The assault on marriage continues unabated and now reinvigorated with the Supreme Court officially taking the position of the homosexual lobby’s shock troops: “If you oppose us it is because you hate us.”
The Defense of Marriage Act was an attempt to preserve and protect not simply the Constitution but an institution—the institution—central to not just Western civilization but to civilization itself. Marriage between a man and a woman (which I will refer to as traditional marriage) is not just defined in that way, it is what marriage is. It is true across the world, across cultures, and throughout history. Even in classical Greece, where homosexuality was widely accepted, marriage was then what it is now. Until the last ten years. But what are centuries against right now? Until zealots, both feminists and homosexual activists began pursuing a drive to bring down the institution of marriage. The institution was attacked as patriarchal by militant feminists and then became a vehicle for the promotion and acceptance of a lifestyle that is completely contrary to marriage’s purpose. It became one more target of modern liberalism in its project to re-make society and human nature.
When a man and a woman get together, children are often the natural outcome. No debate on that, right? This natural product of that union has nothing to do with politics, nothing to do with government and neither can do anything about it (though the militants are happy to do so through legalized abortion). Human babies are helpless. They require parents to live, to thrive, and to become independent, law-abiding adults who contribute to the stability of society. Again, nothing to do with government. Where government has a role is to recognize these facts and to do what it can to promote that framework. It does this through laws that preserve marriage and ensure that these responsibilities to children are carried out. Marriage is a pre-political institution. And by the work it completes in the upbringing of children ensures the success of a democratic form of government and a free market. I would say that that makes it vital and to be very careful of any attempts to change it or modernize it.
Its importance, however, is what paints a target on marriage for the modern liberal who seeks to re-make society. The family is the anchor of virtue and freedom? Then it gets in the way of the modern welfare state and an atomistic society dependent on government. The modern liberal, back to Rousseau and Hobbes, looks to destroy those intermediate associations, such as the family, that stand between the individual and the State. Karl Marx argued for abolition of the family in The Communist Manifesto, that it would fade away come the Revolution. Modern liberalism, of which Marxism is but an offshoot, is a corrosive influence on society.
Modern liberalism, in all its variants from the welfare state to Communism, whether of the Soviet, the Cuban, the Korean, or even the Chinese model, also seeks to re-make man, to change his nature. We see this in modern education, in the envisioned New Soviet man, and in feminist gender deconstruction. And we see it in same-sex marriage. To say that marriage could as easily involve two men or two women is to argue that marriage or being a man or woman is fundamentally irrelevant to who one is. As both Robespierre and Lenin said, you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs. Marriage, the family, and free society are but broken shells to Rousseau’s children, whether they man the guillotine, the concentration camp, school classrooms, or Hollywood.
Oh, but it’s nothing as drastic as a plot, as a conscious effort, surely, some would say. Many of those in favor of overturning marriage through bringing in homosexuals argue that marriage is already weak, that divorce and the welfare state have made protecting marriage less relevant somehow. This is an argument? You don’t judge whether traffic laws make sense by the fact that there are bad drivers. You don’t make a weakened institution stronger by making it weaker. Or by “re-defining” it.
And yes, that is what is happening. It is being “re-defined” out of existence. Section 2 of DOMA, which was challenged in this case, simply sought to preserve, to defend, the fundamental pillar of our free society by making traditional marriage the accepted definition in federal law. As the Court’s majority complained, the House Report on that legislation concluded “it is both appropriate and necessary for Congress to do what it can to defend the institution of traditional heterosexual marriage.” Well, we can’t have that, can we?
This is a very bad decision and more for what they based it on than the outcome, though the outcome is bad enough. They argued, based on Romer v. Evans, that DOMA was based on an animus against homosexuals and that such hostility is unconstitutional, arguing that “the principal purpose and the necessary effect of this law are to demean those persons who are in a lawful same-sex marriage.”
Leaving aside the question whether they could possibly read the minds of the overwhelming majority of both houses of Congress and a President who made it law, Justice Scalia will be proven correct in arguing that this finding of an unconstitutional animus, will lead to the striking down of state one man-one woman marriage laws. “By formally declaring anyone opposed to same-sex marriage an enemy of human decency, the majority arms well every challenger to a state law restricting marriage to its traditional definition.” Chief Justice Roberts will be proven a fool in taking the majority at their word in denying this intent or outcome (and perhaps I was a fool in coming to his defense, as still “one of us” despite his opinion finding in favor of Obamacare.)
And Scalia has a pretty good track record of foresight on this issue. In Lawrence v. Texas (the Texas sodomy case that struck down laws against homosexual sodomy) the majority said that decision would not lead to same-sex marriage. “Don’t believe it”, he said. And sure enough, the first case that legalized same-sex marriage, in Massachusetts, cited Lawrence.
Bottom line: last week's decisions, especially the DOMA case, will prove to be a disaster. Marriage is too fundamental to let it be rotted away like this. It is time for a U.S. Constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. It is sad too that it is necessary now to change the Constitution so drastically because the Supreme Court so botched their job, or rather continued their position in the culture wars.
Gene Wisdom is an Alabama native but has lived in the Nashville area since 2007. He, his wife Vicki, and their dog Savannah live near Nolensville. Gene is a conservative activist and leads the Conservative Fusion Book Club.