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'Vive la Difference!' Don’t use marriage to equalise unequals

By Michael Casanova - posted Wednesday, 1 November 2017

There is something completely unique about the relationship we’ve always known as ‘marriage’, the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life. And because this particular relationship is unique, in things that count, two principles should be applied, principles of logic and justice: 1) if something is unique, then it should have a unique name; 2) and it should be treated uniquely, because justice means treating equal things equally and treating unequal things differently

Here is a quick look at what is unique about the permanent, exclusive union of one man and one woman that we have always called ‘marriage’.

Married people can give everything to the other


Marriage as the voluntary exclusive union of one man and one woman for life is a relationship that allows its participants to give, and receive, everything to, and from, the other:

  • only with permanence can one give the other the whole of one's future;
  • only with exclusivity can one give the other the whole of one's heart;
  • only with biological complementarity can one directly give one's fertility to the other (or receive the other’s fertility as fertility instead of as physiological threat).
  • No other relationship is capable in the same way of directly giving to the other everything one has to offer.


At the same time, some paradoxical opposites are joined:

  • the biological and psychological diversity of a member of each sex;
  • the making of love with the making of life;
  • the totally faithful love for one person alone, with the generous love for many;
  • personal fulfilment with lifelong self-sacrifice;
  • private decision with vital public interest;
  • men and women with mothers and fathers in law!

Benefits and Justice for children


Further, this relationship sets up a uniquely beneficial environment for children, one that nature intended, one that is not unjust by design:

  • the two who do the love-making are the two who do the child-making: there is no third person;
  • this creates an all-inclusive, total explanation of the children's historical and biological origin and identity;
  • the mutual love of the biological parents explains the children's beginnings and promises to exist for as many years as the parents' biological life makes this possible;
  • this in turn gives children a unique potential for security and peace.

While there are failures to attain the possibilities of this relationship, there is still a potential for all these child-enriching elements, a potential non-existent in non-permanent, non-exclusive and non-heterosexual relationships.

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About the Author

Michael Casanova teaches introductory philosophy to students preparing for Vianney College in Wagga Wagga. He is a member of the National Association of Catholic Families.

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All articles by Michael Casanova

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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