What’s wrong with gay marriage? Why not allow gay relationships to become more conventional and mainstream?
Journalist Andrew Sullivan argues that it is social ostracism that encourages the reckless promiscuity and socially destructive behavior of male homosexuals. If gays are allowed to marry like everyone else, Sullivan is confident that this outrageous element of gay culture would diminish. Sullivan’s argument can be condensed to the slogan, “Marriage civilizes men.” But Sullivan is wrong. Marriage doesn’t civilize men, women do. This point is even evident in the gay community: it helps to explain why lesbians are generally much better than male homosexuals in sustaining long-term relationships. The reason that society privileges marriage and gives it a special legal status is because marriage is the only known incubator for the raising of children. This arrangement works best when marriage is restricted to heterosexual couples who are of adult age and unrelated to each other. Polygamous arrangements, incest, and homosexual relationships do occur in society, but there is no reason to give them greater social acceptance, nor to give them the special legal status of “marriage.”