But whether a policy is fair to every individual can never be the only question society asks in establishing social policy. Eyesight standards for pilots are unfair to some terrifically capable individuals. Orchestra standards are unfair to many talented musicians. A mandatory retirement age is unfair to many people. Wherever there are standards, there will be unfairness to individuals.
So, the question is whether redefining marriage in the most radical way ever conceived — indeed completely changing its intended meaning — is good for society.
The major reason is this: Gender increasingly no longer matters. There is a fierce battle taking place to render meaningless the man-woman distinction, the most important distinction regarding human beings’ personal identity. Nothing would accomplish this as much as same-sex marriage.
The whole premise of same-sex marriage is that gender is insignificant: It doesn’t matter whether you marry a man or a woman. Love, not gender, matters.
Some examples of this war on gender:
This year Harvard University appointed its first permanent director of bisexual, gay, lesbian, transgender, and queer student life. The individual, Vanidy Bailey, has asked that he/she never be referred to as he or she, male or female. Harvard has agreed.
In 2010 eHarmony, for years the country’s largest online dating service, was sued for only matching men and women. Its lack of same-sex matchmaking meant that it violated anti-discrimination laws in some states. As a result, eHarmony was forced to begin a same-sex online service.
Each year more and more American high schools elect girls as homecoming kings and boys as homecoming queens. Students have been taught to regard restricting kings to males or queens to females as (gender-based) discrimination.
When you sign up for the new social-networking site, Google Plus, you are asked to identify your gender. Three choices are offered: Male, Female, Other.
Catholic Charities, which operates the oldest ongoing adoption services in America, has had to end its adoption work in Illinois, Massachusetts, and Washington, D.C., because the governments there regard placing children with married man-woman couples before same-sex couples as discriminatory.
Increasingly, even the mother-father ideal is being shattered in this battle to render the male-female distinction insignificant.
The socialist French government has just announced that in the future no government-issued document will be allowed to use the words “mother” or “father.” Only the gender-neutral term “parent” will be acceptable in France.
And in Rhode Island this year, one school district cancelled its father-daughter dance after the ACLU threatened to sue the district for gender discrimination. Only parent-child events, not father-daughter dances or mother-son ballgames, will be allowed.
And all this is happening before same-sex marriage is allowed. Imagine what will happen should same-sex marriage become the law of the land.
It will hasten the end of the male-female distinction and of any significance to mothers or fathers as distinctive entities.
It will mean that those who, for religious or other reasons, wish to retain the man-woman definition of marriage will be legally and morally as isolated as racists are today.
And it will mean that teachers and other adults who ask little boys and girls who they would like to marry, will, in order to be in sync with the morality of our times, have to make it clear that it might be someone of the same sex. “Will you marry a boy or a girl?” will be the only non-bigoted way to ask young people about their marital plans.
The history of left-wing policies has largely consisted of doing what feels good and compassionate without asking what the long-term consequences will be; what Professor Thomas Sowell calls “Stage One Thinking.” That explains, for example, the entitlement state. It sounds noble and seems noble. But the long-term consequences are terrible: economic ruin, a demoralized population, increasing selfishness as people look to the state to take care of their fellow citizens, and more.
By redefining marriage to include same-sex couples we are playing with sexual and societal fire. Just as the entitlement state passes on the cost of our good intentions to our children and grandchildren — unsustainable dependency and debt — so, too, same-sex marriage will pass along the consequences of our good intentions to our children and grandchildren — gender confusion and the loss of motherhood and fatherhood as values, just to cite two obvious consequences.
It is not enough to mean well in life. One must also do well. And the two are frequently not the same thing.
There are reasons no moral thinker in history ever advocated same-sex marriage.
— Dennis Prager is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host and columnist. He may be contacted through his website, dennisprager.com.