(Copyright 2001 Catholic Exchange)
On October 14, Davis signed into law Assembly Bill 25, granting twelve – that’s right, a full dozen – marriage rights to homosexuals.
Led by lesbians Senator Sheila Kuehl (D-Los Angeles) and Assemblywoman Carole Migden (D-San Francisco), California’s state legislature has become a pervert’s Dream Team. At one point, the legislature was considering 31 bills promoting the radical left sex agenda, ranging from teaching “tolerance” in the public schools to equating homosexual couplings with marriage. More bills were drafted in the current legislative session on homosexual matters than any other issue.
Think of it: Here’s a state that hasn’t solved its energy crisis, has blown through a $12 billion surplus in a single year, and is staring into the abyss of a major recession. And what’s the legislature’s major focus? Gay rights, of course! You’d think persecution of homosexuals was the gravest problem facing the nation.
Back to AB 25. Mother of all “gay rights” bills, the legislation virtually legalizes homosexual marriage. “Domestic partners” are now mandated by government to receive the equivalent of spousal benefits for wrongful death rights, continued health coverage after an employee’s death, family sick leave and disability, insurance coverage, probate, adoption, tax breaks, and unemployment benefits. In other words, the legislature has elevated a seamy homosexual relationship to the same status as dear old mom and dad.
But as Abraham Lincoln observed, calling a dog’s tail a leg doesn’t make it one. Nor does calling a “partnership” a marriage make it so.
What constitutes a marriage wasn’t always a controversial matter. Virtually every society has some form of marriage between a man and a woman, and the institution has proven itself as a means of preserving social stability and providing for the needs of women and children.
In Western civilization, holy matrimony was honored as a sacrament, bestowing both privileges and – often conveniently forgotten – duties on each of the partners. These obligations included a lifelong commitment, including sexual fidelity, to one’s spouse in sickness and in health; providing for the upbringing of the children produced by the union; sharing ownership of property, and other responsibilities.
Most societies, including ours, recognized both the cultural benefits of matrimony and the burdens assumed by the married couple on behalf of society, primarily in the proper raising of future generations. Thus, certain privileges and benefits were afforded those who shouldered these marital duties and responsibilities. These included marriage tax breaks, inheritance rights, medical and other insurance coverage, and other special considerations.
After all, marriage and family are the primary means of transmitting civilization and culture from one generation to the next, the building blocks of the future. It was generally acknowledged that families raising honest, productive, well-educated kids were not only doing the Lord’s work, but everyone else’s too. And raising such children, heaven knows, ain’t cheap.
This is a vital distinction to make in properly understanding today’s “marriage” controversy. First came society’s recognition of marriage’s cultural value and its accompanying duties and burdens, then followed the privileges and benefits afforded husband and wife. To hear some tell it, you’d think marriage was created solely as a means to bestow certain “rights” on heterosexual couples and deny them to homosexuals.
Marriage perquisites, then, were provided to ease the burdens of raising a family; a sort of societal quid pro quo for producing and molding the next generation, upon whom the continued existence of civilization depends. But with “domestic partnerships”- including heterosexual ones – there is no “give” to society, only “take.” Therefore, persons participating in domestic partnerships have no claim or “rights” to any special benefits – including family health insurance, inheritance rights, or tax breaks – beyond those of any other citizen. None.
Oddly enough, while people debate marriage’s nominal – i.e.: cash – value, neither side mentions what is normal. Yet this is really what the attack on marriage and family is all about. Here again, we’re threatened by what G. K. Chesterton called modernity’s morbid habit of “sacrificing the normal to the abnormal.” To the extent this sacrifice is made, our institutions become warped and degraded. The evidence? Look around you.
Whatever our views about homosexuality, they should be formed based on charity toward others and mindful of our own fallen nature. Nevertheless, we cannot afford to fear defining what constitutes normal human behavior, and we have thousands of years of experience to serve as a guide. So long as we shrink from speaking the truth about ourselves, our traditional institutions will continue to be assaulted, until one day we’ll find there’s nothing left of civilization worth preserving.