Originally posted by MBM:
How does gay marriage threaten heterosexual marriage, much less move to "disregard" it?
My fault, MBM, my usage error must have confused you. I meant to say, "its central features are so basic and universal to it, to disregard THEM is problematic." I meant them, as in the central features, not "it," as in marriage itself. Allowing same-sex marriage disregards the central male-female feature that characterizes human marriage. I didn't mean that it "disregards" marriage itself. My mistake.
But as to the rest of your point, any change in a societal institution has some effect on society, at least temporarily. Inflation went through the roof as families increasingly started bringing in two paychecks. America is still going through fits and starts as we continue to struggle for racial equality. And in those cases, none of the affected institutions were really basic to human society. The more basic the institution, the less clear we are on the effects that basic changes would have. It's not 10% of the population we're talking about. If same-sex unions are allowed, that's 100% of the population. Anyone can marry anyone else. Who knows what effect that will have 100 years from now on the public's perception of marriage. Marriage could become a tool for all kinds of other things. It could become socially acceptable for straight men to marry each other, to keep "that bitch from getting my money." Or to place a cap on how much child support the judge might mandate. Or for some business arrangement. Maybe not, but the point is, all kinds of consequences -- things we can't even imagine right now -- could result from a monumental change to the basic structure of a bedrock social institution. We don't know why marriage was invented. We don't know, as I told Kresge, why even the ancient Greeks didn't have same-sex marriages. But they undoubtedly had a reason. All I'm saying is that until we become enlightened enough to understand what the male-female feature of marriage means to human society, the least we can do is be wise enough to understand that it most likely means something very important and basic that we risk losing if we change it too much.