It is deeply troubling and disappointing that as a culture, we have now arrived at the point in which a person who believes in the importance and cultural significance of traditional marriage (1 man + 1 woman = marriage), a position that even Barack Obama shared until his recent “evolution,” is now expected to defend their position on the grounds that it is discriminatory, bigoted and homophobic. This was not the case just six years ago: during the 2008 campaign, at a forum held by Pastor Rick Warren at the Saddleback Church in California, then-Senator Obama declared: “I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman, for me, as a Christian, it is also a sacred union.”
There is no doubt that President Obama’s expressed views have changed since that time due to political expediency and opportunity. There is also no doubt that his “change” reflected his truest beliefs on the subject. His opportunism was sufficient to increase his share of the LGBT vote in the 2012 election, and presented Newsweek (the now-defunct magazine) an opportunity to proclaim his beneficence on their cover. Unsurprisingly, the views of numerous other politicians have also changed as opportunity and expediency have presented. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Senators Harry Reid, Rob Portman and Bob Casey have all undergone an “evolutionary” change.
The use of the term “evolution” in conjunction with one’s position on same-sex marriage (SSM) is deeply insulting and offensive. The term implies the progression from a lower to a higher form, implying that anyone opposed to SSM is lower or less evolved than those who support it. This hateful conceit allows SSM proponents to dismiss any arguments by the opposition which may raise valid points: by their logic anyone opposed to SSM is mentally deficient, misogynistic, sexist, patriarchal, racist, bigoted superstitious, religious fanatic, and/or one step removed from Neanderthal. His or her opinions are not worthy of being heard.
Only a short time ago, the mere idea of gay marriage was so unconscionable, so out of the mainstream, so completely out of line with traditional values, morals and beliefs, that to merely speculate about it was to engage in a thought exercise immediately dismissed as impossibly alarmist. I remember bringing it up in high school (less than 20 years ago) and being laughed at as needlessly worried about something “that will never, ever happen in a million years.”
This is the age of rejection, refutation and repudiation. We’ve arrived at a cultural point at which all the facts and norms we have taken as given, as clearly demonstrated, or as natural and logical and good have become outmoded, outdated, turned upside down, and rejected. This is not because they’ve been proven false or inadequate, but because they do not conform to our modern tastes. While the idea that someone who believes that marriage is defined as a union between a man and a woman is a bigot, ignorant, hateful and backward is ludicrous on its face, many people are finding that now, in everyday conversations, they are viewed as being rabidly prejudiced if the conversation turns to the issue, and they voice their opinion that the implementation of same-sex marriage fundamentally alters traditional family values, religious freedom and American culture in ways that cannot be counted as positive or beneficial. The question “What is wrong with them?” becomes the standard sneer of apparatchiks, progressive talking heads, and liberal lawmakers.
However, this concern is not limited to the unwashed, uneducated masses populating the flyover country who are still clinging to their guns and their God. During oral arguments before the Supreme Court challenging Proposition 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriage, Justice Samuel Alito made his disquiet clear when he described gay marriage as newer than such rapidly changing technological advances as cellphones and the Internet, and appeared to advocate a more cautious approach to the issue. “You want us to assess the effect of same-sex marriage,” Alito said to Solicitor General Donald Verrilli. “It may turn out to be a good thing. It may turn out to be not a good thing.” For SSM supporters, this question in and of itself is nonsense: they hold their point of view as sacrosanct and in no need of defense.
Unsurprisingly, proponents of the redefinition of marriage ignore or distort historical precedent in an attempt to bolster their argument. They compare the fight for SSM to the Civil Rights movement, holding up the Stonewall bar riot as equivalent to Rosa Parks refusing to move from her seat on the bus. In doing so, they draw the ire of patriots who marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. Alternatively, they try to form a corollary by clutching desperately to the fact that the court similarly ventured into the unknown in 1967 when it struck down bans on interracial marriage in 16 states. In doing so, they conveniently fail to mention that interracial marriage had existed for centuries globally before Loving v. Virginia and was already widely accepted in much of the United States and across different cultures).
Worse still is the fact that throughout history, as Dennis Prager argues expertly, not one eminent philosopher, religion, or cultural system across the ideological spectrum has ever endorsed the concept of same-sex marriage. Not one.
Historically, marriage always has been understood and accepted as a relationship between a single man and a single woman. Not one major philosophical or religious leader–not Jesus, not Confucius, not Mohammed, not Buddha, not Gandhi–ever even considered the idea. Yet somehow, modern SSM proponents have concluded that this radical and disruptive restructuring of society is not only possible, but necessary. They have decided within the last 40 years, ignoring the previous 9,960 years of human civilization, that the bedrock foundation of social norms and values must be destroyed and rebuilt in order to implement their agenda of redefining the most fundamental social institution the world has ever known. As author Mark Steyn has noted, “I think there is something absurd and ridiculous in an appellate court defining an institution that pre-dates the United States by a couple of millennia.”
There exists today no other challenge to the fabric of society that carries more dangers and more potentially destructive force. With the national implementation of SSM, we will slowly but surely arrive at a point in which religious freedom, parental sovereignty, and freedom of speech will all be effectively curtailed (if not eliminated outright) in order to avoid what is perceived as “hate speech” by SSM’s proponents. A minister will be unable to preach his faith’s view against homosexual acts without the threat of prosecution. Parents will be unable to decide for themselves what views their children will be taught on the role of gays in society. Citizens will be unable to express their opinions freely without fear of recrimination or charges of “hate speech” being leveled against them, chilling discourse. Sadly, many of these things are happening already. Look no further than Canada, where pastors and churches are being prosecuted for preaching the same message they’ve preached for the last 2,000 years.
Regardless of their faith, most mainstream religions and religious believers believe that their faith’s doctrine embraces the traditionally and historically understood definition of marriage. If SSM becomes the law of the land, whether through legislatures or by judicial fiat, where will this leave religious groups who do not accept the redefinition? Will they endanger their tax-exempt status? Will they be targeted by groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center as “hate organizations”? Will they be forced to close their doors or go underground for preaching a faith that does not embrace the new view of marriage? Will they inexorably be changed, degraded, and ultimately destroyed by a society that views them as outdated, out of touch, and out of time? Sadly, it seems increasingly likely that the answer to all these questions is yes.
Doubtless, the intolerance and persecution will not stop at a citizen’s front door. What happens to the child (and her parent) who has the temerity to say at school that she and her family believes in traditional marriage? What happens to family that believes that a Biblical view of morals does not embrace the LGBT lifestyles? What happens to the teacher who doesn’t want to expose young children to such loaded topics such as “GLBT Rights”? What happens to the homeschooling parent? What happens to the Boy Scout troop? Not only are none of these questions are being answered – is it considered bigoted and homophobic to merely ask them!
It may be inevitable that SSM will become legal across the nation. If so, the rationale that went into its implementation will have other consequences that are yet unseen. For example, if the rationale for “marriage” becomes construed as merely “being with the one you love,” what is to prevent changing our laws and statutes to allow a mature woman to marry her equally mature father, brother, or son? What would prevent allowing a man to enter into a consensual sexual relationship with a minor with the approval of that child’s parents? What would prevent changing the law to allow a person to have multiple spouses of varied genders?
If the only impediment to these changes is the existence of laws that could be overturned, by what standard are we to judge the moral certitude of human relationships? Are we instead to remove all values, all morals, and all strictures designed and intended to structure marriage and human relationships in ways that ultimately benefit society, i.e. producing families that are grown over succeeding generations and contribute to the development of communities and humanity at large? Do we simply become “beings” that interact as we choose with other “beings,” with all other distinctions becoming lost to the mists of time?
As a nation that prides itself on valuing the “voice of the people,” let us do just that – listen to the people. In those states in which voters have decided that the protection of the traditional, historical definition of marriage is so important that they have enshrined in their state constitutions, let us respect their decision. In those states which have elected to allow SSM, let us see what develops. Over time, events and circumstances will shine a light on the benefits and drawbacks of SSM, its impact on families, and its effects on society at large, and will allow us as a nation to move past the hypothetical stage. Only this approach will serve to dampen the rhetoric, cool tempers on both sides, and encourage the natural development of a workable solution. Anything else will create a situation in which conflict will flourish.
Proponents of same-sex marriage arrogantly claim that they are on the “right side of history”, but are they on the right side of humanity? Are they on the right side of families, of faith, or freedom? The evidence thus far is murky at best and alarming at worst. We are entering dangerously uncharted waters, with foreboding precedents. A society as large and diverse as ours, with the range of individual liberties we hold sacred as rights has never before undertaken such a drastically profound and monumental change as the redefinition of a cornerstone of society. We would do well to stop, think, and reconsider.