What is marriage?
After much study and consultation with people on both side of the gay “marriage” debate, I have concluded that all the various answers to the question “What is marriage?” usually always boil down to one of the following three options:
- Although our concept of marriage involves a degree of cultural relativity, at its core marriage is something specific, namely a sexually dimorphous union publicly recognized because of its potential fecundity.
- Although our concept of marriage involves a degree of cultural relativity, at its core marriage is something specific, namely a union of consenting persons (or adults) who commit to romantic partnership and domestic life.
- Our concept of marriage is entirely culturally relative; therefore marriage is a social construct and can mean whatever we choose for it to mean.
None of these positions easily maps over to the “gay marriage” debate, which is about more than simply one’s personal view about the meaning of marriage. Yet often the position we adopt on the meaning of marriage will directly feed into how we think about these more practical political issues.
In a new series of articles at the Colson Center, I have constructed a systematic argument for option #1. Instead of relying on explicitly Biblical reasoning, I have sought to anchor my argument in considerations that Christians and non-Christians alike should be able to accept. To read my arguments, visit the following articles: