Harvard Law Prof: Marriage Is ‘Not Two People Who Are Just Tennis Partners’

By Elizabeth Harrington | January 8, 2013 | 6:44pm EST


(CNSNews.com) – Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School Robert P. George said marriage is “not two people who are just tennis partners,” when offering his defense of traditional marriage at a Heritage Foundation bloggers briefing on Tuesday.

In an attempt to reframe the debate on gay “marriage,” George and authors Sherif Girgis and Ryan T. Anderson sought to first answer the fundamental question: “What Is Marriage?”

That is the basis of their book, of the same name, What Is Marriage? which argues that the institution is not merely a domestic sexual relationship, but a conjugal one, rooted in social science.

“As soon as you ask a proponent of same-sex marriage, ‘Well, what do you think marriage is?” They are at a loss,” Girgis, a Ph. D. student at Princeton University, said.  “’I know you think it includes same-sex relationships, but what is it such that it includes any two people in love but no other forms of consensual relationships?’”

“Not three people,” George said.  “Not two people who are just tennis partners.”

“And as soon as you do that you immediately clear the brush for all the bad arguments, the arguments that don’t actually get anywhere, like equality, which is just circular and all the rest, and you’ve now got the foundational topic,” Girgis said.  “And the fact is that the wisdom and experience of our 10,000 years of civilization has a much better answer to that question than the last 40 years of the sexual revolution.”

George said that the definition of marriage has slowly eroded in recent decades, citing the rise of no-fault divorce as a reason it has transformed into a mere form of companionship.  The book seeks to fight back the ideology George calls “expressive individualism,” and restore the definition of marriage as a relationship between a man and woman in a “comprehensive union of mind and body ordered to family life.”

“This is an argument in principle,” George said.  “We’ve got a principled basis once you adopt the conjugal view.”

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