Apparently, President Obama signed an executive order today expanding certain marriage benefits to gay employees of the federal government. Does anyone else find this decision ridiculous?
Imagine yourself as a parent with three children. These children are fairly wild, but they really like ice cream. Every now and then you have to bring the kids to a social gathering (perhaps a wedding, or a funeral) where their misbehavior would embarrass you. Therefore, you offer to buy the children ice cream if they stay calm and behave at the event.
At a certain party you are attending, the two older children both do well, but the younger one starts whining and crying, and you have to deal with him at the event. Do you buy him ice cream? Of course not.
Eventually, though this same pattern happens over and over again, with the youngest one misbehaving the most often. When you deny him ice cream afterward, he repeatedly complains that he has not received the same “rights” as his older siblings. Eventually, you decide to cave in. You start buying them all ice cream, regardless of their behavior. After all, it’s not fair to discriminate against the youngest child. Ice cream is a right for all your children.
Ahh, but you have just completely forgotten why you instituted the ice cream bribery in the first place!
We offer incentives to encourage desirable behavior. Marriage is desirable behavior. Marriage produces children. These children grow up to fight wars, fund social security, invent new technologies, etc. Marriage encourages monogamy. Marriage reduces the spread of disease. Marriage tends to boost a man’s productivity, and hence the GDP.
Can we say the same things about homosexuality? Do we really want to fund homosexual relationships, or any non-marital relationships?
Are marital benefits — whether tax-based or pay-based or honor-based or whatever — any sort of right? No, they serve a purpose. We act like fools when we forget that.