In a conversation with a friend about gay marriage I tried to make the following analogy to explain my position against so-called “Gay Marriage.”
I said that the roles of men and women in raising children overlap to a large degree. There are lots of things that men do now when parenting that our fathers and grandfathers did not do. We change diapers, we give baths, we cook and clean baby’s clothes, etc. Although in past generations these were things that women did mostly, today’s men are parenting in ways that some could arguably define as female gender oriented. BUT, does that make today’s men “mothers?” I would say absolutely not. Because although male parenting has changed in the United States over the past 2-3 generations to encompass more “mothering” kinds of activity, one cannot help but conclude that a male parent brings a male-ness into parenting that cannot be confused, and which negates the possible redefinition to include a male parent under the definition of “mother.” Although the overlap is greater than during the generation of our grandfathers, the two roles - “mother” and “father” can never be interchangeable, because men will always lack that natural femaleness that in necessary for a woman to be a real mother.
In the same way, I argued, marriage and “gay” unions may share some similar characteristics. But the two states can never fully overlap because, as a matter of human nature, the same-sex union is unable to fulfill (and indeed closed off from) that basic function of a marriage - procreation.