April 24, 2024

Gay Marriage Poison Pill: Equality or Abolition

Michael Lindenberger of Time says that civil unions are the way to break out of the quagmire that gay marriage activists find themselves in, giving voice to the lies that the word marriage means nothing and that a church wedding after the fact would have all the same meaning for couples.

give gay and straight couples alike the same license, a certificate confirming them as a family, and call it a civil union — anything, really, other than marriage. For people who feel the word marriage is important, the next stop after the courthouse could be the church, where they could bless their union with all the religious ceremony they wanted. Religions would lose nothing of their role in sanctioning the kinds of unions that they find in keeping with their tenets.

Lindenberger jokes that the biggest problem with such a reorganization of legal coupling would be knowing how to decide on the proper Hallmark card for the occasion.  That’s hardly the case. 

The real matter at hand is the poison pill that is the last resort of the gay marriage activists and the hidden threat at the center of their equal protection argument:  If homosexual couples can’t have traditional marriage then no one can.

If implemented, Lindenberger’s legalistic compromise would satisfy no one, least of all gay rights activists who want nothing more than to force society to change its definition of marriage to include homosexual couples.  “I didn’t come to the courthouse to be civil unioned,” one such activist cried on NPR last year, which demonstrates part of the problem with California’s search for the middle ground.

The other part is, of course, the entire span of of recorded human history in which marriage has been a covenant entered into by men and women.  Heterosexual marriage is the building block on which America is based.  Tampering with that definition is not only akin to swimming upstream, culturally speaking, but biologically as well, the facts of life being what they are. 

Lindenberger doesn’t address this key issue.  Instead, he quotes a pair of Pepperdine law professors, one of whom is Ken Starr of Clinton-gate infamy, as saying the issue is one of the afore-mentioned equal protection under the law.

Certainly that is what gay rights activists would like it to be – a textbook case of homosexuals being denied a fundamental human right.  If this were the case, they reason, courts would be forced to rule for them despite the negative repercussions of such activisim.

One problem with this argument is that law is by definition the affirmation of the rights of some and the denial of the rights of others.  Thieves, speeders, forgers, rapists, murderers, embezzlers, inside traders, child molesters, jay walkers, and drug addicts, to name just a few of the classes of people modern society discriminates against, are all denied the right to do things that they deem appropriate.  Why?  Society does not find these activities to be desirable and it has always claimed the right to reject arguments to the contrary.

A second problem is that the things that homosexual couples are being denied – and they are being denied something, make no mistake – are the very things that society is unlikely ever to bestow on them, regardless of legal rulings: respectability and acceptance.  No judge’s decision can ever bring about that outcome because it is not a legal matter.

A third issue is one of precedent.  Giving legal recognition to homosexual unions would also give added legal standing to other gay rights issues that society at large wants to discourage, gay adoption and procreation through artificial insemination and/or surrogates, to name two.

Legally it is possible to argue that the last two of these are irrelevant to the issue at hand.  However, the purpose of the law is judge between the behaviors desired by the citizens of a nation and those that are not, affirming the former and discouraging the latter using punishment as a deterrent.

Homosexuality falls into a gray area here in that it does not make sense to treat sexual preference as a criminal matter.  While society does in fact want to reduce or eliminate homosexuality, using the law to do so would be beyond the pale, a throwback to darker, more hateful days and a gross rejection of people who have done nothing wrong.  By the same token, the use of the law to force the acceptance of homosexuality on an unwilling populace is equally beyond the purpose – and capability – of the justice system.

Gay rights activists frequently compare homosexual and interracial marriage as if they were equivalent in order to demonstrate legal precedent for their argument.  Yet there is a critical difference: interracial marriage has demonstrable benefits for society in terms of racial integration and increased population.  Legalized gay marriage would grant legal succor to a small segment of society and injure the rest by dealing a crushing blow to the institution of traditional marriage, battered and unappreciated as it already is by liberal America.

American society exists because of the people’s right, through the government, to define right from wrong – on its own terms.  That’s how this country came into being and that is how it’s supposed to govern itself.  The people have spoken time and again on this subject, perhaps most clearly in California when Prop 8 passed.  To reject the people’s right to determine societal mores is to reject the very concept of justice itself.

Indeed, this right of self-determination – perhaps the most definitive aspect of this nation’s founding principles –  itself provides the true remedy to the issue of gay marriage.  As of late it is now legal for homosexual couples to marry in Connecticut.  While I am pleased to live in another state where that’s not the case, it’s Connecticut’s right to define its own set of standards, whether Texas agrees or not.  So be it, for citizens of both states.


Marc is a software developer, writer, and part-time political know-it-all who currently resides in Texas in the good ol' U.S.A.

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