12/14/12: Going off the anthropological cliff

David Cameron

British Prime Minister David Cameron

Today, the day of the Newtown, CT school shootings, Gil Bailie finds much to lament in British Prime Minister David Cameron’s support of same-sex marriage. “The consequences of going off this cliff are orders of magnitude greater than those associated with our fiscal irresponsibility,” he writes, and he would have us read (1) a letter from Rt. Rev. Philip A. Egan, Bishop of Portsmouth, and (2) an article by Brendan O’Neill in The Telegraph. There is remarkable overlap between their three viewpoints about this matter.



The Bishop, apparently unable to think of anything new and interesting to say about same-sex marriage, reminds us that it undermines the very nature, meaning, and purpose of marriage. He doesn’t explain how this happens, but he feels certain that it does.

The changes Cameron is proposing, he claims, are of “immense significance,” and will “smother the traditional Christian ethos of our society and in time strangle the religious freedom of the Catholic Church in Britain to conduct its mission.”



In other words, he doesn’t like the proposed changes.

Brendan O’Neill sees in gay marriage the triumph of selfishness, expressed in the notion that marriage is about “two people” and nothing more. “That’s it,” he writes. “It’s about you and your lover, nobody else.” And he really resents being called a dinosaur for holding this view.



Well, I hasten to point out that, in civil society, couples seeking to marry have never been required either to have children or to attempt to do so. Women who are past child-bearing age get married all the time, as do busy professionals who need intimacy, companionship, and love, but not 24-7-365 commitments to child care. So the bottom line is that marriage may or may not be about the raising and socializing of children, depending on a couple’s own private values and priorities. Gay marriage doesn’t change that one iota. Many gay couples, in fact, are crazy about kids and make wonderful parents. So what’s the beef?



Two adult individuals may marry for a variety of reasons, and it may be a matter of total indifference to them whether or not the Catholic Church approves. Considering the levels of church attendance in Britain, I wouldn’t imagine that too many Brits give a hoot.


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