Hypothetical debate link:
A secular state would see marriage purely as a man-made institution, where it is pretty much a case of balancing it’s institutional concerns, to that of individual concerns.
eg. A secular state may define their own legal meaning of marriage as long as it doesn’t infringe on one’s own individual (or religious) definitions of marriage. Even if a particular religion or group advocates other marriage models outside of the traditional nuclear family model, (eg. homosexual marriages, polygamy, etc.), the secular state is not under any obligation to cater to all preferences from all individuals/religious groups anyway. Not catering doesn’t mean infringing either.
A common reply to this: Infertile/old-aged heterosexual couples are still deemed to have the potentiality to conceive children in so-far as (a certain definition of) natural law is concerned, since such a definition of natural law doesn’t concern itself with contingent parameters/circumstances (eg. age, birth control, barrenness) that might nullify the return outcome of a given function.
So ultimately, it depends entirely on whether state interest is interested in opening up marraiges to varying individuals’ preferences (a more liberal approach), rather than restricting marriages to simply a single type of function which the state is concenrned about as far as procreation potential is concerned.
Once other factors come into play, having both a biological mother and father component isn’t necessarily a silver bullet when it comes to rearing a family to determine it’s “success”. How do you determine/measure this success, anyway?
In some cases, perhaps non-(fully)-biological parents could sometimes take greater care over their foster/half-foster children compared to biological parents since they can’t simply just take their biological parentage status for granted. They might have considerably invested in adopting care for the child, knowing what they are getting themselves into, in terms of time/money/etc.)
Nevertheless, one needs to ask the children themselves that were born into a non-nuclear family settings, whether they regretted being in such a family without both biological parents, but were raised by non/half-biological parents. A fair comparison would be the best model of a loving family of biological parents, vs. the best model of a loving family of non/half biological heterosexual parents vs. the best model of a loving family of non/half biological non-hetrosexual parents.
But of course, legalizing same-sex marriage doesn’t necessarily mean allowing for legal adoption of children in such marriages.
I’m not sure about such laws, but is there allowance for the adoptee to decide whether they wish to be adopted by both a husband and wife rather than a same-sex couple or are the children are too young to decide on that matter? Is the case for responsible caregivers as a criteria good enough? After all, in a modern egalitarian society, both mothers and fathers are able to fulfill many roles in childbearing interchangeably. What makes the notion of having both a mother and father different in that respect? (though there are many psychological/sociological arguments to how both father/mother are wired differently in general that complements child-rearing duties as well.)
It is also worth to note that some tribal communities adopt community care of children rather than the nuclear family model of having both father and mother.
However, the general premise of having a biological father/mother in nuclear family settings does minimise state/law intevention in the family affairs of taking care of a population’s young, since it’s assumed the biological father/mother would simply take the responsibility of child-rearing.
Regarding the “equality” of same sex marriage, it’s obvious when it isn’t equal, particularly in cases where both a husband and wife is required, or in various other dimensions where the complementary aspect of differing genders would be necessary. The whole advocation towards “normalization/equalization” of marriage is a misnomer I feel, if it means accepting “queer” or “different” as “normal” it just doesn’t work and sounds self-contradictory. However, accepting “queer” for what it is, (accepting that it is out of a given norm of various culturally accepted notions of marriage) is a different matter altogether.
The root of the issue is whether you are comfortable with redefining marriage to mean different things to different individual groups of people rather than promoting a “universally accepted” standard of marriage/family that expects having biologically conceived children, being both fathered and mothered for the next generation something to “model after” as “the only naturally available and right option”.
I think so long as such marriages do not in any way erode what groups of people hold important to their idea of marriage, traditional or not, it’s fine. Additionally, the freedom of dissent needs to be rightfully available and that no freedom of another to live peacefully with good conscience is infringed upon (eg. The case of baking an ideological cake).
I think part of the problem is that some people are uncomfortable with the idea of marriage “no longer having a universal and objective definition” that should be adhered to. But then again, it wasn’t entirely the case in human history anyway (plural marriages, for example).
“Marrying as individuals
Marrying as part of a social institution.”
This question can only be answered in terms of whether two are marrying as individuals, or/and marrying as part of a social institution, and what this “social institution” means in terms of various norms and expectations which are “rightfully” factored in.
The common consensus goes like this:
For the Institution:
For the Individuals:
In the end, it all boils down to definition.
It is not inherantly discriminatory if:
institution of marriage = husband and wife.
(ie. marriage is inherantly a union between husband and wife, paying due relevance to it’s natural means of raising up new families with minimal government involvement).
However, if marriage is revised inherantly as:
institution of marriage = civil binding of individuals with modular features/benefits according to government regulations
Then how i see it is: It’s no longer discriminating between that of a civil union vs a marriage as far as the definition is concerned, thus allowing for same-sex “marriages”.
Some observations for the argument for:
Due to inherantness ..
(If marriage is treated fundamentally as an institution involving a husband/wife combination, than it’s inherantly not equal, since non-traditional marriages don’t adopt this model).
Non-traditional marriage seems to treat the institution more of a modular assortment of features, without any key-identifying feature. Rather, it’s with a combination of these modular features that defines “marriage’ in a collective sense, rather than anything specifically “uniquely-defining”. On this more “broad” definition of marriage, it is deemed equal in that respect.
The question is what is considered “fundamental” and uniquely identifies a marriage. Until someone can come up with another key identifying feature (permanance? love? etc.) the notion of “inherantly equal” seems sketchy at best. It then all boils down to state laws, perspectives on how the state views marriage, and how individual preferences work along with those laws.
The terms “husband” or “wife” cannot be used in the same-sex marriage. Only the terms “partners” can be used. Not that is is a problem for anyone in support of homosexual marriages.
Having both a “husband and husband” or “wife and wife” within an institution of marriage is a misnomer of terms due to the lack of complementary relations between what a husband is inherantly (male), to his wife (female) and vice versa..
Definition of husband/wife:
So, the question then remains: Do all marriages (within a secular context) really require a husband and wife?