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Jewish World Review /May 18, 1998 / 22 Iyar, 5758

Don Feder

Don Feder Giuliani's assault on marriage

IT'S ALWAYS NICE to have initial impressions confirmed. I had New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani's number from the start. He is an amoral pragmatist who is willing to wreck society's infrastructure to advance his political fortunes. His push to grant full legal status to unmarried couples, heterosexual and homosexual, proves this beyond a shadow of a doubt.

When the former U.S. attorney was first elected, conservative friends in New York were saying: "Sure he's awful on abortion and school choice, but hey, he'll make the streets safe again. We're living in a jungle here. We can't afford to be too fussy about all of these extraneous issues."

And Giuliani, to his credit, has done a satisfactory job of polishing the Apple.

But, guess what? The family ain't an incidental issue. Anything that undermines it, by detracting from its deservedly special status, will be gasoline on the fires of social pathology, sending crime, disease and welfare indices soaring.

Under the Giuliani proposal, pending before the city council, two people can register as domestic partners at city hall. This will give them full marital rights under municipal law, in such areas as public housing and burial in city cemeteries.

Lessening the legal deference historically afforded marriage undercuts the family. What differentiates marriage from other living arrangements is continuity and commitment.

A task force established by former San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos defined domestic partners as, "Two people who have chosen to share all aspects of each other's lives in an intimate and committed relationship of mutual caring and love." Sounds like a Hallmark card (for domestic partners day?).

But if there's one thing a relationship lacks, it's commitment. If New York adopts the measure, a couple who meet in a bar one evening and do the mattress mambo can proceed to city hall the next morning and claim the same benefits as the husband and wife with four kids and a mortgage, who married in St. Patrick's Cathedral 30 years before.

When one domestic partnership ends, the next can be contracted with equal ease and convenience.

It's too bad most politicians are driven by the need to appease interest groups. If they weren't, they might understand that there is an organic wisdom in institutions which have weathered the ages.

We honor marriage and afford it special status because it is the crucible of civilization. In this institution, the anarchic urges of young men are domesticated. Their drives are harnessed to society's ends (procreation and nurturing the next generation). Their labor acquires a purpose beyond self-gratification, hence a nobility.

It is manifestly in society's interests to create a stable environment in which children can be raised (brought from savagery to civilized behavior).

Only marriage, where two people are united by more than expediency or momentary infatuation, fills this bill. The Bible speaks of husband and wife, mother and father (their duties and the honor due them), not domestic partners.

Will liberals never learn? Social conventions, legislated and unwritten, aren't just nice nods-of-the-head. They actually have consequences.

Take sex. Sometime in the '60s, liberals decided that marriage wasn't a necessary prerequisite to coitus. Not that premarital and extramarital intercourse hadn't been going on for as long as people were people. But in this era, those who establish societal standards determined that fornication and shacking up should no longer carry a stigma.

Bastards became out-of-wedlock children. Fornicators became consenting adults. Shacking up became cohabitation. Homosexuals became gay. People stopped making love and started having sex. And everyone got carnal knowledge.

As a direct result, rates of crime, illegitimacy, divorce, welfare and venereal disease soared. What did we expect, the Magic Kingdom with body oil and a Victoria's Secret catalog?

Having changed the way society views sex outside marriage, liberals (of which Giuliani most certainly is one, where it really counts) have now set about to degrade the institution itself, by raising relationships to the same plane as unions sanctified by faith and tradition.

Pundits are saying the mayor's move signals his intention to run for governor or senator next, and not president (where such positions would preclude his nomination by the Republican Party). In a state that elected Mario Cuomo governor three times, Guiliani has excellent prospects.


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©1998, Boston Herald; distributed by Creators Syndicate, Inc.