…[What this debate is really about is]…a particular vision of marriage… This ideal holds up the commitment to lifelong fidelity and support by two sexually different human beings ”” a commitment that involves the mutual surrender, arguably, of their reproductive self-interest ”” as a uniquely admirable kind of relationship. It holds up the domestic life that can be created only by such unions, in which children grow up in intimate contact with both of their biological parents, as a uniquely admirable approach to child-rearing. And recognizing the difficulty of achieving these goals, it surrounds wedlock with a distinctive set of rituals, sanctions and taboos.
[This view] was a particularly Western understanding, derived from Jewish and Christian beliefs about the order of creation…
Lately [however, this view]… it has come to co-exist with a less idealistic, more accommodating approach, defined by no-fault divorce, frequent out-of-wedlock births, and serial monogamy.
In this landscape, gay-marriage critics who fret about a slippery slope to polygamy miss the point. Americans already have a kind of postmodern polygamy available to them.
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