In California, voters are preparing to decide the fate of Proposition 8, a measure that would knock down the California Supreme Court’s 4-3 ruling from earlier this year that homosexuals have a right to marriage. Observers are waiting to see if a similar backlash develops in Connecticut, where that state’s supreme court handed down a similar decision this month.
Are these cases of judicial activism gone awry? Do gays and lesbians deserve the same rights as their heterosexual neighbors? And how will gay marriage change America? Ben Boychuk and Joel Mathis, the RedBlueAmerica columnists, jump into the fray.
The expansion of marriage rights to homosexual couples might be the best news in America right now.
During times of turbulence, the ability to take refuge in family, to rely on partners — and to be legally entitled to do so — becomes even more important. Gay marriage, far from being a destabilizing force, may well provide a much-needed extra layer of security to thousands of American families during this time of deepening economic woe. That’s a development that conservatives and liberals alike should celebrate.
Some critics will continue to complain about "judicial activism." But if marriage is a right — and it is — then no legislature or referendum should be able to deny it to any committed, loving couple in a consensual adult relationship. It’s proper that courts uphold that right for everybody.
That’s not to say that everybody has to love gay marriage, nor that churches should be required to recognize relationships they regard as sinful. But your neighbor’s gay marriage should have absolutely no impact on your own.
Social conservatives warn that the expansion of marriage rights will cause social instability. That will be true only if conservatives, in their huffiness, turn their prediction into a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The push for same-sex marriage has little to do with tolerance or equal rights or vanquishing discrimination. Few people believe gays and lesbians deserve anything less than to live as they please. But the courts and politicians are well beyond live-and-let-live, and have set about imposing a worldview on Americans that most people would rather do without.
A commercial by the Prop. 8 campaign in California captures the arrogance of the pro-gay marriage side brilliantly. The ad features San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom at a rally following the state Supreme Court’s landmark decision in May: "The door’s wide open now," Newsom gloats. "It’s gonna happen, whether you like it or not."
But redefining marriage will have unintended consequences, including consequences some of the more starry-eyed proponents of gay marriage won’t like.
Consider what California has already done. As the Associated Press reported earlier this month, the words "bride" and "groom" will reappear on marriage license applications issued in California starting next month. The health department bureaucrats in June issued new gender-neutral marriage forms with the words "Party A" and "Party B" where "bride" and "groom" used to be. The change was too much, too soon.
Funny how dehumanizing "equality" can be.
Gay marriage says that the natural family is dispensable. It isn’t. Fundamentally redefining ancient institutions means destroying old norms. Take fathers out of the picture, or mothers, or say simply that any two parents will do, and that will undermine society. We’ve seen it happen before. It will happen again. Whether you like it or not.
(Ben Boychuk and Joel Mathis blog daily at http://www.infinitemonkeysblog.com and http://politics.pwblogs.com.)