The power of ideology to cause people to waste huge sums of time and money on the irrelevant never ceases to amaze me. When it results in the needless oppression of other people it is particularly unfortunate.
I recently caught some of a Booknotes presentation on C-SPAN, from Glenn T. Stanton on his new book, Marriage on Trial: The Case Against Same-Sex Marriage.1 Stanton has written before about the importance of marriage. In fact, I myself have written of the importance of strong, committed marriages (see 2.15 Sex, Relationships, & Marriage, paragraphs 2.15.13 to 2.15.17).2 That's why I would advocate them for homosexuals too, unlike Stanton.
When it came to gay marriage, Stanton brought up the typical points about redefining marriage and it being a social experiment, and it being harmful to children, unnatural, so on and so on. I’ll not go into them all here, as it would be tedious and pointless. For more specific refutations of these assertions, there are plenty of online sources I’ve found to be sound and reasonable, including HERE.3 Every single argument for restricting marriage solely to heterosexuals is plainly nonsensical and flawed - obviously the mere result of a carefully-masked psychological and cultural distaste of the concept. Such farces of argument are undeserving of serious response.
What is serious is the threat to personal liberty and the effects on real people’s lives that is at stake. Allow gay marriage and some conservative’s life with his or her spouse is entirely unaffected, other than being irritated needlessly about other people’s business. But ban it and real individuals seeking to enjoy the status and legal benefits of their personal relationships and families are affected – the quality of their lives directly impacted.
According to a recent Associated Press article,4 the Senate will be considering a gay marriage ban. The measure has little chance of passing since all but one Democrat and even a few Republicans are against it. But it isn’t as if enough legal harm hasn’t been done already. As Senator Joseph Biden (D-Del) said, “We already have a law, the Defense of Marriage Act. ... Nobody has violated that law. There's been no challenge to that law. Why do we need a constitutional amendment?” I think it is interesting to note that in most cases amendments to the constitution have been to expand personal liberty, not shrink them. Here, after more than two centuries we have only seen it necessary to amend our constitution 27 times - and this is what they are thinking would make a good 28th?
In the online summary of the C-SPAN presentation5, Stanton claims that the debate on same-sex marriage has been “poisoned in a negative way” that casts opponents as “hateful, homophobic, bigots.” Perhaps that’s because it is difficult to imagine other examples of someone legitimately seeking to tell other people how they can live, even through legislation, where they themselves aren’t affected in any way. Perhaps it is because its difficult to imagine any other motivation for such outrageous behavior other than hate, ignorance, or unfounded bias.
1) Amazon page: Marriage on Trial: LINK
2) 2.15 Sex, Relationships, & Marriage: LINK
3) Human Rights Campaign: LINK
4) Senate to Tackle Gay Marriage Ban: LINK
5) C-SPAN Booknotes summary: Marriage on Trial: LINK