Margaret Thatcher once wrote,
“Whether it is in the United States or in mainland Europe, written constitutions have one great weakness. That is that they contain the potential to have judges take decisions which should properly be made by Democratically elected politicians.”
Today, that “great weakness” is being exploited by gay advocates and judicial activists who are attempting to radically alter the definition of marriage. Just as Justice Scalia predicted in his dissenting opinion in Lawrence v. Texas, courts in Massachusetts and a mayor in San Francisco with the tacit approval of liberal judges, are defying the will of the voters and imposing gay marriage by fiat.
One could make the case that per the First Amendment, the government has absolutely no right to fundamentally alter the definition of a religious ceremony to begin with. But since that argument has little chance of succeeding in an age where the government outstripping the powers given to it by the Constitution is the rule, not the exception, I think it’s worth pointing out that state legislatures & voters, not imperious judges or a mayor acting like the head of a banana republic, should be the ones to make this sort of momentous decision.
Since that is the reality we face, I think Bush’s decision to pursue a Constitutional Amendment to preserve marriage is the right one because this issue is not going away. Given the Supreme Court’s ruling in Lawrence v. Texas, it’s entirely possible that we’re one SCOTUS decision away from having marriage irrevocably transformed, no matter what the American people believe or desire.
Despite the situation we’re in, some people who are against gay marriage will assert that a Constitutional Amendment is the wrong way to address this issue. But, we must deal with things as they are, not as we wish them to be. If our choices are either to allow the courts to impose an iconoclastic change to the institution of marriage or to amend the Constitution to reflect the wishes of the vast majority of the American people, and those do appear to be our choices, then the latter is without question preferable.
But of course, the debate is not just about the “how,” it’s about “why”? Why should President Bush attempt to push through a Constitutional Amendment that will block gay marriages? Well, let’s be honest here, this isn’t JUST about gay marriage. If gay marriage becomes the law of the land, polygamy and marriages between adult members of the same family are not going to be far behind. In fact, because of historical precedence, I believe you can actually make a better case for polygamy than you can for gay marriage. Many people will deny that, but throughout the years, as we’ve slid further and further down the slippery slope towards gay marriage, the obvious truth about what was happening was always staunchly denied by most of the liberal establishment. So what of it some people may say? If two men want to marry, a man wants 10 wives, or if anadopted brother and sister want to be joined together in holy matrimony, what’s the problem with that?
I think for Christians, “it’s against my religion” would be an entirely appropriate response. However, while that response may be appropriate, it does not sufficiently convey the scope of the problem presented by gay marriage.
We must remember that marriage is the bedrock upon which not only our society, but societies across the world are founded. Men and women, bound together through marriage, working as a team to raise their children, have proven absolutely essential to the success of our nation. This becomes obvious when we ponder the price our society has paid for allowing the institution of marriage to be weakened in the past. Poverty, surging crime rates, drug abuse, violence, and the mental anguish often suffered by illegitimate children or kids who go through a divorce have cost our society dearly and will continue to do so. When one considers the horrific cost of illegitimacy and divorce to our society, the rational response would be to try to strengthen the institution of marriage. But instead, we’re talking about making subversive changes that will quite likely have a devastating negative impact on our society down the road.
There are of course those who scoff at that notion and in one sense, they have a point. I sincerely doubt if you’re going to see a lot of long lasting, stable, marriages break-up if the definition of marriage is altered. However, as marriage continues to lose its “specialness,” as it changes from a sacred, once in a lifetime event that little girls start planning from the time they’re young, to just something the government makes you do if you want benefits at work, less people will bother to get married. You simply cannot fundamentally metamorphose a tradition more than a millenia old in the courts without producing this effect.
Moreover, the attempts by advocates of gay marriage to denigrate the institution as it exists today are not only callow & colossally arrogant, they are quite telling. If someone wants to make the case that everyone from Jesus, to George Washington, to practically every American who ever lived up until say 20 years ago, is a racist, bigot, pig because they believed marriage is between a man and woman, so be it. But, everyone from polygamists, to adults engaged in incest, to even those who want to marry the dead, could effectively make the same claim using that sort of logic. So why go down that road? Because we’re talking about myopic people who are more concerned with getting their way than the consequences of their actions. If trashing the institution of marriage is the price of getting their way, that’s a price they’re willing to pay.
In any case, Americans who believe it’s essential to preserve marriage have to decide whether they’re going to support a Constitutional Amendment or whether they’re going to stand by and allow the definition of marriage to be arbitrarily changed by our judiciary. That’s a decision that each person will have to make individually. But, before you decide which way you’re going to come down on this issue, ask yourself an important question; if marriage isn’t worth fighting for with every tool the US Constitution provides to us, then what is?