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What Is Marriage Anyway?

I am reading David Blankenhorn's book The Future of Marriage, a self bought Christmas present. It is a timely read in light of California's Proposition 8, that defines marriage as only between a man and a woman, constitutional challenge in federal court.

Articles are appearing in the media regarding this, including one by Edwin Meese, President Reagan's former Attorney General, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/11/opinion/11meese.html and one by Terry Jeffrey, a conservation columnist  http://townhall.com/columnists/TerryJeffrey/2010/01/13/do_three_people_have_a_right_to_marry_each_other.   Both of these articles support the traditional definition of marriage that Proposition 8 upholds.

The Future of Marriage is a worth reading if you are interested in understanding what in the world all the fuss is about as to why we have to have  statewide propositions or constitutional challenges on what marriage is.  The fuss is whether we get to define marriage any way we want to, to whatever particular individual preference we have, or whether marriage is a standard greater than our individual preferences that affirms the historical  basic organization of society, the family as a mother and a father for every child.  As Mr. Blankenhorn eloquently, gently, and completely without gay bashing presents; marriage is between a man and a women because every society in the last five thousand years has figured out it is best for our children to have both a father and a mother.  And because it is best for children it is best for that particular culture's ability to survive and thrive.

It is apparent, as Mr. Blankenhorn repeatedly points out, that those of us who are married  have done plenty on our own to punch holes in providing children with both a father and a mother in the same home.  We really don't need any more help hurting our children by being unable to live together and raise them together.  Many heterosexuals live by the premise that my life is my own and I can define it anyway I want and if my partner, spouse, or whom ever I am with, can no longer agree on how to define it together, then we can just move on.  It is all about me.

This is an age old battle between self will and a will or purpose that is greater than ourselves.  The legal battle over Proposition 8, or the battle that homosexuals are waging for acceptance in society via marriage, or any other battle that pits individuals ability to define standards any way that suits them over and against an external standard that is there because it is the best bet for our "pursuit of  (personal and individual) happiness",  is really a struggle over what is good for us.

What is good for us is learning to live for someone and something greater and other than ourselves.  The most destructive thing we can do to ourselves and to others is to live as if our life is our own.  We must learn to balance the freedom of individual choice with what is good for us individually and as a society.

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