Question for Maggie About Marriage:

Maggie: Thanks for guest-blogging with us this week. You raise some great questions. Historically, you are correct when you state:

Sex makes babies, Society needs babies, babies need mothers and fathers.

My question (and I am genuinely asking--I think that this is an unusually difficult issue to which I certainly don't have any easy answer): if marriage arises from procreation, what impact does modern reproductive technology have on the definition of marriage? With invitro fertilization, sex is no longer a necessary condition for producing a baby. Two women could have a baby with donated sperm; two men could have a baby using a surrogate. At that point you have procreation and two parents, just not male and female.

My current thinking, for what its worth, is that the best argument in favor of traditional marriage may be a Hayekian (and perhpas Oakeshottian) one--marriage by long and western tradition has been one man and one woman, and that the long-lived and widespread nature of the tradition gives rise to a presumption that should be rebutted only by relatively strong evidence.

[If you are interested in my thinking on the issue of same-sex marriage, my thoughts are continued under the hidden text]

Now Maggie's response may simply be that we should place greater limits on the use of alternative reproductive technologies or encourage a return to greater household specialization. But I would be interested in hearing how she wrestles with the issues raised by modern technologies that uncouple procreation from male-female sex and the implied male-female child rearing that results.