As I have studied various elements of philosophy and history, it seems apparent that the Supreme Court’s recent ruling has established a social precedent that even some of the most sexualized cultures of the past never broached the topic of framing same-sex couples in terms of a marriage relationship. As this subject was discussed in the hearing before the SCOTUS, a few of the justices posed a question similar to this one: why would a culture that admired and included nearly all forms of sexual expression within its society (including pederasty) exclude same-see relationships from being deemed marriages? The answer to that question appears rather obvious; even that culture, which indulged its sexual appetite in all manner of ways feeling no shame, recognized the simple fact of reproduction and the roles of parents in raising and protecting their offspring.
Of course, this does not mean that such societies, such as the ancient Greeks, were the model society that human beings should imitate in setting up the foundations for the family, but it does set the stage for what ought to be recognized as one of the greatest ironies in human history. Anthony Kennedy, in his penning of the majority opinion on the decision to enforce the States’ acceptance of same-sex marriage, rightly stated that “no union is more profound than marriage,” but there is little foundation within a secular worldview from taking that statement and proceeding to the conclusion that same-sex relationships ought to be deemed marriages.
From a secular perspective, no person has any reason for considering same-sex couples as married. For within the secular worldview, the only elements to which its adherents ascribe rationality are those that can be empirically observed and rationally organized. Within those ancient Grecian societies, they observed opposite-sex relationships as the ones that yielded children and populated their communities. Therefore, they organized their society based on those life-giving unions and pushed same-sex relationships to the periphery. Was this discrimination? In a sense it was, but that sense in no way resembled a modern understanding of that term. For while they disallowed same-sex relationships from playing a key role in their society’s essential infrastructure, their reasoning had little to do with questions over the moral value of homosexual activity.
The approach was, in a way, purely scientific. Nature was not structured for same-sex couples to reproduce. Society should be based on the fundamentals of what appears in nature. Therefore, same-sex relationships, while pleasurable and (in their view) personally edifying, should not be deemed a primary building block of society, i.e. included within the terminology of marriage. This discrimination generated little in the way of ill-will among its members. It was simply a fact of reality. So, while homosexual activity was by no means decried (in fact, in many situations it was expected), same-sex marriage appears to have been, generally, taboo. Marriage served as a means of producing heirs, and the failure or inability to do so produced much anxiety.
The concept of same-sex marriage would have been comical to the ancients in that it had no place as a social standard (though homosexual behavior of all kinds was widely practiced). Yet, this current generation is apparently the smartest generation in all of human history. The highest court in the United States has essentially landed the final blow to one of humanity’s quintessential institutions. In sanctioning same-sex relationships, the redefinition of marriage (and therefore society at large) has been completely redefined. Unfortunately, it does not seem that this current culture understands or has even attempted to procure a new definition. It has simply provided a new foundation: the feelings and choices of the individual. How does a society proceed when its chief aim is satisfying the whims of its parts rather than securing the future of the whole?