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  • The Inevitable Reality of Marriage

    Evolution and inevitability are words much in the news lately regarding same-sex marriage. The victory for marriage redefinition advocates in New York has sparked a new round of assertions that Americans can stop thinking about and debating this basic institution of civil society.


    Vice President Joe Biden sounded a similar theme after the repeal of the military law on homosexual conduct last December. “Inevitability” is a hardy perennial, therefore, but hardly correct. The debate over marriage has entered a new phase, but it is nowhere near an endgame.

    First, the redefinition of marriage in New York is not permanent even in the Empire State. It can be reversed by a future legislature or by a legislatively authorized referendum on the issue. The National Organization for Marriage—which was a key player in California’s popular vote to overrule legal approval of homosexual unions—plans a multi-million-dollar campaign in New York to restore traditional marriage via the ballot box. Despite gay activists’ claims of momentum, to date no popular majority in any U.S. jurisdiction has voted to adopt a same-sex marriage law.

    Second, the next state-level fights over the definition of marriage are likely to occur in places where traditional marriage champions are very strong: Minnesota, Indiana, New Hampshire, and Iowa. Faced with gubernatorial resistance to their cause in New Jersey, marriage redefinition advocates are turning to the courts again. But most of these efforts have failed, and courts must reckon with the fact that the headwinds against marriage redefinition remain potent in the vast majority of the states.

    Finally, the meaning of marriage and its significance to society are getting fresh attention as matters of both economic and social concern. Expunging marriage between a man and a woman from the law does not erase it from reality. Marriage is a pre-political institution whose decline in or absence from a community will define that community’s prospects and shape its ability to thrive.

    In this sense, events in Albany may echo events in Boston eight years ago, when one state’s decision to impose same-sex marriage on the eve of an election year launched a national debate with enormous consequences. The stakes are even higher now. Informed elections, not the natural selection of “evolving” views, will play the larger part in determining whether same-sex marriage is inevitable or ephemeral.

    Posted in Culture [slideshow_deploy]

    5 Responses to The Inevitable Reality of Marriage

    1. Bill says:

      Uh…you do know that marriage hasn't always been between one man and one woman? Ancient Judaism practised polygamy, as well as Islam and many tribes in Africa. The Fujian province of China practiced a form a civil union thousands of years ago, as did Native Americans. Cicero writes of two men getting married as if it was perfectly normal, and even some Roman emperors had gay marriage. It wasn't until around 300 to 400 AD when Christianity was the official religion that it was outlawed. Even ignoring all that, recent polls are indicating that for the first time a majority of Americans are in favor of same sex marriage, and will likely increase as the next generation replaces the old. Republicans would be wise to start shifting their position, or else they risk winding up alienating young voters.

    2. Tammy Rainey says:

      The more informed people are, the harder it will be to resist marriage equality. When one sets aside emotional and cultural bias and takes an objective look at the facts, the answer is obvious. I argued the anti-gay case for most of my life, i know from personal experience and study what it's based on – but ultimately the facts are on the other side.

      • Natalie says:

        Not true. Marriage is much more than just a legal issue. Because it has social and religious implications as well, there is no way to stictly politicize it. If gay couples want equal rights, they can have them; civil unions can be strengthened to be recognized as equal under the law as marriages. Gay couples can have all the same legal benefits as married couples. But they cannot be called "married", because that term refers to a relgious and social institution that does not include them. As trivial as it seems, it all just comes down to the label being used. That makes all the difference.

        • Karel Capek says:

          Your argument is tautological–marriage is marriage which is between a man and a woman, as if by definition. But some religious groups and political entities now choose to define the term in other ways than you do. Same sex couples can be and are being called married. Maybe you need a retronym, like "land line," when "phone" came to mean "cell phone" to most people. "Traditional marriage" would seem fine.

    3. Bobbie says:

      so sad to see the recognition of bias sex gender applied to the act of marriage by the law of New York, when marriage is without bias or discrimination of any gender as the definition of marriage identifies 1 of each.
      It's okay to play dumb in your world, as long as you have government approval.

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