Dec. 10, 2003
Since the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex
marriages in Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health, reporters have been
asking presidential candidates for their comment. Their unresponsive
answers reveal their hope that the issue will recede before the 2004
But the issue won't go away, and every candidate might as well get
prepared with a coherent answer. The gay rights lobby smells political
victory, and the majority of Americans are digging in to protect a
fundamental prop of civilization.
Whining about discrimination, the gay lobby is trying to position
the Massachusetts ruling as a logical expansion of the civil rights
movement. It isn't.
No one has the right to marry whomever he wants. Gays can already
get marriage licenses on exactly the same terms as anyone else.
Everyone is equally barred from marrying another person who is
under a certain age, or too closely related, or of the same gender, or
already married to another. Sound reasons underlie all these
requirements, which apply equally to everyone, male and female.
Goodridge is the anticipated consequence of this year's U.S.
Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas. As Justice Scalia said in
dissent, Lawrence "is the product of a law-profession culture, that has
largely signed on to the so-called homosexual agenda."
The Massachusetts Supreme Court for a decade has been itching to
implement the gay rights agenda. It was the second state supreme court
to rule that a lesbian could adopt the biological daughter of her
partner, and the first to grant visitation rights to a gay woman who
had helped raise her former partner's child.
The media are now accelerating their spin for same-sex marriage
even though the Pew survey shows that opposition to same-sex marriage
has increased to 59 percent since the Lawrence decision. The New York
Times is exulting that "the United States is becoming a post-marital
society," creating "new forms of semi-marriages," blurring the lines
between marriage and cohabitation, and imitating European types of
Rejecting the claim that the primary purpose of marriage is
procreation, the Massachusetts judges pontificated that the history of
marriage demonstrates that "it is the exclusive and permanent
commitment of the marriage partners to one another, not the begetting
of children, that is the sine qua non of marriage." But that argument
doesn't justify the court's decision because same-sex relationships are
neither exclusive nor permanent.
A recent study of young Dutch homosexual men (reported in the
journal "AIDS") found that their relationships, on average, last only
one and a half years. The 1984 McWhirter-Mattison study reported in
"The Male Couple" that homosexual couples with relationships lasting
more than five years incorporated a provision for outside sexual
Traditional marriage is based on the beautiful words "To have and
to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for
poorer, in sickness and in health, forsaking all others, to love and to
cherish, till death do us part."
After Canada legalized same-sex marriage, there was no rush down
the aisle to the altar. Out of 34,200 self-identified homosexual
couples, only 1.4 percent obtained marriage licenses. The editor of
Fab, a popular gay magazine in Toronto, explained, "I'd be for marriage
if I thought gay people would challenge and change the institution and
not buy into the traditional meaning of `till death do us part' and
Gays already have the liberty to live their lives as they choose,
set up housekeeping, share income and expenses, make contracts and
wills, and transfer property. What they are now demanding is respect
and social standing for a lifestyle that others believe is immoral
(like mixed-gender cohabiting).
That amounts to the minority forcing its views on the majority.
Nobody is entitled to respect for behavior of which we don't approve.
Legalizing same-sex marriage would not merely permit a small
number of people to choose alternate lifestyles (they are already doing
that). It would force the rest of us to accept a public judgment that
personal desire outweighs the value of traditional marriage and
outweighs the need of children for mothers and fathers.
If personal desire is to become the only criterion for public
recognition of marriage, if equal rights and nondiscrimination require
us to be neutral about who is eligible for marriage, how then can we
deny marriage to those who want to marry a child, or a sibling, or more
than one wife? All those practices are common in some other countries.
If a 13-year-old girl can exercise "choice" to "control her own
body" and get an abortion, why can't she have the choice to marry? The
Goodridge decision ruled that "the right to marry means little if it
does not include the right to marry the person of one's choice."
Marriage must not be changed to mean merely two consenting persons
agreeing to share quarters and start applying to the government and to
employers for economic benefits. Marriage must continue to be
recognized as the essential unit of a stable society wherein husbands
and wives provide a home and role models for the rearing of children.