8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Well worth reading by those on both sides of the debate over marriage., 7 Feb. 2013
In all the sound and fury over the gay marriage debate one question is not seriously examined. What exactly is marriage? It is so part of our culture that we take it for granted. This book defends the traditional definition of marriage in exclusively secular terms and makes it clear that it can be defended without resorting to attacks on homosexuality or religious appeals. That will challenge some on the pro-gay marriage side who reflexively equate support for traditional marriage with homophobia. Those who oppose redefining marriage will find themselves challenged by the rigour of the case and its secularity. Many opponents seem to be acting from the gut and come dangerously close to not defending marriage as much as being anti-gay.
The authors argue that marriage as traditionally defined is a wider social good in a way that other relationships are not. This is not to denigrate these but to make the point about the particular role of traditional marriage. Inevitably this view rests on marriage between one man and one woman for life as the ideal arrangement for raising children. This may stick in the throats of some, but is an argument which they need to address with more than chants about "change" and "progress".
Also, if marriage is purely about love and a vaguely understood "commitment" why stop at same sex marriage? What about polyamory? The authors also point out the work of noted scholars who support same-sex marriage as a way of fundamentally reworking the family rather than making the existing institution of marriage more "inclusive". Is this widely known and understood?
So, whatever your point of view this is an important work and one which I hope will contribute to a more honest and mature debate on the fundamental subject, with all the emotion stripped away; what is marriage, why do we have it and what is its future?