When one claims that "marriage is the building block of society" it's important to understand just what this means. The first communal unit in human history was the family. Families grew into tribes, tribes grew to communities, and communities grew to cities, states, and nations. But the core relational unit that binds all these relationships together is the family.2 This means that the family is the building block of society. Without a man and a woman joining together and rearing children, a society simply cannot survive.
The conclusion that the natural union of a man and a woman is at the basis of continuing our civilization is not mine alone. Paul Nathanson is a sociologist, a scholar, and a homosexual. However, he voices grave reservations about the concept of homosexual marriage. Nathanson has identifies at least five functions that marriage serves and are functions that every culture must have in order to survive and thrive. They are:
- Foster the bonding between men and women
- Foster the birth and rearing of children
- Foster the bonding between men and children
- Foster some form of healthy masculine identity
- Foster the transformation of adolescents into sexually responsible adults 3
Nathanson has partnered with fellow Canadian scholar Katherine K. Young to author "Marriage a la mode: Answering the Advocates of Gay Marriage." There, Young and Nathanson put forth an excellent case why heterosexual marriage needs to be not only protected but encouraged by society in order for the society to survive. They state:
Although no particular culture is genetically encoded, the ability and need to create culture is genetically encoded. We are equipped and even driven by nature, paradoxically, to be cultural beings… culture is not a superficial veneer on something more primitive and basic, in short, but a defining and fundamental feature of human existence.Young and Nathanson then conclude, "Heterosexuality is always fostered as a cultural norm, in other words not merely allowed as one 'lifestyle choice' among many"5 (emphasis added.)
Because heterosexuality is directly related to both reproduction and survival, and because it involves much more than copulation every human society has had to promote it actively (although some have allowed homosexuality in specific instances.)"
2. For one example see _Evolution of Human Societies_ by Allen W. Johnson and Timothy Earl
Stanford Univ. Pr; 2nd edition (November 2000)
3. Nathanson, Paul as quoted in "Questions and Answers: What's Wrong With Letting Same-Sex Couples 'Marry?'" by Peter Sprigg
5. Young, Katherine K. and Paul Nathanson "Marriage a la mode: Answering the Advocates of Gay Marriage"
http://www.marriageinstitute.ca/images/mmmode.pdf Sept. 29, 2003