In a way, it was far more discouraging to see the New York legislature pass a gay-marriage bill than it was to see the now-familiar rogue judicial declarations, like those in Massachusetts, California, and Iowa. While constitutionally preferable to judicial imposition, New York’s statute is far more culturally distressing, a symbol not of a judicial overreach but of a more fundamental cultural change. The democratic process (yes, I know there was horse-trading and money involved) worked, and the elected legislature of New York performed its constitutional function. And in so doing, they struck yet another blow for self-indulgence and for adult-focused self-actualization.
Gay marriage is the child of no-fault divorce, which was itself born of the sexual revolution. In a time when the hard-earned experience of two full generations of sexual experimentation have taught us unequivocally that the two-parent, mother-father household is our nation’s best bulwark against abuse, poverty, addiction, and criminality, we should be moving away from the notion that our culture and our lives are best-served by legally protecting sexual experimentation and tinkering with the institution of marriage. Instead, we have scrutinized the cultural toll and said, “More, please.” After all, the heart wants what it wants, and we shouldn’t be unfair in doling out the sexual goodies.
Gay marriage proponents speak the language of liberty, but so often one form of liberty (sexual liberty) is granted while other forms (free speech, religious freedom) are taken away. In the liberal definition of “diversity” there is room for many sexual practices but only one way of thinking. Thus, we now live in a world where the state attempts to force Catholic charities to place children in same-sex families, college students are punished for speaking against same-sex parenting, graduate students are thrown out of college for refusing to morally affirm homosexual sex, tax exemptions are denied when churches don’t make their property available for gay weddings, and social work licenses threatened merely because a school counselor supported a state marriage amendment. In each of these cases, enumerated constitutional liberties were threatened for the sake of protecting a state-approved idea — the idea that there should be no moral distinctions drawn between homosexual and heterosexual relationships.
When it comes to marriage, we know the institution that predates the state itself — the two-parent, mother-father household — is an enduring bulwark and building block of civilization of itself. We also know that experimentation with and deviation from that form has caused an enormous amount of national suffering. And yet millions of Americans celebrated New York’s latest marriage experiment. I fear that we’ll continue to reap the cultural whirlwind of our own selfishness.