Contrary to the claims by the forces seeking to fundamentally redefine the relationship that is marriage, marriage is not, in fact, a right. Society today (including many of our politicians) have begun to redefine the meaning of the word right to include any privilege that government conveys on the citizenry. That is not to say that marriage is a privilege granted to citizens. Rather, the government simply conveys certain privileges upon those that choose to enter into the relationship of marriage.
Yes, I realize that this is complicated for many to understand the nuances of this argument. However, this is at the core of the debate about marriage. For example, two twelve year olds could enter into a relationship that they choose to call marriage, but they would receive no privileges from the government. I could “marry” my dog in some convoluted ceremony for which I found instructions somewhere on the Internet. The government, however, has not seen fit to extend any privileges to that relationship either. This is because neither of these relationships are of any value to the state.
The relationship of one man and one woman for a lifetime provides benefits to the state. This relationship is the most conducive to the rearing of children. Individuals in this relationship are, statistically, more law-abiding, more likely to pay taxes, generally make more money and generally are of much more “worth” to the state than other relationships. This is not to say that there are not homosexual couples or other couples that occasionally provide these same benefits. Conversely, there are heterosexual relationships that fail to live up to this promise, as well. However, government cannot legislate based on anomalies. Government instead provides privileges to that relationship that is the most likely to provide privileges to society as a whole.
This is what the debate is really about. Given that marriage, as it is traditionally defined, holds the greatest potential for benefiting society, it is the only relationship that government chooses to extend this set of privileges to. Should homosexual couples, or any other individuals engaging in some other relationship, wish to have these privileges, it is certainly within their right to lobby to have those individual privileges granted to them. However, to argue that the makeup of those relationships provides the same benefit society as heterosexual marriage and therefore should receive all of these privileges all at once is where a line is crossed.
To acquiesce to those that would seek to redefine not only the relationship that is marriage but also the meaning of the word “right” is to ignore the scientific and other research that proves that marriage is a benefit to society, therefore degrading the relationship entirely. The risk is that of capitulating to the moral relativists that would have us believe that all individuals, and therefore all relationships, are of equal value and benefit to society. This, my friends, is the slippery slope that we are traversing.