A dystopian view

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Of all the specious non-arguments ever rallied to fight gay marriage, Jonathan Dohanich’s must surely be the most appalling (“Marriage Is a Privilege, Not a Right,” Dec. 28). He begins with an assumption so bizarre it belongs in the most terrifying dystopian novel: that marriage is little more than an act of social engineering, rightly manipulated by the government to create more productive citizens. Those productive citizens, he reasons, are children who will be raised by two opposite-sex parents. Hmm, really?

If this highly dubious assumption were true, wouldn’t divorce have long ago been made illegal? Since 18-year-olds are generally not considered to be the same kind of responsible, knowledgeable caregivers as those a few years older, wouldn’t the minimum age have been set at, say, 25? For that matter, why hasn’t the government tested everyone who seeks to have children to determine their moral and physical fitness, and only then deemed the birth to be legal? After all, if marriage has always been a “privilege” bestowed by the government, with productive child-rearing its only aim, why wouldn’t actual childbirth have been granted a similar status?

Fortunately, I suspect Mr. Dohanich’s totalitarian fantasy will find little support with anyone this side of Rick Santorum. Most of us, after all, begin our thoughts on the matter with a different set of assumptions. One, we consider marriage to be a sacred compact of love and commitment. And, two, we assume that any act which harms no one else should be considered a “right.”

If someone such as Mr. Dohanich wishes to arbitrarily ban an act which causes no harm to anyone, it no longer is incumbent upon gay people to prove their marriages are a right. Rather, it is incumbent upon Mr. Dohanich to prove they are not, something that he has thus far manifestly failed to do.

Slippery Rock

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