, do not procreate together. What is being called “Marriage Equality” requires a dubious move from “presumption of paternity” to the gender neutral “presumption of parentage.” This sleight of hand transforms the legal understanding of parenthood. The same sex partner of a biological parent is never the other biological parent. Rather than attaching children to their biological parents, same sex marriage is the vehicle that separates children from a parent.

But biology will reassert itself. And in fact, in some cases, biology already is reasserting itself. Some women who have children with female partners find that sharing the care of their children with another woman is not as easy as they thought it would be, and really isn’t comparable with sharing the care with the child’s father. Some men who agree to be sperm donors as “friends” find that they want more of a relationship with their own children than they had anticipated.[8] And some children are having feelings about their absent parents, uncomfortable questions about their origins, and complex emotions about being partially purchased.[9]

Advocates of so called marriage equality typically respond, “That’s just biology,” as if biology were nothing. They are asking people to set aside the natural attachment of parents to their own children, the natural difficulties of treating another person’s child as if they were your own, the natural desires of children to know who they are and where they came from. Suppressing all these feelings in all these people will not be possible indefinitely.

Let us be clear: the alternative to the biological principle for determining parentage is the principle that the government decides who is a parent. Instead of simply recording parentage, the state will determine parentage, not in exceptional cases, but routinely. This is what “getting the state out of the marriage business” will eventually come to mean.

These are not insignificant changes. Please note that these concerns do not assert that anyone is unworthy of marriage, do not make anyone a “second class citizen,” and do not disparage anyone. Changing the law of marriage changes the law for everyone, and puts incentives into place that may affect the behavior of everyone. Redefining marriage is a radical social experiment.

Previous generations of social experimenters have caused unimaginable misery for millions of people. Particular people advocated the policies that led to today’s 50% divorce rate and 40% out of wedlock childbearing rate. None of these people has ever been held accountable.

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

if you haven't yet, read jennifer's piece on this at the national catholic register: