Another update on the Marriage Map: the family as a “natural society based on marriage”

Italy-Emblem_svg_copyWe have to modify our marriage map yet again. A discussion with an eminent Italian lawyer has convinced us that Italy should be shown on this map in dark green, distinguishing it as one of the countries that provide constitutional protection to marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

The relevant provision is found in Article 29, first sentence, of the Italian Constitution:

“La Repubblica riconosce i diritti della famiglia come società naturale fondata sul matrimonio.”

In English this means:

“The Republic recognizes the rights of the family as natural society founded on marriage.”

The provision by far predates contemporary debates on same-sex “marriages” – it has been there since the Constitution was enacted in 1947.

Although it does not explicitly define marriage, it cannot – our interlocutor explained to us – be interpreted in any other way than by restricting the meaning of “marriage” to a union of a man and a woman.

But the provision, short as it is, does much more than that. In the very first place it recognizes the (quite undeniable) fact that the family is pre-existent to the State: it existed as an institution before the State was there, and it will still exist when the State will exist no more. And why is that so? Because the family owes its existence to procreation and descent, i.e. to purely natural facts.  It is therefore not the State that can “make” the family, or to which the “family” owes its existence. Rather, it is the families that make the State.

Once this is understood, it immediately becomes clear why the idea of same-sex “marriages” and homosexual “rainbow families” is irreconcilable with the Italian Constitution: such “families” would not be “natural societies”, but legal artifices. The State could not “recognize”, but would have to “make”, them. But the point of the constitutional provision is that the State is not allowed to fabricate or recognize such artifices. A law providing for same-sex “marriages” would therefore be seen as unconstitutional.

Seldom have we found the idea of “family” expressed in so few words – and with such elegance!

The correct version of our Marriage Map therefore looks like this:

marriage_map 141202

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