First off, that's not what marriage is. It doesn't address the key points of it, much less the underlying purpose, or why the state has an interest in it. Marriage isn't simply a lifelong commitment. If it were, then spinster sisters would be considered married, as would a parent and child who shared a domicile. Clearly, there is more to that. Think hard about it. What are the characteristics of marriage? Why does the state have any interest in it at all? What is the effect of marriage on the unmarried?
Originally Posted by Lanie
A recent paper published by the Royal Society of Biological Sciences, The puzzle of monogamous marriage (Joseph Henrich, Robert Boyd and Peter J. Richerson, http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.o...7-085e4aa77b2c), has some remarkable insights into the nature of marriage, and explains why it is a critical cultural institution. From the abstract:
[M]onogamous marriage have been favoured by cultural evolution because of their group-beneficial effects—promoting success in inter-group competition. In suppressing intrasexual competition and reducing the size of the pool of unmarried men, normative monogamy reduces crime rates, including rape, murder, assault, robbery and fraud, as well as decreasing personal abuses. By assuaging the competition for younger brides, normative monogamy decreases (i) the spousal age gap, fertility, and gender inequality. By shifting male efforts from seeking wives to paternal investment, normative monogamy increases savings, child investment and economic productivity. By increasing the relatedness within households, normative monogamy reduces intra-household conflict, leading to lower rates of child neglect, abuse, accidental death and homicide. These predictions are tested using converging lines of evidence from across the human sciences.
Now, while this article discusses the advantages of monogamy to polygamy, many of the same issues apply to heterosexual marriage vs. gay marriage. Basically, in any culture, there is a correlation between unmarried heterosexual males and crime, violence and other high-risk behaviors. Marriage channels male focus from high-risk, short term gains to lower risk, more stable courses of action in acquiring property, caring for children and otherwise interacting with the world. Note that in cultures in which marriage of any kind is not the norm, such as ghettos with high rates of single motherhood, crime, violence and immediate gratification strategies among men are also the norm. Single men are more predatory than married men. Marriage civilizes men. Women already have the inclination to nurture and protect their own children, so the critical issue in any culture is getting men to provide for their own children through the creation of societal norms that reward responsibility and punish irresponsibility. This is the purpose of marriage.
However, this does not apply to gay marriage. The factors that contribute to the domestication of men, the creation and nurturing of children, are not even mentioned in your definition of marriage, but marriage is almost entirely about creating an environment that provides safe haven for children. It forces men to direct resources towards their own children, through clearly established patrilineage. Gay marriages can sometimes replicate that, but only through the interaction of surrogates or donors, whose biological link to the children that they contribute to is deliberately severed by the gay couple. Gay marriage therefore creates a norm in which there is no blood tie between one parent and the child. This doesn't mean that adoption cannot overcome this, but the point is that the absence of the biological linkage must be overcome, that it is not optimal.
Any of this sinking in?