The results of the 2004 election have left us with one indisputable fact: an overwhelming majority of Americans oppose gay marriage. For all the fulminations and (to borrow a phrase from Karl Rove) bloviations of the left, we are left with a clear and convincing – and at least on a state by state basis, unanimous – verdict.
Now that the election is over and the returns are in, (and having lost overwhelmingly), liberals are returning to what they consider more friendly terrain – the courtroom. In state after state they are now appealing to judges to overturn, throw out and/or otherwise find “unconstitutional” these duly passed, citizen approved constitutional amendments, (most recently successfully so in Nebraska). This from pretty much the same crowd that is heard shouting “every vote should count,” (even in cases where they are legally suspect).
This makes perfect sense however, as liberalism’s victories rarely come at the ballot box, but rather through the hyper-activism of the judiciary. No thinking person can reasonably suggest that the individuals who wrote our Constitution, much less those in the various states who approved and ratified it, in any way felt that they were putting into place something that could be construed as allowing such a fundamental societal institution as marriage to be arbitrarily changed without so much as a vote of the people.
Traditional marriage (involving one husband and one wife) has, throughout the course of the last several thousand years, proved itself to be the most effective institution ever devised to promote the stability and continuity of civilized society. Not to mention the most stable environment for the raising and nurturing of the next generation of our citizenry, (no small item). In light of that successful history, to suggest that you can suddenly change its definition and not expect, or at least admit to the possibility of, negative consequences on society is naïve at best and disingenuous at worst.
The arguments put forward by the left for changing the definition of marriage simply ignore and attempt to divert attention away from the sheer mass of unintended consequences that are likely to develop with any such change. They say these are loving couples who simply want to share their lives together. (Fine, but don’t ask the state to sanction it.) They offer stories about lack of hospital visitation rights for their “partners”. (You don’t need a marriage license for that.)
Probably the biggest doozy of a straw-man in this argument has been in comparing the debate over traditional marriage with what blacks went through in the civil rights struggle. To say the least, this would seem insulting to blacks. The civil rights struggle was about equal rights for all individuals, regardless of race – not regardless of personal behavior.
Even if one sets aside the moral arguments and implications, (which is setting aside a great deal), we are no closer to resolution. The ripple effect on our legal structure involving such issues as insurance, inheritance, child custody, property and so on would be incredible. It would hit our court system like a tsunami, and please no one but the trial lawyers I’m sure.
If these issues weren’t so important, if they didn’t have such overwhelming implications on society, governments wouldn’t require that you obtain a license in order to marry in the first place.
It is established and accepted throughout history that governments have an express interest in promoting the health and well-being of their societies via encouraging and/or discouraging certain actions or forms of behavior. In the case of our Constitution, it is known as “promoting the general welfare.” It is one thing not to have laws disallowing people from entering into various personal relationships; it is another entirely to require that the state officially sanction such relationships.
Liberals maintain that voting on such an issue is too divisive, (which means they know they’ll lose). What they seek is a judicial fiat. One, like the Massachusetts Supreme Court decision, that would re-define marriage without the approval of the public, (much less a vote). They seek to use such a remedy in one state to force all other states to then recognize that marriage – thus changing every other state’s marriage laws by default.
In the case of our country, we are blessed with self-government and self-government depends on just that. It depends on the capacity of free citizens to make reasoned judgments. To be able to look at a set of circumstances and say that they think they’re important. In fact, in many ways, the survival of self-governance depends on the willingness of citizens to make those judgments. On November 2nd, 2004, the voters did just that. And that’s where it should end.