October 22, 2014 – Beyond the Expansion Framework: How Same Sex Marriage Changes the Institutional Meaning of Marriage and Heterosexual Men’s Conception of Marriage

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This article critically argues that “same sex marriage” does not expand the benefits of traditional marriage to everyone; rather, it fundamentally changes the meaning of marriage by making gender (sex) optional. In so doing, the already tenuous connection between sexuality, marriage, and procreation is further weakened. In particular, the argument is made that marriage always served as the institution in which adult masculinity develops in a child centered and self sacrificing way. But removing gender, making it irrelevant to the central meaning of marriage, will result in men recognizing that they are not needed and being even less inclined to develop into sacrificial and devoted husbands and fathers. In this sense, “same sex marriage” appears to be a self-fulfilling prophecy: by proclaiming that gender does not matter, male masculinity at the service of women, children, and the common good will become rarer and rarer and cease to matter in the lives of most women and children.

Although the precise ways in which changing the definition of marriage to exclude gender will impact the future are unknown and virtually impossible to predict, the following consequences are likely and follow perfectly from the logic of “same sex marriage”: (1) fewer and less stable marriages; (2) less parenting by fathers; (3) more conception outside of marriage; and (4) less self-sacrificing by fathers. None of these consequences can said to be good for society, and least of all, for children.

 

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