In the last 15 years, the battle for the definition of marriage has been waged full force. It has supplanted abortion (though they are related to one another) as the principal cultural conflict in our society. The courts, where liberals have had more success, and the electorate, where conservatives have dominated, have both experienced dozens of skirmishes between the warring parties.
Tens of millions of people have voted. Tens of millions of dollars have been spent. Preachers have preached; politicians and pundits have pontificated. The weak and the dispassionate certainly have grown weary. But many have been deceived. For you see, ultimately, this battle is not, nor has it ever been, about marriage.
Dan Brown of the National Organization for Marriage hints at this when, after the Proposition 8 ruling, he declared that, “The goal of this movement is to use the law to reshape the culture so that disagreement with their views on sex and marriage gets stigmatized and repressed like bigotry."
It’s not as if we haven’t been warned. From a column I wrote in 2006:
In December of 2005 The Becket Fund, a nonprofit institute dedicated to protecting freedom of religion, held a conference to discuss the legal ramifications of redefining marriage. Ten of the nation’s top First Amendment scholars, liberal, conservative, and moderate, were brought in to present their views of same-sex marriage and the likely outcomes if it is legalized. As a result of the conference a series of papers was published.
The conference focused on four topics: Can the government force religious institutions to recognize same-sex unions? Can the government withhold benefits, such as tax exemption, from religious institutions that refuse to recognize same-sex unions? How will freedom of religion arguments fare against legal same-sex marriage? What are the effects on biblical (traditional) marriage?
Mark Stern, general counsel for the liberal leaning American Jewish Congress and a supporter of gay marriage, wrote in his paper that, ‘Same-sex marriage would…work a sea change in American law. That change will reverberate across the legal and religious landscape in some ways that are today unpredictable.’ According to Peter Steinfels, writing for The New York Times, what Mr. Stern has in mind are ‘schools, health care centers, social service agencies, summer camps, homeless shelters, nursing homes, orphanages, retreat houses, community centers, athletic programs and private businesses or services that operate by religious standards, like kosher caterers and marriage counselors.’
George Washington law professor Jonathan Turley, also a supporter of gay marriage, in his Becket paper noted that, ‘As states accept same-sex marriage and prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, conflicts will grow between the government and discriminatory organizations. There will be many religious-based organizations that will refuse to hire individuals who are homosexual or members of a same-sex marriage. If those individuals are holding a state license of marriage or civil union, it will result in a discriminatory act that was not only based on sexual orientation, but a lawful state status.’
Doug Kmiec, professor of constitutional law at Pepperdine University, and an opponent of gay marriage, participated in the Becket conference and wrote, ‘Were federal equal protection or substantive due process to be construed to require states to license same-sex marriage, those who have profound moral or religious objection to the social affirmation of homosexual conduct would be argued to be the out-liers of civil society.’ Therefore, he argues that churches could be targeted for legal penalties and disadvantages as were universities that participated in racial discrimination decades ago.
He adds that, ‘This is hardly a far-fetched (idea), as apparently one of the main aspirations of the homosexual movement is retaliation against the defenders of traditional marriage.’
There you have it. Marriage is just the means to a more sinister end for the homosexual movement. This is about sex and about legitimizing, through the American judicial system, a sexual lifestyle many Americans find immoral. And, as Kmiec implies, this is also about vengeance.
As one supporter of gay marriage has put it, it’s not as if most (especially male) homosexuals are interested in (traditional) marriage anyway. “There are many gays and lesbians who strongly value the right to marry, but few (none, more or less) who think of it as a gay ideal to have relationships that are as close as possible to the traditional hetero myth/ideal. The possibilities for different types of relationships have been common currency in the gay community and gay press for as long as there has been an open gay community.”
Once the homosexual community has the law behind it, the full force of the federal government will be at their disposal. Their lust for revenge will have little to restrain it. Churches, schools, private businesses, and organizations of all types who object to homosexuality would be not only “out-liers of civil society” but also out-liers of the law. Above all, Christians who see homosexuality as a sin will be squarely in the crosshairs of the homosexual community.
Again, if you think this is far-fetched, consider the case of Dale McAlpine, a Baptist preacher in England. He was arrested in May of this year under the Public Order Act for causing “harassment, alarm or distress,” and “using abusive or insulting language” by calling homosexuality a sin.
Also, consider the case of U.S. evangelist Shawn Holes, who was arrested in Glasgow, Scotland, on March 18 of this year for remarks that were deemed “homophobic.” (See, The Dumbest Word in the English Language: Homophobia.) Just as with universal health care and staggering federal debt, Europe has preceded the U.S. down the progressive path of legitimizing homosexuality, and again gives us a glance into what lies ahead for America.
Marriage, as God created it, is the foundation of every institution that the world has ever known. Thus, at the foundation of any great nation there must be a healthy view of and a great respect for marriage. Strong and healthy marriages lead to strong and healthy families. Strong and healthy families lead to strong and healthy communities. Strong and healthy communities lead to strong and healthy churches, schools, businesses, governments, and so on. Each of these institutions lies at the heart of a great nation.
Outside of an individual’s relationship with his or her Creator, the priority relationship in the universe is the husband/wife relationship. If this foundational relationship is redefined, the consequences for our nation will be staggering.
Trevor Thomas resides in Gainesville, GA with his wife and four small children. He has a bachelor’s degree in physics and two graduate degrees in mathematics education. He has taught high school mathematics in public and private schools for the last 17 years and has written opinion columns for the last nine years. www.trevorgrantthomas.com
The CJS Forum seeks to promote an open exchange of ideas about the relationship between faith, culture, law and public policy. While all the articles are original and written especially for the CJS Forum, they do not necessarily reflect the views of the Center for a Just Society.
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