Melanie Phillips and her conservative-minded allies want us all to give priority to what is natural and traditional when it comes to our love lives. That’s fine with me.
Unfortunately, marriage is not natural. Romantic love is natural. Sex because it feels good, with a member of either gender, is natural. For example, penguins, as Ms Phillips helpfully referenced in her now-famous article, raise children together in same-sex pairs. Dolphins have sex purely for the fun of it. Human beings love romantically. Human beings of the same gender have been having romantic and sexual relationships as far back as 2,400BC. In fact, it seems that the most unnatural thing about modern day relationships in Britain happened in 1215, when the Catholic Church decided that an officially authorised document, legally binding you to one other person of the opposite gender, forever, was required before you could get close (and often before women were allowed to do, own, or feel, well, anything whatsoever).
Not that there’s anything wrong with marriage. It doesn’t harm anybody. People can, and should be free to, arrange their relationships under whatever conditions they like. I’m not prejudiced. Hey, some of my best friends are married! In fact, I’ve always been just a little bit curious if one day I might like to give it a try myself.
Natural, though? It’s about as natural as microwave dinners.