Anderson: What is Marriage Besides Sexual Complementarity?


Ryan Anderson's second contribution to Richochet:

"...Just ask yourself: If the law recognized same-sex couples as spouses, would it still fail to respect the equality of citizens in multiple-partner relationships? Are those inclined to such relationships being treated unjustly when their consensual romantic bonds go unrecognized, their children thereby “stigmatized,” their tax filings unprivileged? 

This isn’t scaremongering. In 2009, Newsweek reported that there were over 500,000 polyamorous households in America. And prominent scholars and LGBT activists have called for “marriage equality” for multipartner relationships since at least 2006.

And in any case, the question is more fundamental: Once one jettisons sexual complementarity—the bodies of men and women go together—what principle can one offer to limit civil marriage to monogamous couples? For that is the only way to answer the charge that withholding a “fundamental right” from even just one multiple-partner household isn’t a grave injustice.''

Again, to know when the lines drawn by a marriage law are arbitrary—when they violate equality—we have to know what marriage is and why the state promotes it. Tomorrow’s post will examine that latter question; today we focus on what marriage is."