I've thought I have had a pretty good understanding of the birds and the bees - in other words, I know where babies come from. Unless things have changed since I was given "the talk", I am worried that a lot of other people don't understand it the way I do. Somehow, our society seems to have lost sight of the facts of that lesson and have replaced them with a few myths. In order to dispel these myths, perhaps our society is collectively over-due for "the talk". Here we go.
Marriage was not created so that adults could have hospital visitation rights or insurance benefits. These are simply benefits that have been arbitrarily attached to marriage by the state. Marriage existed long before these government-granted rights existed. A state should be able to find a way to grant these rights to all individuals under the law, and yet still retain traditional marriage as a privilege for the purpose of perpetuating society and promoting and preserving a healthy economy and healthy future generations. Here's why:
The institution of marriage was not designed for the sole benefit, pleasure, or convenience of adults. In fact, marriage was designed for children. Whether or not traditional marriage has desirable side-effects for adults is still open for debate (tongue-in-cheek). Marriage is - uniquely - an inherently selfless institution. It's sole purpose is to produce and nurture children. A relationship that is not designed to produce and nurture children cannot and should not be equated with a relationship that is designed to do so. It would be unequal to try to equate the two in every aspect imaginable. Now, whether or not that relationship is capable of producing a child is irrelevant, as infertile heterosexual individuals may still marry. All that matters is what that relationship was designed for.
Under no circumstances can a same-sex relationship ever produce a child on its own. This is a scientific fact. Surely homosexuals are aware of this (I know they're not that ignorant). Two men who get married cannot be marrying each other for the purpose of producing a child together (no matter how much they may want a child). They simply can't. A same-sex relationship must involve a third person outside that relationship in order to produce a child, no matter what type of conceptional or gestational method is used. On the other hand, a heterosexual couple (even an infertile couple using IVF, for example) does not need to involve a third person in order to produce a child. The child is produced entirely within that marriage.
These two types of "marriages" are fundamentally different in their purpose and role in society. This difference alone (and it's impact on children) ought to be enough to treat the two differently - instead of trying to make equal what can never be equal. Remember - I'm not discussing rights here; I'm discussing children.
Both types of relationships are just as capable of adopting a child, one might argue. However, a single person is also capable of adopting a child under the law and raising that child successfully. Adoption is praiseworthy and is a much better alternative to abortion, but even a single person cannot produce a child on their own. In any case, the adopted child was already produced by one man and one woman. No child was or could ever be produced in any other way than by using both genders and only one of each gender. Now, only one of these two types of marriages involves only one of each gender. There is simply no other alternative, so why are we attempting to create one under the law?
So, which is superior when it comes to producing children? Should we not strive for the ideal? Traditional marriage is obviously the ideal if we are concerned about perpetuating our society in a healthy way. It's not simply a matter of having 50% of the relationship involve each gender, otherwise two men and two women would also be considered ideal. Nor is it about having at least one of either gender - then polygamy would also be ideal. Neither is it about producing the most number of children possible - polygamy would again be an ideal relationship for that goal.
Marriage is about maintaining a healthy replacement-level birthrate and providing a physically, emotionally, and mentally healthy environment for those children to be raised in - in which the two parents chose to conceive the child within that relationship and are committed to raising it within that relationship. It's one man and one woman coming into a relationship together and being committed to the purpose of producing and raising children within that relationship. This is the ideal situation for children to be raised in.