I keep hearing that marriage is under attack; you know who the culprits are.
But I just can’t get too excited about it. I don’t believe it’s so. The revolution is over; society is just institutionalizing the new reality. It seems to me that traditional marriage was usurped decades ago with the abandonment of the following three realities:
1-The institution of marriage is society’s means of protecting its continued existence through the bearing and rearing of children*; this institutional end is likely different from the many individual motivations for entering into the institution of marriage.
2-There is only one type of sexuality, and that is a broken one; odd sexual desire does not disqualify for marriage, nor render a marriage a sham.
3-Marriage is fundamentally covenantal, not erotic; it is not for the expression of sexuality, but requires its restraint; Eros can be a wonderful part of a marriage, but is not justification for entering into a marriage, nor for renouncing an existing marriage.
In place of the inherited three points, Liberals and Conservatives, Evangelicals and Atheists affirm by their lives, aspirations and choices that…
1- The institution of Marriage is for the purpose of individual happiness, growth and the expression of sexuality with another human being; children are tangential to the institution of marriage, and best when chosen
2-Individual identity is innately tied to whether one is sexually attracted to the opposite sex, the same sex or both sexes.
3- The relationships that spring from Romantic love are the most valuable, precious, powerful and self-justifying of any of life’s ends.
The last two innovations depend on the first. The key is our attitude towards children. The current marriage controversy is only one consequence of that change in attitude.
* ‘The form of the institution of marriage protects the unity of biological (genetic and gestational), social, and legal parenthood. It protects the interests of both men and women in the raising of the next generation. It protects the norm and ideal of children being raised by their biological mother and father. It protects the norm and ideal of children only having two parents, and not additional step-parents, surrogate or egg donor mothers, and sperm donor fathers, for instance. It protects the norm and ideal of a unifying and loving bond between a child’s progenitors, a bond within which they have a secure foundation for their identity. It protects children from having a divided patrimony. It protects bonds of blood that connect siblings to their progenitors, siblings, and extended families, giving them identity and kinship.’
From Alastair’s helpful post: The Institution of Marriage, Same-Sex Unions, and Procreation