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By John Corvino

Polls and election effects express americans sharply divided on same-sex marriage, and the debate is not going to subside each time quickly. Debating Same-Sex Marriage offers an critical roadmap to the continuing debate. Taking a "point/counterpoint" method, John Corvino (a thinker and well-liked homosexual recommend) and Maggie Gallagher (a nationally syndicated columnist and co-founder of the nationwide association for Marriage) discover basic questions: what's marriage for? Is sexual distinction necessary to it? Why does the govt. sanction it? What are the results of same-sex marriage for kid's welfare, for non secular freedom, and for our realizing of marriage itself? whereas the authors disagree on many issues, they proportion the subsequent conviction: simply because marriage is a crucial public establishment, this factor merits a finished, rigorous, considerate debate.

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What on earth, then, do they mean? As far as I can tell, what they really mean is coital—in other words, penis-in-vagina. 46) Unlike, say, amoeba reproduction, human sexual reproduction requires complementary male-female pairing in coitus. It requires a number of other biological factors as well—such as a functioning uterus—but those are irrelevant 3 8 | D E B AT I N G S A M E  S E X M A R R I A G E to whether sex is of the “reproductive type”: the salient factor here is coitus. 47 If marriage requires procreative-type acts, and “procreative-type” means “coital,” then it indeed follows that sterile heterosexual couples can engage in procreative-type acts whereas same-sex couples cannot.

In achieving this aim, marriage also accomplishes various related aims: it settles the young, assisting their transition into adulthood; it provides a safe harbor for sexual intimacy; and it creates a stable environment for any children who might arrive or already be present. If we were starting from scratch, this case would be good reason for us to invent marriage. As things stand, it is reason for us to sustain marriage, and specifically to endorse the sort of marriage appropriate to each person: heterosexual marriage for straight people, same-sex marriage for gay people.

Conservative writer Robert H. Knight has tried to explain the problem with an analogy: “When the meaning of a word THE CASE FOR SAMESEX MARRIAG E | 29 becomes more inclusive, the exclusivity that it previously defined is lost. For instance, if the state of Hawaii decided to extend the famous—and exclusive—‘Maui onion’ appellation to all onions grown in Hawaii, the term ‘Maui onion’ would lose its original meaning as a specific thing. ”29 In his public debates, Institute for American Values president David Blankenhorn makes a similar point using a different example, asking audiences to imagine what would happen if the word “ballet” were used to refer to all forms of dance.

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