It is what it is. This expression is often used with a shrug in response to some uncorrectable predicament, like a quarterback’s fumbled football; a stolen camera; or a flat tire making one late for a meeting.
But doesn’t the expression also fit situations that have a rock-solid base in reality that can’t be changed by manipulation or novelty, or even legal decree? Like marriage — with finality and without the shrug, we can say it is what it is. It is the covenanted union of one man and woman for life.
This is the understanding of millions on all continents. Even though pockets of disagreement may exist here and there, it can be said that such exceptions only prove the rule.
Therefore, whatever changes might be achieved in language and practice by bullying, or revising laws, or manipulating the media, the bulk of these millions will know in their hearts that marriage is what it is. In their eyes nothing can realistically be added to the above definition.
Most people would also insist that an apple is an apple. It is what it is. For them, even a federal law could not expand the definition of apples to include oranges also — not in reality, not in perception, and not in semantics. Apples and oranges are not the same — never have been, are not now, and never can be.
But certain elements in our society are seeking to force the redefinition of marriage upon our culture. They want to change the definition from its historic reality — one man and one woman in covenant for life. To do so they attempt to use the same word, marriage, to describe the legally bonded union of two men or two women.
But that would be a highly dissimilar union as compared with marriage. It needs a different name — like a contracted domestic agreement.
Recently a politician defended his pro-marriage stance by insisting on this long-accepted definition of marriage: “the union of one man and one woman without exception.” To undergird his point he added: “Marriage is what it is.”
To be sure, ours is a free society and we all have the freedom to relate with one another however we please. Besides, there are other ways people relate with some degree of permanence besides marriage — such as cohabitation or domestic contract. But those ways aren’t marriage.
That is, nature, history and traditions say marriage is an unalterable reality defined by clearly set criteria. The politician referred to above contended that he was advancing the view of marriage that traces as far back as human history can be known, and even governments can’t successfully rewrite deeply grooved history! Marriage is what it is.
There is time for myriads of people to speak up en masse and fight for the reality of marriage as one man and one woman covenanted together for life. For engagement starters there’s the Internet, newspaper columns, family friendly organizations, university courses, and church sponsored seminars. But whether millions do or do not speak up, real marriage is and will continue to be what it is.
(More next week)