Both sides of the same-sex marriage debate seem to beg the question. One side argues that we can’t have homosexual people marrying each other because it’ll destroy the country, while the other side argues that any combination of love and commitment should be available for validation in the eyes of the state as a marriage. But one of the most important questions to ever ask in reading and talking and in thinking is “what do you mean when you use that word?” I think we haven’t agreed on what marriage is, so when we talk about how it should look in our society, we talk past each other and get nowhere. Actually, nowhere would be an improvement. We talk past each other and get further divided into our little bands in the culture war. Now, I’m all for culture war, but I’d like to fight it with actual culture–not via proxy representatives, who most often turn out to be Bill O’Reilly and Jon Stewart.
Anyway, all that to say that this is a thoughtful look at what marriage is and I’d love to discuss it with someone: http://www.heritage.org/events/2013/01/what-is-marriage
The book’s worth the time, but there’s a video on that page that lays out their basic arguments and that’s what I think could start a good discussion. The speakers definitely have a position, but they’re arguing for it from natural law and history and anthropology and in the public square, as it were, so that we might begin to have a societal understanding of what marriage is, then form policy off that. All this in the spirit of Ben Franklin who saw clearly the cost of disunity: “We must indeed all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.”