Stephanie Coontz is back on the op-ed pages, staying on-message with her new book about the transformation of marriage. She celebrates the legalization of same-sex marriage in Canada and Spain, assured that these events serve as further evidence that marriage, at least as we have known it, is dead — or at least utterly transformed.
In her latest article, published in Tuesday’s edition of The New York Times, Coontz suggests that Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family is right when he argues that the arrival of same-sex marriage means that marriage as we have known it for 5,000 years is dead. Don’t jump to the conclusion that Coontz is with Dobson on what this means, however. Coontz simply argues that marriage has been so completely transformed — by heterosexuals — that the advocates of homosexual marriage are certain to have their way.
Here’s her main argument: Heterosexuals were the upstarts who turned marriage into a voluntary love relationship rather than a mandatory economic and political institution. Heterosexuals were the ones who made procreation voluntary, so that some couples could choose childlessness, and who adopted assisted reproduction so that even couples who could not conceive could become parents. And heterosexuals subverted the long-standing rule that every marriage had to have a husband who played one role in the family and a wife who played a completely different one. Gays and lesbians simply looked at the revolution heterosexuals had wrought and noticed that with its new norms, marriage could work for them, too.
She’s right about much of this — especially the way that heterosexuals have transformed marriage and forced the institution to adapt to autonomous individualism. What she misses is how the Christian vision of marriage is both more traditional and more revolutionary that anything she has yet seen. I’ll be revisiting Coontz and her arguments in coming days.
Meanwhile, check out this article on bisexuality from the same edition of The New York Times. It’s a masterpiece of sociology, ideology, and plain perversity masquerading as science. The article is too sexually graphic to be quoted at length here, but it was interesting that the researchers found that the majority of supposedly bisexual men are apparently homosexual in some form.
R. Albert Mohler Jr.
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