by Elgin Hushbieck, Jr.A supporter of same sex marriage recently asked me, “Why should I care what two people do in the privacy of their bedroom?” It is a common question and even a valid one in some contexts, but it has nothing to do with same-sex marriage, except that it encapsulates a great deal of the problems with this issue.
To see this just consider the following fact, and it is a fact: The recent Supreme Court ruling forcing states to accept same-sex marriage across the country had absolutely no effect on what people could or could not do in the privacy of their bedroom. None.
A major reason for this is that marriage is not a private matter, is it a public commitment, and a societal construct. As someone who has been concerned about what author Maggie Gallagher described as “The Abolition of Marriage” long before same-sex marriage was even on the horizon, much less a pressing issue, I approached this debate as yet another in a long line of attacks on marriage, and in many respects one of the final nails in the coffin of marriage, if not the final.
While I believe there is an important religious component to marriage, religion was not the primary factor in my views. After all, the traditional view of marriage is hardly restricted to evangelical Christians, it is about as universal as any human convention as ever been. Even in societies that had no objection to homosexuality, marriage was still between and man and a woman. The main social experiment was with polygamy, but that seems to be driven more by male desire than family values and was at least until recently seen as undesirable at best, and degrading to women. We are already seeing signs of people pressing for this and other forms of marriage. Given the so-called “legal reasoning” of the decision, I do not seen any way to prevent it, and therein lies the problem.
Something that can mean anything means nothing; that is pretty much where we are today, with the only thread remaining being a grouping of 2. But, given that historically there is more foundation for polygamy, I cannot see how that will be able to stand for long. Marriage will end up being anything and thus will be nothing. It will effectively have been abolished.
Neither do I believe this is at all accidental. Serious thinkers on the left have attacked the traditional family and called for its weakening or elimination as a barrier to the state from the beginning, though the intellectual backing for this is largely unknown by the rank and file liberals.
To them it is just about people (currently two) in love. But if this is the case, why has the traditional family been such a feature of every culture and every time period until now? The main reason has been the raising to children, who it was believed needed a good father and a good mother.
Today we are told that this is no longer true. That the only thing needed is love. While love is certainly important, this is yet another example of ideology trumping reason and the facts. Its core foundational belief, while a mantra for the left from the late 1960s–1990s, is that men and women are the same. Most people have noticed the difference between the sexes from the beginning of humanity. But that did not keep the belief they are essentially the same from becoming an important tenant that lies behind much of modern leftism. It remains a key underpinning, even today and long after science confirmed common sense by refuting this idea.
It is this false idea, that there is no difference between men and women that underpins the notion that the only thing you need is love which has governed so much of the left’s attack on traditional values. After all once you admit there is a difference, then it becomes clear that a mother and a father bring different things to the raising of children, and if you allow for this, then you have a reasonable basis for traditional marriage.
Intellectually this is a death blow to the campaign for same-sex marriage. Its imposition by the courts was grounded on the false belief that the only possible opposition could be homophobia, and this could only be true if there was no basis for traditional marriage, that there fundamentally was no difference between men and women.
The lasting effect of individual same-sex couples getting married will be nil simply because, other than qualifying for social security benefits, little has changed for them. The social effects, on the other hand, will be to both to hasten and lock in the destruction of the traditional family. The message society sends to the next generation will now be that traditional marriage, rather than being the preferred option, will be just one of many social groupings one can engage in. Again, this was already going on long before same-sex marriage became an issue, and the deleterious effects will only be hastened and magnified, though probably still ignored, as they consistently have been.
In addition, there will be the further segmenting of society. Those who do not wish to jump on the bandwagon of the left, those who believe that men and women are different, and that marriage is between a man and a woman, will find it increasingly difficult to live in society. There will be a growing list of professions where those with traditional beliefs will be banned. We are already seeing it deepen the divide in churches and even splitting some churches. And undoubtedly this will hasten the exodus from public schools further segmenting society. In short, this will not unify the country, this will further split and alienate a very large and significant part of the population.
When the court attempted to settle the abortion issue in 1973, they instead created a political cancer that has infected much of politics since that time. I fear that they have done the same thing here, but time will tell.