Is the Male/Female Sexual Difference Key to Understanding Marriage?

Is the male/female sexual difference key to understanding marriage?

Not so long ago, that question would have been greeted with confusion. After all, it was questioning the obvious; kind of like asking if gravity is key to keeping us from flying off into space. But times have changed, and today the question is more likely to be greeted with cries of “bigot” and claims about “homophobia.”

Perhaps the real question should be, are we deluding ourselves?

Is the claim that two men together or two women together is the same as the bonding between a man and woman flat-out delusional? Are we using social bullying and name-calling to force people to accede to a lie?

The question is not whether homosexuals are human beings (they are) or whether or not they should be subjected to unjust discrimination (they should not) but whether or not same sex bonding should be treated identically under the law as the bonds that form between a man and woman. The corresponding questions are (1) What would this change in the law do to society, and (2) Is the whole push for “marriage equality” based on a delusion?

Are two men or two women the same as a man and a woman? Do their unions rise to the level of a basic unit for building a society and do they require the same level of legal protection in order to maintain a stable society?

More to the point, is it an elaborate delusion, a hoax, to claim that two men or two women together are the same as a man and woman?

Do the sexual differences between men and women amount to anything real and foundational in human existence, or are they just fashionable social constructs with no basis in the human psyche or biological reality?

A team of professors from Princeton University has taken the position that sexual differences do matter in the marriage debate, that they are essential to understanding marriage. They have written a book, What is Marriage?: Man and Woman: A Defense that I plan to order and read.

A CNA article describing their work and ideas says in part:

Washington D.C., Jan 10, 2013 / 02:13 am (CNA).- Defending the sexual complementarity between men and women in marriage is an essential first step in building up a healthy “culture of marriage” as a whole, say the authors of a new book.

“I really do believe that this is a reasonable debate among reasonable people of good will,” said
Prof. Robert George of Princeton University.

George spoke Dec. 19 at the Catholic Information Center in Washington, D.C. Joining him at the promotional event for their book, “What is Marriage,” were co-authors Sherif Girgis and Ryan Anderson.

The speakers explained that while attempts to redefine marriage are based on an understanding of the union as primarily emotional, this is neither the historical nor contemporary definition of the marital union.

Girgis, who is both a second-year Ph.D. student at Princeton and a first-year law student at Yale, observed that marriage, historically and philosophically understood, is a conjugal, comprehensive union on multiple levels.

In marriage, there is a “union of heart and mind but also of the body,” he said, explaining that the physical realities of husband and wife are integral to the conjugal nature of marriage.

It is this bodily union that makes procreation possible and distinguishes marriage from friendships and other human relationships, Girgis explained.

Changing marriage from this definition would be harmful to society, and should therefore be avoided, warned Anderson, a fellow at the Heritage Foundation.

He stressed that “being for marriage does not mean anti-gay” and said that marriage defenders “should be at the forefront” of efforts to oppose bullying and discrimination against those who are same-sex attracted.

However, he continued, supporters of marriage should not allow their position to be called “bigotry,” and they must explain that their position is not unjustly discriminatory.

Instead, he maintained, supporters of traditional marriage should affirm that there is “(n)othing more important for the future of the nation” than a “healthy marriage culture,” particularly for the benefit of children. (Read more here.)


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