Before Obergefell: How the sexual revolution got us here…
(CUSA) – Gender neutral becomes neutered in the new sexual dispensation where pleasure and consent are the determining factors of value.
If this is the case, who needs marriage? It’s just a contract that you can get if you have determined pleasure and consent are sufficiently present. —Ed.
The establishment of same-sex marriage is not a bolt from the blue, but the logical outworking of a series of related developments in America’s practice and understanding of marriage.
Same-sex marriage was unthinkable just a few decades ago. What made it thinkable wasn’t a concerted campaign on the part of gay rights activists to undermine marriage, but the changing material, economic, social, ideological, and moral conditions of the wider society and the way that our practice of marriage was both altered by and advanced this broader social mutation.
The neutralizing of sex in marriage is like the sudden collapse of a wall that has long been undermined.
The character of marriage has changed under many influences. Medical, technological, and economic influences have been among the most powerful of these. Contraceptive medication and other contraceptive devices, coupled with greater access to abortion, have facilitated the growing detachment of sex from procreation.
It has normalized a situation where society regards the default form of sex as ‘safe’—sterile and, ideally, STD-free. Sex that is open to the possibility of procreation is a break from the default form of sex, either a failure of responsibility or a determined act of choice. It is no longer regarded as just natural.
There are many consequences of this development. As sex in all of its standard forms is now sterile by default, it has become homogenized, the only criteria that continue to matter being consent and pleasure. Any categorical distinction between same-sex relations and those between a man and a woman will appear very artificial to many as a result.
Sex is sex is sex, the use of the body for erogenous stimulation, and possibly thereby as a means of expressing emotional intimacy. When sex is regarded in such a manner, it appears quite gender neutral.
When sex that is open to procreation becomes atypical, the relationship between sex and marriage changes too. First, ‘responsible’ sex ceases to be sex that occurs within a marital context, where a vow of lifelong fidelity provides a context of welcome and support for any new life. Rather, responsible sex is ‘safe sex’, sex that precludes procreation, sex that is consequence-free.
This creates the conditions for a proliferation of non-marital sex…
Read more: Theopolis Institute