Saturday, September 06, 2008

Same-sex 'marriage' and the persecution of civil society

An article by Jennifer Roback Morse from the June 3, 2008 National Catholic Register On-line [boldface mine]:

Advocates of same-sex "marriage" present the idea as a step forward for tolerance and respect. But recent developments place that interpretation very much in doubt.

Legalizing same-sex "marriage" is not a stand-alone policy, independent of all the other activities of the state. Once governments assert that same-sex unions are the equivalent of marriage, those governments must defend and enforce a whole host of other social changes.

Unfortunately, these government-enforced changes conflict with a wide array of ordinary liberties, including religious freedom and ordinary private property rights.

It began with the persecution of Catholic Charities in Boston. The archdiocese eventually closed down its adoption program, because the state of Massachusetts insisted that every adoption agency in the state must allow same-sex couples to adopt.

Recently, a Methodist organization in New Jersey lost part of its tax-exempt status because it refused to allow two lesbian couples to use their facility for a civil union ceremony. In Quebec, a Mennonite school was informed that it must conform to the official provincial curriculum, which includes teaching homosexuality as an acceptable alternative lifestyle.

At last report, the Mennonites were considering leaving the province rather than permit the imposition of the state-sponsored curriculum on their children.

And recently, a wedding photographer in New Mexico faces a hearing with the state's Human Rights Commission because she declined the business of a lesbian couple. She didn't want to take photos of their commitment ceremony.

The underlying pattern is unmistakable. Legalizing same-sex "marriage" has brought in its wake state regulation of other parts of society. The problem is sometimes presented as an issue of religious freedom, and so, in part, it is. But the issue runs deeper than religious freedom.

McGill University professor Douglas Farrow argues in his book A Nation of Bastards that redefining marriage allows the government to colonize all of civil society.

If same-sex couples can marry each other, they should be allowed to adopt. Anyone who says otherwise is acting against the policy of the state. If same-sex couples can have civil unions, then denying them the use of any facility they want for their ceremony amounts to unlawful discrimination. When the state says that same sex couples are equivalent to opposite-sex couples, school curriculum will inevitably have to support this claim.

Marriage between men and women is a pre-political, naturally emerging social institution. Men and women come together to create children, independently of any government. The duty of caring for those children exists even without a government or any political order.

Marriage protects children as well as the interests of each parent in their common project of raising those children.

Because marriage is an organic part of civil society, it is robust enough to sustain itself, with minimal assistance from the state.

By contrast, same-sex "marriage" is completely a creation of the state.


Same-sex couples cannot have children. Someone must give them a child or at least half the genetic material to create a child. The state must detach the parental rights of the opposite-sex parent and then attach those rights to the second parent of the same-sex couple.

The state must create parentage for the same-sex couple. For the opposite-sex couple, the state merely recognizes parentage.

In her essay in The Meaning of Marriage, Seana Sugrue argues that the state must coddle and protect same-sex "marriage" in ways that opposite-sex marriage does not require.

Precisely because same-sex unions are not the same as opposite-sex marriage, the state must intervene to make people believe (or at least make them act as if they believe) that the two types of unions are equivalent.

Public schools in California are soon going to be required to be "gay friendly." A doctor has been sued because she didn't want to perform an artificial insemination on a lesbian couple. A private school is in trouble for disciplining two female students for kissing. All in the name of supporting the rights of same-sex couples to "equality" with straight couples.

The fact that opposite- and same-sex couples are different in significant ways means that there will always be scope for the state to expand its reach into more and more private areas of more and more people's lives.

Perhaps some people think it is okay to shut down Catholic adoption agencies, because the Catholics have it coming to them: The Church's enemies are many. Perhaps some people don't care for Methodists, and don't care whether they lose their tax-exempt status.

But the Mennonites? These are the most inoffensive people on the planet. They have been pacifists for centuries. Their continued existence here in North America is a testimony to the strength of our ideals of religious tolerance and pluralism, in all the best senses of those terms. But now, in the name of equality of same-sex couples, the Mennonites are being driven out of Quebec.

Perhaps you think people have a natural civil right to marry the person of their choosing. But can you really force yourself to believe that wedding photography is a civil right?

Maybe you believe that same-sex couples are entitled to have children, somehow. But is any doctor they might encounter required to inseminate them?

Advocates of same-sex "marriage" insist that theirs is a modest reform: a mere expansion of marriage to include people currently excluded. But the price of same-sex "marriage" is a reduction in tolerance for everyone else, and an expansion of the power of the state.

Check it out! (This article relates directly to the material from the book, Nation of Bastards. Click here for more... )
H/t to Fr. Bausch.

3 comments:

Perpetua said...

I saw a rerun of a Law & Order SVU episode last night that was very disturbing. The grandparents were being charged with a hate crime for trying to get custody of their grandchild after their daughter died. It was terrifying!

I found a description of the episode here.

Kevin said...

This is an interesting article. It seems that same-sex advocates just haven't thought this through.

By the way, KPBS These Days just did a show on this, which your readers can podcast.

http://www.kpbs.org/radio/these_days;id=12669

Tom Fudge: Due to a recent Supreme Court ruling, California now allows gay and lesbian couples to marry. In fact, same-sex couples can get married in California even if they're not residents of the state.

But what happens when those non-residential couples go home to a state that does not recognize same-sex marriage? Are they not married after all? Well no, they're not. But you can be pretty sure that gay couples, who get married in California but are denied married rights in their home states, will take the matter to court.

Anne Coletta said...

Kevin - I think they've thought it through - and they think it's great that all of these "obstacles" will be deemed illegal. And New York State has already agreed that, although same-sex marriages are not legal there, if you do get "married" in a state where it is legal, New York will recognize it. So how long before, once again, the will of the people is cast aside on "constitutional" grounds?