William Bennett

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The article by William Bennett, “Leave Marriage Alone,” is about how marriage is a sacred tradition. He believes that if you broaden the definition to include gays, that act will totally alter the purpose and meaning of marriage. Bennett also discusses whether or not allowing gays to marry will open the door for more radical ideas, such as polygamy or incest.

Bennett believes that gay marriage would weaken the institution. He thinks that by legally recognizing same sex unions, we will be sending mixed signals to the young both about acceptable behavior as well as sexuality. According to Bennett, it would also “obscure marriage’s enormously consequential function -- procreation and child-rearing.”(29) He argues that allowing gays to marry would go against every major religion of the world.

Bennett wants to know why Andrew Sullivan feels his cause is worthy, but not that of a bisexual who wishes for polygamy, or of a father who wants to marry his daughter. He believes that by changing the definition of marriage to include homosexuals, it would open the floodgates for all kinds of deviant behavior. He also questions the fidelity of homosexual males. Bennett realizes that not all married couples are faithful, but he quotes Sullivan as having been opposed to the idea of having to give up the “’openness of the contract,’”(30) referring to homosexual relationships.

Bennett believes that marriage is not an “arbitrary construct which can be redefined simply by those who lay claim to it,” (30) but rather it is “an honorable estate…built on moral, religious, sexual and human realities.”(30) He claims that marriage is “based on a natural teleology, on the different, complimentary nature of men and women.”(30) This is only one of many topics that both authors discuss.

There are several similarities between the two essays, despite the conflicting viewpoints. Both authors discuss the definition of marriage, which, to some, is a union between a man and a woman....
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