Public opinion has changed rapidly regarding gay marriage as evidenced in this Pew Research study. The continued glorification and normalization of gay relationships and parenting within media is likely to continue, and with our culture’s propensity to be shaped by those compelling (though not wholly realistic) images and stories, I think it is probable that gay marriage will be the law of our land in short order. So I have wondered about what this discussion will look like after same-sex marriage is legalized.
Last week, a friend sent me a link to an interview with San Francisco Archbishop Cordileone. He addresses many questions that have been covered on asktheBigot, and does so with more eloquence. So if you have a few moments, I highly recommend reading the article in its entirety. But what really struck me is his answer to two questions.
Q: If the Supreme Court opens the floodgates to gay marriage in California (or beyond), what will be the result?
A: If the Supreme Court overturns Prop 8, this will not go down in history as the Loving v. Virginia but as the Roe v. Wade decision of our generation.
No matter what the Supreme Court rules, this debate is not over. Marriage is too important and the issues raised by treating same-gender unions as marriages are too fundamental to just go away. Just as Roe v. Wade did not end the conversation about abortion, so a ruling that tries to import same-sex marriage into our Constitution is not going to end the marriage debate, but intensify it.
We will have a bitterly polarized country divided on the marriage issue for years if not generations to come.
Q: Are you worried about the recent trend in courts and states going against you? How best to stop that trend?
A: The natural law has a power written on the human heart that doesn’t go away.
Notice how there is no controversy in this country now over the evil of Jim Crow laws. Shortly after the Civil Rights Act the cultural change was complete. This is because it was the right thing to do. The truth cannot be suppressed indefinitely.
Draw a contrast here with the pro-life movement: After the Roe decision, it was commonly thought that our society would soon easily accept the legitimacy of abortion. But what has happened? The pro-life movement is stronger now, 40 years later, than it ever has been. This is because of the truth: Abortion is the killing of an innocent human life. That is not a matter of opinion or religious belief; it is a simple fact that cannot be denied.
The same principle applies with marriage: It is simply a natural fact that you need a man and a woman to make a marriage and that a child’s heart longs for the love of both his or her mother and father. Even if the Supreme Court rules against this truth, the controversy will not die out, as it hasn’t on the abortion issue.
The problem is, the longer a society operates in denial of the truth, the greater is the harm that will be done. The examples of the racist policies and practices of the past in our own country make this clear, as does all the harm that abortion has done to women and all those in her network of relationships.
With marriage, we have to consider the harm that will be caused by enshrining in the law the principle that children do not need a mother and a father. The circumstances of our struggles change but the truth does not.
What are your thoughts, reader? If same-sex marriage is legalized across this land, will the debate dissolve or intensify?