Can Marriage Be Just About ‘Love’?

-By Warner Todd Huston

Illinois’ centrist Republican Senator Mark Kirk was the latest Republican to join the crusade for gay marriage. On Tuesday morning the Senator posted a message on his website that claimed that marriage was all about love. But, is it? Does it make sense to make “love” a determining criteria to define marriage? Logic would not only say no, but would point out the danger in the characterization.

In his short message, Kirk said, “Our time on this earth is limited, I know that better than most. Life comes down to who you love and who loves you back–government has no place in the middle.”

Before we get into this further, I respect Senator Kirk quite a lot. I don’t agree with him a lot. I am a conservative and we are lucky if Kirk is a 70 percenter on conservative issues.

But the thing about Mark Kirk is there is no wondering where he stands. Kirk is not one of those pols who drifts from issue to issue careening from one ideological side to another every time the political winds blow. Kirk has pretty much stayed steady in his beliefs for his whole political career. You can trust Mark Kirk to say what he means and stick to it far more often than most pols.

And, let’s face it. He’s from Illinois, the land just to the left of Stalingrad.

So, I am not criticizing him as a flip flopper here, necessarily. Kirk is not the issue. But what he said is a leading excuse that supporters of gay marriage often use to “prove” they are on the right side of the issue. After all, who could be against love?

Well, we all should be, at least where it concerns a logical, law-based definition of marriage.

You see, marriage cannot be merely about “love.” If it is, then there can be no logical limit on what could constitute a “marriage.”

The fact is, Polyamorists, polygamists, homosexuals, even pedophiles claim that their relationships are all about “love.”

The problem is that “love” can’t be made a basis for law. Put it this way, if we somehow start making marriage only about love, then what happens when one side of a couple in a divorce case still says they love the other? Do we deny the divorce because there is “love” present?

Why not? Isn’t “love” the important factor?

You may reply to this saying, “Ah, but one doesn’t love so it’s off.” OK, then how do we prove that? How do we prove “love” well enough to satisfy law? Is it just because someone says so?? OK, so where else in law is something made legal just because someone “says so” about it? What other point in law is just a “feeling” and not grounded in something concrete like tax law, social theory, tradition, or natural rights?

Traditional marriage is useful to society for several reasons, none of which exist in homosexual marriage. It sets up the optimal situation for raising kids (studies still show that male-female parents are the best atmosphere with which to raise kids), for one. This is for the betterment of society for two reasons. It gives us better, more stable new citizens and it perpetuates our society. The nuclear family is still the optimal building bricks of our social order.

Another thing that traditional marriage has always been for is the protection of the female members of our society. Yes, that’s right it is for the protection of the so-called “weaker sex.”

Men marrying, staying monogamous, and protecting their family stabilizes society and gives women the capability to be more than just a constantly sought after sex object.

This is not a popular idea, granted, but it is a logical and necessary ideal. And gay “marriage” can do neither of these important things for the stability of society.

Love is not a basis for societal stability. Why? Because if no responsibility like that above–i.e. the protection of women and the raising of children–is introduced into the mix, love is unsustainable. It is transitory, ephemeral, and will flit from one to the next with no sensible reason not to. Remember, it’s about “love” so if love might be waning, why stay in the marriage? Love is more important if we accept Kirk’s definition.

All that is reason enough to stand against destroying traditional marriage in favor of a scheme that has no logical definition nor has any limits and will change decade by decade with the whims of popular culture.
“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
–Samuel Johnson

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer. He has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and before that he wrote articles on U.S. history for several small American magazines. His political columns are featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s,, and, as well as,,,,, among many, many others. Mr. Huston is also endlessly amused that one of his articles formed the basis of an article in Germany’s Der Spiegel Magazine in 2008.

For a full bio, please CLICK HERE.

Copyright Publius Forum 2001