Today, Public Discourse features an article by First Things board member David Novak titled “Why We Should Oppose Same-Sex Marriage”:

By calling attention to the traditional origins and character of marriage, I am not arguing from or even for the authority of tradition. Instead, I am asserting that a tradition—in our case at hand, the tradition in the West of marriage being a union between a woman and a man—has good reasons for being limited to heterosexual couples, thus excluding all other relationships, such as homosexual couples or polygamous or polyandrous arrangements.

In what follows I argue for these reasons, that is, for the continued rational validity of traditional marriage, both for what it includes and what it has to exclude. That means explicating and arguing for the purpose or end ( telos ) of marriage itself. Accordingly, I shall try to show that the traditional restriction of marriage to two persons of different sex is not arbitrarily discriminatory, thus making it essentially different from prejudiced, irrational segregation or exclusion.

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