Next time can we celebrate it without mixing tenses so much?

Well, here’s a troubling little video, made by the (I would suggest rather inaccurately named) Coalition For Marriage. Have a look and see if you can work out exactly why they are arguing that marriage should not be redefined.

As far as I can see, their argument boils down to either:

1. Marriage is all about making babies.

or:

2. Marriage is all about bringing up babies.

…though it is not clear which.

If it is the first then their stance is very problematic for reasons that are already well rehearsed – where does it leave couples who can’t have babies and couples who don’t want babies? Where indeed does it leave my parents, who took steps some time ago to ensure that babies were no longer a possibility? Have they essentially relinquished their marital duties and re-entered singledom?

The second argument has more going for it (though it still leaves childless couples in an odd situation) – a stable, committed family unit in which children can be brought up is desirable for many reasons. Which is an excellent argument in favour of redefining marriage, given the number of same-sex couples now adopting children.

I’m assuming that’s not the conclusion I was supposed to reach. But even the stated conclusion, ‘let’s celebrate marriage’, seems perfectly compatible with the redefinition of marriage, given that it would be a struggle to find a same-sex couple desperate to marry in order to not celebrate it.

The video perfectly sums up the paucity of reason in arguments from people absolutely unable to contemplate the redefinition of marriage. As the video’s reference to ‘ancient and organic’ origins shows, the standpoint is grounded in the completely flawed assumption that marriage as we understand it is as old as Adam and Eve (or, if you prefer, the dinosaurs), rather than a hybrid of pre-Christian traditions that didn’t even involve a Priest until the 12th century and has been regularly redefined since. Looking for ancient and organic? Try polygamy, there’s plenty of that in the Old Testament.

The reason the video is troubling is that, being presented as simple logic (even though it is nothing of the sort), it exists entirely so that people with no intention of changing their views can nod sagely and say ‘you see, it’s perfectly logical and straightforward, marriage is between a man and a woman’. And whilst it hardly ranks as YouTube’s most popular video, the number of people who have hit the ‘like’ button suggests that there are plenty of people doing just that.

There are far better informed and logical arguments out there for people willing to think, not least this one.

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