When I set out to voice my support for Proposition 8, I never expected to spend so much time on it. Every time I try to write about something else, Proposition 8 lures me back in with it seductive controversy and come-hither intrigue. I am like the Michael Jordan of Proposition 8. Rest assured, this will be my last treatise on this topic after which I will move on to more important things like politics, the economy and my fascination with the mythical Strawberry-Banana. Seriously Science, quit trying to cure cancer and start genetically manufacturing my dream fruit immediately! But as for now, Proposition 8, I can't quit you!
In looking over the many words I have written on the issue, I realize I have yet to boil my arguments down to their most cogent and salient issue.
The most important issue is not about how much Gay couples want to get married, despite the fact that it is about the only argument they seem to offer. After watching Keith Olbermann's diatribe on the issue, it seems you could boil his whole argument down to "Homosexuals really, really love each other and they, like, totally want to get married, so we should like let them since they have asked so nicely and all."
The most important issue is not love. They are plenty of non-traditional relationships built on a foundation of love that even Homosexuals don't support. I personally get tremendously tickled watching the gay rights movements explain why two men should be allowed to marry but one man and two women shouldn't.
The most important issue is not what good people homosexuals are. I have never met a gay man or lesbian woman I did not immediately take a liking to. However, just because you are a good person does not mean you should be able to marry who ever you want. Mother Theresa could marry Mary Magdalene and I would still oppose it (although it would make a terrific Dan Brown novel).
The most important issue is not rights. If marriage were a right, then you would not need a certificate from the government in the first place. Do I need a certificate to practice free speech? Do I need a permit to go to church? Those are rights. Marriage is no more a right than getting a drivers license. It is a privilege.
Similarly, the most important issue is not fairness. As a society, every law we have carries with it some measure of unfairness; of inclusion and exclusion. Why can't people under 35 years of age be President? Why do only men have to submit for the draft? Why are minority candidates given preferential treatment when applying to state colleges? Why do I have to drive on the right a side of the road if I am left handed? As a society, we pass such laws because the individual sacrifices they require provide greater value to society as a whole.
And in a word, that is what the issue is really about: Value, not love, not rights, not desire. Value. If we are to provide Gay Marriage with equal status then it must prove that it holds equal value.
Unfortunately for the No-On-8ers, they have yet to prove in the slightest that homosexual marriages hold the same value to society that heterosexual marriages hold. I have asked this question before and I have yet to see a valid response: "What value does gay marriage provide society that just being roommates doesn't?"
Don't tell me it is love. Love does not pay for public services or help put my kids through school. You can't buy love and love and can't buy you anything in return. While love may benefit you personally, how does it help society?
There are measuring sticks that can be used to measure the value of traditional marriage versus gay marriage. Religion, philosophy, morality to name just a few. However, few of those perspectives provide us with the common ground we need to make a collective decision. I may have my own personal religious views on the matter but in an incredibly diverse country such as ours, religion can no more help us decide on gay marriage than it can help us decide what to eat.
However, there is one way to measure value that we can all agree on: money. That's right. Greenbacks. Dinero. Scrilla. What ever you want to call it, we all know what it is and we all know how much it is worth (Answer: a lot less than it used to).
Using plain old dollars and cents we can compare the value of one relationship to another. We are a society fueled by money. The very basic services we need to survive and thrive (infrastructure, education, public safety) all require money.
The average amount of money my wife and I will earn over a lifetime will probably not be that much different than a gay- couple. In that sense, our relationships are equally valuable to society. However, there is one difference, with my wife and I, we are able to have children and those children in turn can become a tremendous benefit to society.
For example, If you figure each of my children earns $50,000 a year over 40 years of work, that is $6.0 million dollars my little family pumps back into society that a gay couple will never be able to replicate. If each of my children has three children in turn, than my wife and I can count on an additional $18 million added back to society.
While it may seem to dehumanize the issue by boiling it down to pure earning potential, at the end of the day, without it, nothing else will matter. With the incredibly top heavy social support network our society has established, if there are not sufficient workers earning enough money, than the whole system collapses. Why do you think western Europe and Japan are starting to freak out (freaking out being the technical term) about their incredibly low birth rates? Why do you think Australia will literally pay you cash for each child that you have? Why do you think Russia had a national Conception Day? ( No Seriously. It must be the first case in modern history where an entire country was given the day off and encouraged to have un-protected sex). Why have they all gone to such drastic measures? Because, as a society, they have written checks that they can't cash if there is nobody there to pay for the future benefits they have been promising. Say what you want about traditional families, but it is my kids that are going to pay for your social security not the other way around.
This also raises another salient point as to why we need to support and protect traditional marriage; because it provides these children with the best opportunity to maximize their potential. Children not raised by a Mother and Father are far less likely to be successful productive citizens. These kids are more likely go from being a boon to society to becoming incredible burden. My kids already have to pay for your Medicare and Social Security, let's not add additional prisons and food stamps to their already overflowing cup.
This concept of value is also why I can frown upon the draconian laws that prevented interracial couples from marrying while still supporting Proposition 8. Because interracial couples hold the same value as any other. They have the same ability to have and raise honest, good children and for that they are equally deserving of marital recognition.
To society as a whole, there is just no more beneficial institution than traditional marriage. It has no rival. It has no equal. Because of its tremendous, inherent value, it deserves the highest pedestal we can put it on. With this special recognition comes the societal pressures and rewards offered only to marriage that help it to succeed and, more importantly, help it to raise another generation of Americans who give more than they take.