Home > Uncategorized > Beyond equality: the deeper case for allowing same-sex couples to marry – ABC Religion & Ethics – Opinion

Beyond equality: the deeper case for allowing same-sex couples to marry – ABC Religion & Ethics – Opinion

Proponents dwell on human rights principles such as legal equality without, like their opponents, asking what marriage is for and if same-sex couples fulfil its purpose. They focus on the benefits of equality for gay and lesbian Australians without sufficiently advocating the wider benefits for children, religion, society and marriage itself…

When figuring out what marriage is for, the Marriage Act is the obvious place to start…

It does not require marrying partners to be able or willing to conceive children…

Again, there are cultural associations between marriage and religion that cannot be ignored. But as with parenting, these associations are reasons for allowing same-sex marriage not against it.

There is an increasing number of Christian denominations and congregations that celebrate same-sex marriages as a religious rite. They are discriminated against, and their freedom of religion violated, as long as the law says these marriages have no legal status compared to the heterosexual marriages celebrated by other churches…

What the Marriage Act does require is a public undertaking of mutual fidelity. Are same-sex couples, particularly male couples, capable of upholding this vow? The assumption they are not is very common, but it is also false…

Worst of all, they are condemning marriage itself to ever greater irrelevancy. Perhaps the most important wider benefit of allowing same-sex couples to marry is that it will strengthen the institution of marriage by ensuring it keeps pace with society’s growing acceptance of same-sex relationships.

If marriage today was the same institution it was a century ago when married women had no rights, racial marriages were banned, and inter-faith marriages frowned upon, no-one would want to marry. The same problem will emerge the longer opponents of marriage equality are allowed to hijack what should be a symbol of love and inclusion, and make it, instead, a vehicle for their increasingly outdated prejudices.

In short, the threat to marriage comes not from the same-sex partners who seek to uphold its values but from those who would fossilise the institution in a bygone era by pointedly excluding these couples.

As we’ve seen, civil marriage in contemporary Australia is not fundamentally about procreation or religion. Most Australians, I think, accept that the primary purpose of marriage is to legally entitle and socially acknowledge committed, enduring, romantic relationships…

Marriage is one of our most ancient, central and ubiquitous institutions. As a result, what we are as a society is reflected directly in what marriage means.

[Painfully haughty near the end, but the basic point is the evolution of marriage:  Disconnect it from pregnancy. -JR]

via Beyond equality: the deeper case for allowing same-sex couples to marry – ABC Religion & Ethics – Opinion.

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