Ryan Anderson has written a great book. Here are 4 things to consider:
- The state is in the business of recognizing marriage not because every marriage will produce a child, but because every child has a mother and a father.
- Many couples who think they are infertile end up conceiving or adopting children.
- As a philosophical matter, an infertile marriage is fully a marriage.
- As a pedagogical matter, recognizing marriages in spite of infertility teaches that marriage is a comprehensive union, not merely an instrument for baby-making
Why is the government in the marriage business? As I explain in “Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom,” it’s to encourage a man and a woman to unite as husband and wife to then be mother and father to any children their union produces. It’s based on the anthropological truth that men and women are distinct and complementary, the biological fact that reproduction requires a man and a woman, and the social reality that children deserve a mother and a father.
Perhaps the most common objection to this basic argument involves infertility. If infertile couples can marry—and no one has ever denied that they can—how can the definition of marriage be linked to procreation? Proponents of same-sex marriage usually regard this argument as a “silver bullet” that destroys the traditional understanding of marriage—as if no one in the previous millennia has realized that some couples (and any woman above a certain age) can’t conceive a child.
But as I explain in my new book, there are four responses to this argument.