Post Author: Bill Pratt
William Tucker, in his book Marriage and Civilization: How Monogamy Made Us Human, argues that the weakening of monogamy in modern America is cause for great concern. He goes to great lengths to show that monogamy is what makes us human, and is what has allowed western civilization to flourish.
From an evolutionary standpoint, gay marriage is a non-starter. It is only a few decades old and has played no part in evolutionary or human history. Whether it emerges as a symbol of a society’s respect for marriage or a symbol of its undoing remains to be seen.
Tucker is unsure of whether gay marriage will support or undo monogamy, but he asks gay marriage proponents to consider the following:
The important thing for supporters of same-sex marriage is to draw a stark line between acceptance of gay marriage and acceptance of an “anything-goes” attitude toward marriage, which says that it makes no difference whether people tie the knot or live in sin, whether they marry a man and a woman or marry two wives or three wives (because polygamy is always lurking at the edge of these discussions), or whether they marry their dog or their cat or a favorite lampshade.
Far more fundamental than the issue of same-sex marriage is that we arrive at a biological, anthropological, and historic understanding of the role that monogamy has played in the evolution of human society.
This is a real problem for gay marriage supporters. Most of them cannot articulate principled reasons why people should not live in sin, marry multiple spouses, or marry their dog or cat. In other words, they have been so busy arguing for gay marriage that they have made no effort to guard traditional marriage.
Tucker believes that this is a colossal mistake. His view, supported by plenty of evidence throughout his book, is that the loss of traditional monogamous marriages will be a catastrophe for human civilization. Without monogamy, violence and warfare become far more common. That is not a condition any of us want to live in.