In an article by Ross Andersen at The Atlantic, I read:
Evolutionary biologists tell us that we owe the singular bundle of feelings we call “love” to natural selection. As human brains grew larger and larger, the story goes, children needed more and more time to develop into adults that could fend for themselves. A child with two parents around was privy to extra resources and protection, and thus stood a better chance of reaching maturity. The longer parents’ chemical reward systems kept them in love, the more children they could shepherd to reproductive age.
Let me say right away that I have no idea if what ‘evolutionary biologists’ say in this case is solid science or not. (Evolution itself is proven beyond reasonable doubt, but that doesn’t mean that every theory someone has about how a particular behavior developed is well proven). But let’s say, for argument’s sake, that this is true.
It’s interesting to compare this to the arguments made by opponents of marriage equality. On the surface, the evolutionary account of sexual love fits well with the anti-equality account of marriage; just as pair-bonding sexual love evolved to facilitate successful child-rearing, the purpose of marriage, we are told, is to facilitate child-rearing.
But the analogy immediately fails, because when we look at the evolutionary account, what it tells us is that same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples actually have a lot in common. The chemicals that rush through straight couples’ brains when they are in love, which encourage them to stay together and raise children effectively, are the same chemicals that infuse the brains of lesbian and gay couples in love, and can serve the same purpose. In an evolutionary (and chemical) sense, same-sex couples fall in love for the same reasons straight couples do, including the need to facilitate healthy child-rearing.
- Sex, evolution, plasticity and bluebirds
- Same-Sex Marriage is needed to protect children
- Eve responds to me on gay marriage
- Volokh and Galois on same-sex marriage, interracial marriage, and equal protection
- New M. V. Lee Badgett paper: Will Providing Marriage Rights to Same-Sex Couples Undermine Heterosexual Marriage?