What’s Not Said

In the March 2013 print issue of First Things , Rabbi Gilles Bernheim, Chief Rabbi of France, examines what’s not being said when gay marriage advocates advocate for gay marriage.

The notion, for instance, that “homosexuals are victims of discrimination” because they don’t have the right to marry whom they love ignores, Rabbi Bernheim says, the fact that people love each other doesn’t necessarily give them the right to marry.

More importantly, “The argument for marriage for all conceals a split between two existing visions of marriage. According to one worldview . . . marriage is not only the recognition of a loving attachment. It is the institution that articulates the union between man and woman as part of the succession of generations. It is the establishment of a family – that is, a social cell that creates a set of parent-child relations among its members. Beyond the common life of two individuals, it organizes the life of a community consisting of descendants and ancestors. So understood, marriage is a fundamental act in the construction and the stability of individuals as well as of society.”

According to the other view, marriage in this sense is “obsolete and rigid,” an institution with an “absurd legacy of a traditional and alienating society.” Rabbi Bernheim thinks it ironic that we are now seeing “those who reject marriage and prefer free unions demonstrat[ing] alongside activitists in favor of homosexual marriage.”

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