Undefining Marriage
What’s gender got to do with it?



‘I’m Gay and I Oppose Same-Sex Marriage” is the title of an article Doug Mainwaring wrote earlier this year. A tea-party activist in Maryland, he found out the hard way — through the eyes of his kids — that children really do flourish with both a mother and a father active in their daily lives. “To be fully formed, children need to be free to generously receive from and express affection to parents of both genders. Genderless marriages deny this fullness,” he wrote. Mainwaring talks with National Review Online’s Kathryn Jean Lopez about last week’s Supreme Court decisions and the future for marriage.

KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ: Did the debate about gay marriage end last week?


DOUG MAINWARING: The debate about marriage absolutely did not end last week. Not even close. In many ways, I feel like the national debate hasn’t even begun to occur. Eric Teetsel got it right in his recent article, “On Winning the Marriage Debate.” Popular support has been gained not through the triumph of ideas, but through what amounts to nothing more than a beauty pageant. We are no longer a nation of ideas. Policies are products; people are brands. We pay no attention to intellectual boxing matches such as those between Lincoln and Douglas, or Hayek and Keynes. Instead we have beauty pageants in which contestants primp and pose for the affections of the audience voting from home.

The tide has turned in support for genderless marriage via slogans and celebrities. The current window of opportunity for the advancement of same-sex marriage is based on a fragile narrative and an aura of acceptance, both of which could evaporate very quickly if real, substantial debate were to be had in the public arena.

LOPEZ: As a gay man, did you feel that your rights were vindicated by the Supreme Court rulings?

MAINWARING: No. I would have to be intellectually dishonest to tell myself I am “more equal” today. My objection to same-sex marriage hinges entirely on the use of the term “marriage.” Marriage is one thing and one thing only. Two men or two women in a relationship can call themselves “married,” but only by applying the term in a metaphoric way. The term applies only to one man and one woman. The institution of same-sex marriage is not progressive in any way. It does not advance society. It is purely regressive. We are not redefining marriage, we are undefining it.