A reader writes:
Ross is just rationalizing a desire to hold on to an emotional image. He's made a cup out of string and wonders why it doesn't hold water.
Even old-school Catholics don't think marriage is about HAVING children. They think it's about RAISING children. Except for those that are so hardcore that they don't believe in adoption (they exist, but the rest of us ignore them). And when was the last time the Church ordered a divorce for a couple who found they couldn't get pregnant?
None of the other social and legal associations to marriage -- power of attorney, family names, the sense that a couple is "really" together -- are tied to childrearing. They've been there separately, even back when marriage was about property, and marriage is still the only way to get them. I don't know any childless straight couple about whom people think "Oh, they're not really married. Not really." The very idea is ridiculous.
The only reason marriage has traditionally been male-female is because most heterosexuals have traditionally been sour on homosexuality, for religious or other reasons. Take that away, as seems to be slowly but surely happening, and this tie disappears. There are still plenty of people who just flat don't approve of homosexuality. The group is shrinking, and good riddance. But they're the only ones with an intellectually honest argument against gay marriage. Anybody else is fooling themselves.
Ross is gazing despairingly at an ebbing tide. If he'd just walk forward a few feet he'd realize the ocean is still there. If you want to put marriage on a pedestal, go ahead, but don't do it because the spouses are heterosexual. Do it because they have figured out how to make marriage work. Because they raised awesome children, adopted or not. Because they work together to be a force for good in the world. You know, some reason that actually matters.