Reducing Marriage to a Bumper Sticker Slogan

This week I was in Cincinnati to observe the oral arguments in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals on the constitutionality of Tennessee’s marriage laws. While there, I observed the rallies for “marriage equality.” And it struck me that a number of our young people are being seduced by bumper sticker arguments for same-sex marriage.

The bumper sticker argument was the sign “love is love” that I saw plastered everywhere at the same-sex marriage rallies. It goes with the sister-slogan “same love” that I saw on t-shirts. Those sound really good, and for those in my generation, may be good titles for a syrupy 1980s Meg Ryan chick-flick. But as an argument for same-sex marriage? Not so good.

First, if marriage is just love and if all love should be treated equally because it’s the “same,” then we’re not really talking about redefining marriage to include same-sex couples; we’re talking about un-defining marriage.

The judges who have said there is no rational basis for people to think that marriage should be limited to men and women will find they have no rational basis for limiting marriage to just two people either. After all, the bumper sticker logic they’ve bought into says love is love, and all love is the same. It would actually be irrational for these judges not to rule that polygamy is also constitutionally required.

In fact, those judges who think you’re homophobic if you believe marriage should be limited to a man and woman could rightly be labeled polyphobic if they don’t approve marriages between more than two people. For them not to approve polygamous marriages would have to be based on a fear of unleashing polygamous marriage on America. And we’ve already established it would be irrational for them not to support polygamous marriages. Irrational fears are the very definition of a real phobia.

Contrary to the bumper sticker philosophy, all love is not the same, and deep down everyone knows it.

We all know that the love between a man and a woman, when expressed in physical union, can naturally manifest itself for all to see through the creation of a life that is a unique blending of that man and woman. I see the evidence of this truth every day in the young woman that my wife and I call our daughter.

Yet no relationship between two men or two women, no matter how much they love each other or how sincere they are in that love, can ever produce such a manifestation of their love. And no child, no matter how loved, will ever be the perfect blending of that relationship.

Catchy bumper sticker arguments are nice if we want our political dialogue about important subjects to be reduced to that. But no bumper sticker can ever paper over the truth that has been written into nature for all to see, if we will but look and be honest with ourselves.

Watch the related YouTube video, Questioning the ‘Love Is Love’ Marriage Equality Rally Invocation

David Fowler served in the Tennessee state Senate for 12 years before joining FACT as President in 2006. Read David’s complete bio.

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