In the brave new world, ‘true’ is just another word for ‘feasible’ image

In the brave new world, ‘true’ is just another word for ‘feasible’

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In an important article, Michael Hanby explores the connections between marriage, procreation and reproductive technologies.

The sexual revolution is, at bottom, the technological revolution and its perpetual war against natural limits applied externally to the body and internally to our self-understanding. Just as feminism has as its practical outworking, if not its theoretical core, the technological conquest of the female body—”biology is not destiny,” so the saying goes—so too same-sex marriage has as its condition of possibility the technological mastery of procreation, without which it would have remained permanently unimaginable.

Opponents of same-sex marriage have not always perceived this clearly. They maintain that partisans of ‘marriage equality’ redefine marriage as an affective union which makes the birth and rearing of children incidental to its meaning, a result of the de-coupling of sex and procreation in the aftermath of The Pill. But this is only half true. Since married couples normally can and typically do have children, same-sex unions must retain in principle some form of the intrinsic connection between marriage, procreation and childrearing if they are really to be counted as marriage and to be truly ‘equal’ in the eyes of society and the law. This can only be done by technological means. And so the argument for marriage as an affective union has been buttressed time and again in the courts by the claim that assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs), surrogacy, and the like eliminate any relevant difference between a married man and woman and a same-sex couple, from which it is but a short step to the conclusion that the state has an obligation to secure same-sex couples’ rights and access to these technologies as a condition of their genuine equality.

The whole thing is well worth a read. You can find it here.

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