The Phony Inevitability of Same-Sex Marriage

shutterstock_88354102Claims that something is inevitable are generally of two kinds. Sometimes the claim is simply a statement of fact (“Inevitably, the sun will rise tomorrow”). Other times it expresses a wish or perhaps a fear (“So-and-so is sure to be next president of the United States”).

The claim that same-sex marriage is inevitable in the entire U.S. is of the second kind–a rhetorical ploy by advocates who hope frequent repetition of the claim will bully opponents into a defeatist state of mind. For them at least, this makes perfectly good sense.

But it doesn’t make any sense at all for the opponents. In meekly accepting the claims of the other side as gospel truth, they put a damper on resistance and help make the inevitability of gay marriage a fact.

An instance of what I’m talking about was the dismaying reaction of a prominent prolife activist to the Supreme Court marriage decisions last month. One overturned a key provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act while the other let stand, on procedural grounds rather than substantive ones, a lower court ruling against California’s Proposition 8 banning gay marriage in that state.

These were indeed victories for the same-sex marriage people but by no means final and definitive ones. Yet the person of whom I speak chose to call them the “rejection of marriage in America” while likening them to the Supreme Court’s action in the 1973 abortion decision Roe v. Wade.

This reaction was, to say the least, a bad idea. In Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court asserted a constitutional basis for nationwide abortion on demand. This, however, is precisely what the justices did not do with same-sex marriage. Instead, they left the question–so far at least–up to the states. That’s the point opponents of gay marriage need to be emphasizing now.

There was something of the same troubling tendency to concede too much in Justice Antonin Scalia’s otherwise admirable dissent from Justice Anthony Kennedy’s obnoxious majority opinion in the DOMA case. Next time the question comes before the court, Justice Scalia declared, the majority can be counted on to ratchet up its approval of same-sex marriage to the level of national policy.

Maybe so. But then again–maybe not. And saying it’s inevitable doesn’t help.

One need not be Little Mary Sunshine in order to believe that this fight will go on. Thirty states have amended their constitutions to ban gay marriage, and the resistance in many of these will be fierce.

Significantly, too, public opinion on the issue varies vastly on a regional basis, ranging from over 60% support in New England–where all of the states recognize gay marriage–to over 50% opposition in the eight South Central states. For the most part, despite the strenuous efforts of the media, gay marriage, while enjoying predictably strong backing in culturally liberal areas, has yet to make significant inroads in the American heartland.

By religion, support ranges from over 80% among Jews and people with no religious affiliation to only about 30% among white evangelical Protestants. About 60% of Catholics are said to support gay marriage–but this figure obviously is skewed upward by the support of non-practicing Catholics.

People looking for motivation to resist need look no further than Justice Kennedy’s DOMA opinion. In effect, Kennedy told the world that opponents of same-sex marriage are hateful bigots. Of this one can only say that Supreme Court justices demean their office in stooping to name-calling to support their views.

 

Image credit: shutterstock.com

Russell Shaw

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Russell Shaw is a freelance writer from Washington, D.C. You can email him at RShaw10290@aol.com.

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  • Eileen Mallon

    You forgot to mention the age factor.

    Some 65% of people in the 18-29 age bracket support gay marriage. Gay marriage is inevitable because, even in the states with constitutional amendments rejecting it, there will eventually be sufficient voter support to overturn those bans, assuming that they are not earlier overturned by legislative or judicial action. Gay marriage supporters only need wait until the older, resistant generations fade away, because they have won the hearts and minds of our children, who honestly don’t see what all the fuss is about.

  • Deacon Jim Mann

    But what if those young people, as they grow older, were also to grow spiritually and in their ability to think more clearly and more critically about this issue? Surely we should not give up hope, and should not discontinue our efforts and our prayers, that this may happen.

  • Richard III

    I’m in the 18-29 age bracket and I see what all the fuss is about, in part because I am making some of the fuss.

  • ML

    As in abortion, when the consequences of the decision are seen in society, thoughts and hearts change. Forty years later, young woman are strongly against abortion or at minimum rethinking it. In fact, many woman who have suffered from abortion are speaking out. Go to silentnomoreawareness.org

    I would say this generation is being indoctrined with homosexual lies in school. When they grow up and see the consequences of a redefining marriage…they will think twice. This decision is far from over.

  • George Marshall

    Inevitable and soon are two different things. Scientists say the sun will eventually burn out but that doesn’t mean you should throw out your sunblock. Eileen rightfully points out that young people support SSM. But it is not just them. Mr. Shaw says that 60% of Catholics do. 60%…can you imagine that? In an ’08 Gallup poll, Catholics as a group were more supportive of SSM marriage than the general population. If you looked within those numbers, Catholics who didn’t attend church weekly were about the same as the general population. The difference was that Catholics who attended church weekly were more supportive of SSM marriage. Deacon Jim…it’s not just young people. Catholics as a whole have looked at the Chirch’s teaching and compared it to the truth they see in their lives. They see that gay’s simply want to love and be loved according to their natures. They look at Mychael Judge the gay priest who was a chaplain to the NYC fire department and gave his life on 9/11 in his ministry. They are, in increasing numbers, supporting SSM. Eventually it will come, but maybe not soon.

  • Deacon Jim Mann

    With respect, George, I disagree. The issue is not whether someone who is gay can be a good person, but whether the union of two same-sex persons can be called a marriage. And I think that much more is being sought than merely to love and be loved.

  • George Marshall

    I did not attempt to address SSM specifically, but replied to Mr. Shaw’s argument concerning inevitability. You are right, that is the issue. And, the acceptance of doing precisely that has grown astoundingly (at least I am astounded). I don’t quite understand what you mean by your last sentence, but I will also say that the same Gallup poll found that similar numbers (as of that date) of Catholics do not find homosexual acts morally wrong. IMO, Catholics seem to be rejecting the Church’s teaching on a variety of sexual issues.

  • pnyikos

    Many people are liberals until they have children. Then they realize how important it is to protect them, and become a lot more conservative.

    You are also forgetting the “Ronald Reagan factor”, Eileen. In 1980, until the election that Reagan won by a landslide, the polls made it look like a close one was coming, because many people who were for Reagan were embarrassed to admit it and said they were “undecided”.

  • Ron Turner

    It’s not “gay marriage” – it’s “same-sex pseudo-marriage”.

  • Leila Miller

    The Church’s teachings are often rejected; this is not surprising, and says nothing about the veracity of the Church’s stance. At one time, half the Christian world was in fact Arian! I am reminded of what Fulton Sheen wrote:

    The lesson that emerges from Easter is that the world was wrong and Christ was right; that there is a world of difference between an authority on which you rely when it pleases you, and one which you trust absolutely whether it pleases you or not; for what the world needs is a voice that is right not when the world is right, but right when the world is wrong.

    There is often an hour when the world cannot understand the reason the Church gives for her position, but there is never a time when men do not live to see that her judgment was reasonable.

    Amen.

  • chaizydain

    Well then, sir, I suggest to you that if you want to run on about semantics, that a union of two bigots cannot be called “marriage” and that is ALL that you are…a bigot.

  • chaizydain

    The Church’s “stance” has no veracity or it would NEVER have changed on any subject. The Church’s “stance” has changed throughout the ages. There was a time when priests married. There was a time then the Church invaded whole countries to impose its beliefs. There was a time when the Church burned women at the stake for being accused of witchcraft.

    The Church changes as the times change and that demonstrates that the Church’s stance is mutable. Any stance that is mutable is rightfully rejected when society demands it.

    Get with the times or die, that is the Church’s choice.

  • chaizydain

    Oh please, give us a break. Young women have as many abortions now as they did in the past. YOUNG women were never the ones getting the abortions in droves. More mature women who wanted to do something with their lives were and being unmarried and in their 20s and pregnant was just seen as distasteful – a lack of education – so they were the ones having all the abortions. Middle-20s are STILL the majority of abortion seekers.

    The only difference between now and then is that BIRTH CONTROL is more widely available and more effective. Teens and young women are having just as much sex as before, they just aren’t getting pregnant as much.

    And most women who have had abortions will never even here of Silent No More let alone speak out about having an abortion. The vocal few are just that vocal. But just because they are heard does not mean they are any more than a few.

  • Deacon Jim Mann

    I understand that emotions run high on this issue, but wouldn’t it be better to try to make our points without resorting to name-calling?

    As to how marriage began, and whose “premise” it is that marriage is only between a man and a woman, I refer you to Matthew 19:4-6, Genesis 1:27, and Genesis 2:23-24.

    I am not trying to put anyone “down”, or to make judgments about who is or is not a good person. I am merely trying to state the truth about what marriage is, as I understand that truth and as the Church has always taught. This is not an easy or a popular thing to do – it has already brought some suffering into my own life. But, to me, real love requires that we speak the truth to the other person, even when it is not what he or she would wish to hear.

    Peace be with you!

  • Leila Miller

    You have been busy overnight on a lot of these articles, chaizydain! I will let you read the comments I left for you on my own post (including the fact that you have not yet been able to understand the difference between a discipline and a doctrine (re: married priests, for example, which has always been a changeable discipline).

    As for your last sentence, I have to chuckle, as I wrote about that very thing (the Church’s “survival”) on my latest blog post. You should take a peek at the Church struggling to survive!

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2013/07/wanna-see-what-three-million-people.html

  • TK

    It’s difficult to know abortion numbers because the stats are incomplete. The numbers don’t include abortions from use of the pill, UID’s and RU-486, for example.

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