With this week’s ruling against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) by the First Circuit Court of Appeals, the same-sex marriage issue moves one step closer to the Supreme Court, and same-sex marriage moves one step closer to becoming the law of the land. For those who believe the slippery slope argument to be a fallacy, the speed with which the culture has gone from viewing homosexuality as deviant behavior to viewing same-sex relationships, and even same-sex marriage, as perfectly normal — a civil right, in fact — should put that notion to rest.
Last year I wrote a post recommending Robert George et al’s treatise, “What is Marriage?” written in opposition to the efforts to legalize same-sex marriage. It’s a lengthy and complex piece but well worth reading for anyone who wants a thorough understanding of why same-sex marriage is an oxymoron. For those who’d rather read something just as enlightening, but a little less daunting, Gerry McDermott has “A quick and dirty guide to why we should reject same-sex marriage” over at the Northampton Seminar.
Both pieces make a rational and compelling case for why, as McDermott says, “we should reject same-sex marriage.” But I’m afraid the only people who’ll find them persuasive are conservatives. Progressives, for the most part, I’m coming to realize, don’t approach such issues rationally. As Dennis Prager said recently in a talk at the Heritage Foundation, “the entire ediface of leftism is feelings based,” which explains why progressives’ support of same-sex marriage is based on emotion, not reason.
For progressives, legalizing same-sex marriage comes down to what they perceive to be fairness. It isn’t fair, they believe, that two people who love each other, regardless of their sex, should be denied the legal and moral sanction of marriage. To deny them that sanction would be to hurt their feelings, which, next to being intolerant, is the worst thing one person — or group of people — could do to another.
While I hate to be pessimistic or defeatist, I’m not sure how we bridge that gulf between emotion and reason, in the long run particularly. Progressive control of public education (and the entertainment media) has ensured that most young people today subscribe to this emotion-based, non-rational way of looking at issues. And progressive control of the law schools has ensured that many lawyers and judges hold to a positivist legal philosophy that in shaping and interpreting law — as I understand it — relies more on societal practices and sensibilities than on any objective ideas of justice and morality.
These realities militate against our ability to win the battle over the legal designation of marriage. Nevertheless, we can’t give up the fight. The welfare of our children and grandchildren, as well as our nation, depends on our faithfulness in doing what we can to preserve the legal definition of marriage as a covenant between a man and a woman. If you haven’t already, arm yourself with the arguments in these two articles by Robert George and Gerry McDermott, then find your place on the battle lines. And listen to Dennis Prager’s talk for a good idea of what we’re up against.