Maine voters rejected a law allowing same-sex couples to marry in a closely fought referendum that saw unexpectedly high turnout.At the usual gay-marriage food fight going on in Rod Dreher's comment boxes, a commenter going by the name "Antonius Magnus" is making a whole heap of sense (a rarity in such arguments, especially since "Antonius Magnus" has not said he/she is definitely against gay marriage). "Antonius Magnus's" main point, and it's a good one, is this: if same-sex people have the right to marry each other, where does this right come from?
Rolling back the law is a setback for gay-rights advocates and makes Maine the third state in which residents reversed their government's decision to permit gay marriages, after California and Hawaii.Same-sex marriage has yet to win a popular vote in any state, despite a recent string of wins in the New England region. The other states that grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples -- Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, and Vermont -- have done so via legislative vote or judicial ruling, and New Hampshire will grant such marriages starting in January after a vote by its legislature. The federal government and most other states don't recognize same-sex marriages.
For Christian people, who believe that rights come from God, and are linked to our intrinsic human dignity as His sons and daughters, it's easy to understand why no one has a right to do what is evil. Same-sex marriage creates an environment in which people who are committing sins of homosexual acts with each other are encouraged to keep doing so, encouraged to believe that there is nothing wrong or sinful in their doing so, encouraged to spread that erroneous viewpoint to society at large; it also fosters hostility toward the Church, since she will continue courageously to point out that homosexual acts are gravely morally sinful and likely to lead a soul into eternal damnation--but that clear and compassionate warning will be viewed as bigotry, and marginalized from a society which has approved same-sex marriage.
But for those who insist that our rights do not come from God, that there is no God, that man is free to create whatever rights he finds personally appealing--do they really not see the grave danger in such an argument? The separation of human rights from man's Creator does not encourage greater freedom; it has, instead, always been among the earliest hallmarks of a totalitarian regime. If the "right to marry" does not come from God, is not something intrinsically linked to human nature, and does not have anything to do with the natural gender complementarity and biological compatibility which only exists between a man and a woman, then where does this right originate, and what does it contain? The gay activists insist that the right to marry is merely a "human" right, but are immune to any reference to such human qualities as reproduction or biology, to the vast decades of human law and tradition, to the inconvenient fact that no major human society has ever created a definition of marriage which includes same-sex couples; "human" in their context is a word that only means what they have decided it means.
But the danger in deciding that a) marriage is a human right, and b) this human right does not come from human law, human custom, human policy, human biology, or the reality of human reproduction is that they have created a framework for the complete dismantling of marriage, not merely its expansion to include same-sex couples. If marriage can mean anything we choose to define it to mean, then in addition to the traditional definition marriage can mean:
- same sex couples
- couples who live as brother and sister
- groups of more than two people
- people (couples or groups) who are related to each other
- people who engage in sexual activity exclusively with each other
- people who engage in sexual activity with each other and with others
- people who live together but do not engage in sexual activity
- people who do not live together
I think it's no secret that the most committed of radical gay activists want exactly that. They aren't really all that interested in being able to call two men or two women "married," so much as they are interested in tearing down what they see as society's heteronormativity--the "bias" which teaches children from the earliest ages that the fundamental social unit is the family, and that the family in its most ideal form consists of a man, his wife, and their own children at its core. To the radical gay activists, it is intolerable that society should express a preference for heterosexuality, such that an assumption is made that every child has or should have a mother and a father--because such an assumption is always going to see the same-sex couple as an aberration, an unfortunate and abnormal alternative to what ought to be the social reality.
The truth is, it is not being unkind or uncharitable to point out that the same-sex couple is an aberration. Any society that was overwhelmingly composed of such couples would soon cease to be--such is the biological reality. And gay rights activists know this, and hate it: not for nothing is their worst epithet for a heterosexual couple "breeders." It is their hatred of the normal family that drives some of them to wish to dismantle marriage and the family altogether, and to make it a crime to express the notion that morally speaking, there is a big difference between a man, his wife, and their children and a woman, another woman, their IVF children, and the anonymous sperm donors whom the children will never meet and don't need (since when does a child need a father?).
So the victory in Maine for traditional marriage means something. It means that, for a little while longer, we're unlikely to be plunged into the darkness of the post-marriage, post-heteronormative society. It may not seem like the kind of news calling for a bottle of champagne, but given how little good news we've had in the culture wars lately, I'm inclined to get some champagne, anyway.