Green Room

Let Gays Have Marriage; We’re Not Using It – updated

posted at 3:41 pm on April 22, 2009 by

The current pseudo-scandal over Carrie Prejean’s views favoring traditional marriage should be very instructive for social conservatives. Dissent will not be tolerated.  She had the temerity to express a view that even ten years ago was considered entirely unremarkable: that marriage is exclusively a union of a man and a woman.

But in the midst of the outrageously outrageous outrage by the leftist thought police, and the return shrieking of social conservatives (religious and otherwise) let’s review how this even became an issue.  It’s not because of the Radical! Homosexual! Agenda! that the AFA and others warn you about in their fundraising emails. It’s because of us.

If you put something out with the trash, the police can search it without a warrant. Anyone walking by can take it. Although it’s still on your property, it’s not really yours anymore; you’ve relinquished your claim to it. And that’s exactly what we’ve done with marriage. We might as well let gays have it. We’re not using it.

There are four elements of the marriage crisis:

* Marriage: The marriage rate has plunged 50% since 1970. If the same percentage of couples were marrying now as in 1970, there would be a million more marriages a year – 3.3 million marriages, not 2.2 million. Those who have never-married aged 30-44 have tripled from 6.8% in 1970 to 20.4% in 2005.

* Divorce: Half of all new marriages end in divorce. There have been 42 million divorces since 1970 hurting 40 million children. One quarter of all adults age 18-35 have grown up in divorced families.

* Cohabitation: The number of unmarried couples living together soared 12-fold from 430,000 in 1960 to 5.4 million in 2005. There are only 2.2 million marriages a year. Thus, cohabitation has become the dominant way male-female unions are formed. Couples who marry after living together are 50% more likely to divorce than those who did not.

* Unwed births: Out-of wedlock births jumped from 5.3% to 37.4% or from 224,000 to 1.5 million children from 1960-2004. Cohabiting couples are as likely to have a child under 18 as married couples (41% vs. 46%).

And for my fellow Christian conservatives: we haven’t got a moral leg to stand on. Our divorce rate is identical to the national average.  We allow our churches to be used as elaborate stage sets for bridezilla productions, often with just pro forma premarital counseling or sometimes none at all.  When our fellow church members get divorced, we do not counsel them adequately.  We fail to create a culture of marriage in our youth and twenty-somethings.  We have shown massive disrespect for marriage.  When we demand others respect it, it’s not surprising that we’re not taken seriously.

Gay marriage is going to be a fact of life.  So is polygamy, because the arguments for gay marriage easily carry over to support it.  That’s already coming to a court in Canada.  Given a bit more time, society will accept it, and a court will find a reason to allow it, first in Canada, then here.  In London, they can’t even bestir themselves to fight against forced marriage in any serious way.  In a multi-cultural society, marriage means whatever people want it to mean, and complaining about that is “intolerant.”

Where we need to focus our attention at this point is making sure that newly created “human rights” don’t overtake our right to speak and act as we please. We need to make sure people are free to refuse work on same sex ceremonies unlike this New Mexico Christian photographer who was required to pay an over $6600 fine.  We need to make sure that American pastors can’t be subjected to show trials, forced to renounce their faith and suffer big fines for repeating what the bible says.  In short, we need to get busy making sure that dissent WILL be tolerated.  Because considering the reaction to Carrie Prejean’s polite dissension, it soon won’t be.

UPDATED: R.S. McCain’s article at The American Spectator from earlier this month, Marriage: A Hill to Die On, is well worth a read.  (h/t Riehl)

I don ‘t precisely fit into any of the categories he provides for conservatives who have given up on the issue; I guess the closest fit would be “unprincipled cowards and defeatists.”  ;-)  Perhaps so.  But I’m more demoralized by how our side treats marriage than by the left’s victories to expand its definition.  And I’m concerned enough about what our postmodern, multi-culti society is willing to tolerate in terms of squelching dissent and debate that I think we need to turn most, if not all, of our attention to defending freedom of speech.  McCain makes the case that the marriage battle is still winnable.  I hope he’s right and I’m wrong.

Instalanche! Thanks very much for the link!  Welcome and do read R.S. McCain’s response to this post, it’s excellent.

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* Compilation of several posts at Pursuing Holiness.

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Okay, seek to remove it from government control means… ? Separating civil and religious marriage, like the french do?

You know what I mean. It’s not an uncommon position.

Regardless, there’s been no society wide abandonment of marriage – it’s just at a low ebb. People are wired to have a mate; usually for life. That hasn’t changed, so marriage will endure even through fluctuations in culture.

TheUnrepentantGeek on April 22, 2009 at 6:15 PM

After all, if traditional marriage is defined as the union of (1) two people of (2) opposite gender, and if, as advocates of gay marriage insist, the gender requirement is nothing but prejudice, exclusion and an arbitrary denial of one’s autonomous choices in love, then the first requirement — the number restriction (two and only two) — is a similarly arbitrary, discriminatory and indefensible denial of individual choice.

Laura on April 22, 2009 at 5:56 PM

There are differences. Among them, dropping the gender requirement doesn’t affect straight marriages–polygamy does. Polygamy eliminates the exclusivity provision and changes the nature of every existing marriage. A marriage that was originally intended to be exclusive can be modified over time to include other spouses.

dedalus on April 22, 2009 at 6:19 PM

This fight was decided in the 1970s, when no-fault divorce became the legal norm. No-fault divorce contains a planted axiom: the happiness of the couple matters above all else. (After all, why allow people to divorce in the absence of cause unless their personal happiness is paramount?) And if the happiness of adults is what matters, then you’re hard put to explain why gay adults shouldn’t be afforded the opportunity to be happy (or unhappy, as the case may be).

In this debate, people talk past one another. Opponents of same-sex marriage appeal to a vision of what marriage once was, or what they think it should be. Meanwhile, supporters of same-sex marriage appeal to what marriage is, especially as a matter of law. And since the advocates of same-sex marriage are pressing their case in courts of law, they will continue to score legal victories. You can’t go to court, at least not in the United States, with a religious or philosophical argument. You have to go with a legal argument. And for better or worse, our law regards marriage as an institution for celebrating the affections of adults.

paul006 on April 22, 2009 at 6:22 PM

You know what I mean. It’s not an uncommon position.

Regardless, there’s been no society wide abandonment of marriage – it’s just at a low ebb.

I’m not trying to be an ass. I always enjoy your comments, even in the times when I’ve just lurked around here and didn’t join in the conversation. We are generally in agreement. I was seriously trying to clarify your postion and learn what you mean by separate marriage from government control. I read that as do what the french do, but for all I know there’s some new concept out there I haven’t encountered yet. As to whether there’s been a society wide abandonment… I guess we’ll have to disagree on that one. I honestly hope you’re right and I’m wrong, because I believe we’re better off with marriage than without it.

paul006 on April 22, 2009 at 6:22 PM – Bingo. Add to that, that the law in the hands of activist judges means whatever they think it *should* mean.

Laura on April 22, 2009 at 6:33 PM

Those who have never-married aged 30-44 have tripled from 6.8% in 1970 to 20.4% in 2005.

Irrelevant. Many marry later than 44. (My brother married a few months ago at age 44)

jgapinoy on April 22, 2009 at 7:13 PM

And for my fellow Christian conservatives: we haven’t got a moral leg to stand on. Our divorce rate is identical to the national average.

Mark Twain was right about statistics.
Everyone calls themselves Christians in the US. Better studies show that things like praying together daily, involvement in church, ministry, & bible study lead to lower divorce rates.

jgapinoy on April 22, 2009 at 7:16 PM

dedalus on April 22, 2009 at 6:19 PM

You make a good point that legalizing polygamy would affect current marriages and that makes it different than legalizing gay marriage.

However, I believe that the legal argument for gay marriage (that the gender clause is discriminatory) still provides a great legal argument for polygamy (that the number clause is also discriminatory). I do not think that the fact that legalizing polygamy requires an additional clause regarding whether or not it’s allowed with current marriages changes the fact that the legal groundwork for one is the same as the other.

Though, even if it were a given that this extra step to address current marriages changes everything with regards to polygamy, there is still consensual adult incest to consider. Legalizing marriage between consenting adult relatives would not affect anyone’s marriage at all. Then, all we are left with is the argument that society is discriminating against people based on their relationship to each other rather than their genders.

RightOFLeft on April 22, 2009 at 6:13 PM

Once marriage shifts from being about creating a healthy home for children to ‘celebrating the love of two individuals’, there is no longer the legal footing to argue that polygamy should be illegal because it’s harmful to children. Divorce is also harmful to children but it is (and will remain) legal.

Furthermore, just as there are gay couples that have raised happy, well-adjusted children, there are polygamous families that have also raised happy, well-adjusted children. Of course, these families don’t end up in the spotlight because they aren’t living in an isolated compound and marrying 12 year old girls to 50 year old men, but they are out there. Focusing on the weird, abusive polygamous groups would be the same as focusing on the Fulsom Street Fair and saying, “This is not a good environment for children.”

Far from being a slippery slope argument, I think the legal argument for gay marriage is quite easily the same legal argument to be made for polygamous marriage.

JadeNYU on April 22, 2009 at 7:17 PM

So is polygamy, because the arguments for gay marriage easily carry over to support it.

Don’t forget incestuous & inter-species marriages.

jgapinoy on April 22, 2009 at 7:30 PM

R.S. McCain’s article at The American Spectator from earlier this month, Marriage: A Hill to Die On, is well worth a read. (h/t Riehl)

It would be a shame if the GOP chooses to die on that proverbial hill because a fiscally conservative party is definitely needed, but that’s their choice. It will probably take a generation for it to be enacted but SSM is here to stay. There will be no FMA and the state amendments will be repealed one by one over the coming years, if not eventually struck down by SCOTUS. Don’t believe me? In the comparison he makes, McCain forgets that while Schlafy won the battle against ERA she lost the war. Feminism has won through legislation and the courts, essentially gaining just about everything they wanted through ERA. Considering how the courts twist wording in the Constitution perhaps we owe a debt of gratitude to Schlafy for killing the amendment but most politicians of both sides do not dispute the major goals of equal rights for women now. About the only one that raises any angst is abortion and unfortunately a strong majority still want it to be legal, though heavily regulated.

JohnAGJ on April 22, 2009 at 7:44 PM

This is a good conversation Laura. Family, Faith, & Education are essential to a community. Having a mother and a father is so important to the children of our nation; any nation. Great powerful empires have been taken down from within throughout history, by the erosion of these three most important ingredients. The Roman empire comes to mind.

The battle of ideologies (Liberalism – Conservatism) has been going on for centuries, and will continue to take place long after I’m gone. The world turns to the left until all hell breaks loose, then turns back to the right in order to survive. The cycle just keeps on keep-n on. The marriage between a man & a woman is the foundation of a family. This will never change despite the attempts to make it so. A child is spiritually connected to his/her mother, nothing can take place to change that. That same child will always be wounded of sorts, if that child doesn’t have the father taking part in the home.

Most of the world took a hard turn to the left several decades ago, and are now coming back around to the right. America is taking a hard turn to the left, and will suffer through some really tough years before righting the ship. Conservative principles never change, do not need to change, and will be there once again for all who abandoned them when the time is right. Faith comes in many shapes and forms. Far too many people relate Faith with Church only. I have absolute Faith in my wife, and this is something she has earned. I have absolute Faith in the rewards that come with acts of kindness towards my fellow man; correcting my bad behavior as soon as I realize (capable of self honesty) that I have brought harm to something or somebody. I have absolute Faith in the values that life has blessed me with by way of learning and growing spiritually.

I’m not very good at much in life, so I try my best each day to be the best I can be at what is so easily obtainable and meaningful; be the best husband I can be, be the best father I can be, be the best son I can be, be an example to my family.

I’m not unique by any means, which is why I have faith in mankind. Millions of us gather at places such as this to share ideas, vent, & learn. I see people just like me here at HA. I see people just like me, that share the same values everywhere I go in life. I’m a Conservative man, and I’m proud to live my life with a simple set of values and principles that allow me to be successful in my home, as well as inside my own body. Inner peace comes with a healthy spirit and a clean soul. The best part of my day is when I come home to my wife and kids. Men will be saying the same thing long after I’m gone.

Once again Laura, good subject and a great post!

Keemo on April 22, 2009 at 7:45 PM

Surrender: The ultimate cop-out.

Gay activists want nothing to do with actual marriage. They want you and everyone you know to legitimize and laud their relationship. They will get their way and then they will force schools to teach them that gayness is not just an equal choice but a moral virtue.

You will surrender because you have been brow-beaten into surrender. I weep for your shortsightedness. Gay marriage has nothing to do with marriage and everything to do with control. Control of school curriculum, control of right opinion, control of free speech.

Go on, you just try and suggest that homosexuality isn’t a moral virtue by default. You can already hear Perez Hilton screeching indignantly.

Ultimately I suppose it is irrelevant. America will never see the folly of our ways until we hit rock bottom, and hopefully it will not be too late.

Finally: It is illogical to point to heterosexual divorce as a reason to support gay marriage. What it means is we should destroy no-fault divorce, not enable gay marriage.

BKennedy on April 22, 2009 at 9:47 PM

Gay activists want nothing to do with actual marriage. They want you and everyone you know to legitimize and laud their relationship. They will get their way and then they will force schools to teach them that gayness is not just an equal choice but a moral virtue.

BKennedy on April 22, 2009 at 9:47 PM

Knowing some gay couples who want to nothing more than to have their partnerships recognized by the government they pay taxes to, I think your assertion is less than universal.

If there were a coordinated effort to decrease divorce I’d be more convinced of your point. I there were a coordinated effort to decrease divorce, I’d contribute to it financially and volunteer time. I think it is very much worthwhile. I don’t see stopping gay marriage as statistically meaningful toward that end.

dedalus on April 22, 2009 at 10:20 PM

Behold the new Republican strategy, concede defeat on issues, even if the majority is with us. Laura, is that an alternym for Meghan McCain?

Gay marriage is just another Trojan horse for more liberalism. The demands will not stop with gay marriage. The left wing gays do not support our constitutional rights generally speaking, they are against the right to bear arms and would love to restrict our free speech.

If we are just going to throw in the towel on every issue we might as will give the fuck up and resign ourselves to one party rule. What the hell ever happened to standing up for your convictions regardless of the popular culture? I am so disgusted with these defeatist morons like Allah and now these newbies in the Green Room who seem to be more of the same.

Why Malkin supports this shit I will never know, she stands on her convictions and half of the bloggers at Hot Air undermine them daily.

echosyst on April 22, 2009 at 11:01 PM

I can’t imagine any conservative believing that an aborted child would be better off dead than in the hands of a gay couple.

People who say this have not seen the pictures on the Zombietime blog of the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade.

Do a google of Zombietime blog and go read his/her entry on the SFO Gay Parade. Look at the pictures.

Then come back and tell me that you support adoption of children by gays.

I’m not buying it. Nor am I buying gay marriage. Nor am I buying civil unions. And neither should you.

pabarge on April 23, 2009 at 12:26 AM

Keemo on April 22, 2009 at 7:45 PM – THANKS, you’re too kind. :-)

pabarge (and again, the disclaimer that I don’t support marriage in spite of some commenters reading comprehension troubles; I just think that regardless of how I feel about it, it’s going to happen and largely because of how badly heteros have abused the institution)… I’ve seen the Zombietime photos of some street fair; public sex was just the beginning. I actually intended to do a similar photo essay on Southern Decadence, a similar New Orleans festival; I had a set of photos from previous SDs I’d collected from the web and I intended to take my own set in 2005 with special attention to photos of police ignoring the goings on. I’d hoped that if the general public had any idea, they’d pressure the city council and the sheriff to put a stop to it. Katrina intervened, and I’ve been busy since then. It’s a disgrace that the city supports it and that the police don’t enforce the law during it. So I “get” what you’re saying. (I also know that ALL homosexuals don’t act like that, any more than all Christians are as lacking in actual biblical knowledge as Joel Osteen. But I digress.)

None of that comes close to seeing a dismembered baby, or a baby killed by a saline abortion. And knowing that they felt the whole process. If you haven’t seen it, please Google it. I think once you do, your opinion will change. While I can’t say I support gay adoption any more than I support gay marriage any more than I support single adoption, nor am I that keen on single parenthood generally, it’s a fallen world and we have to make choices in it. It’s better to err on the side of life.

Laura on April 23, 2009 at 1:54 AM

the disclaimer that I don’t support marriage

(Sigh.) I don’t support SAME SEX marriage.

Laura on April 23, 2009 at 2:17 AM

astonerii is right, with the caveat that cohabitation is just as bad for men as marriage.

Society has decided to penalise men for living with women. Consequently, more and more men are avoiding such commitments.

Evil Pundit on April 23, 2009 at 3:22 AM

Everyone who wants to give cogent answers to the question of WHY Gay marriage isn’t just a yes or no proposition must read this letter regarding the Connecticutt Gay Marriage legislation. Even if you are an Atheist – these reasons are so important because if religious freedoms are left exposed and bleeding – other freedoms can suffer the same plight someday. I have long employed these reasons when arguing and don’t understand why they aren’t obvious. I hate to sound cliche – some of my best friends are gay – I want them to have happy relationships with rights, but not at the expense of somrthing like Catholic Charities… Before we can have gay marriage – we have to carefully wrap our religious freedoms in cotton batting to preserve them…

djl130 on April 23, 2009 at 5:22 AM

As one of my Catholic friends said, “If divorce were illegal, protestant churches wouldn’t exist”.

Cheers,
Liberty Card

Liberty Card on April 23, 2009 at 8:43 AM

Missed this. She lets MadisonConservative post here, and I KNOW he’s a libertarian astroturfer for sure.

Darth Executor on April 22, 2009 at 5:10 PM

Just like you KNOW that Christopher Hitchens wants to kill you.

You KNOW many things.

MadisonConservative on April 23, 2009 at 9:03 AM

Laura on April 23, 2009 at 1:54 AM

The problem is that we live in a pluralist Republic.
I would support opposing SSM if someone could give me a valid secular reason for doing so.
But there isn’t one.
All your reasons boil down to “because [this particular god] says so.”

strangelet on April 23, 2009 at 9:33 AM

I would support opposing SSM if someone could give me a valid secular reason for doing so.
But there isn’t one.
All your reasons boil down to “because [this particular god] says so.”

strangelet on April 23, 2009 at 9:33 AM

If it weren’t entangled with a freedom of religion/hate crime legislation creep issue I truly wouldn’t care. I support two consenting adults’ right to contract as they please.

So soon as we get that thing on the California AG’s website to give everyone in the state Civil Unions recognized as marriage (essentially the same rights with a different name) I’ll vote for it. Seems totally fair while preserving the rights of religious institutions to define the term as they see fit.

TheUnrepentantGeek on April 23, 2009 at 11:47 AM

preserving the rights of religious institutions to define the term as they see fit.

TheUnrepentantGeek on April 23, 2009 at 11:47 AM

You know that is a lie, geek.
Churches can’t be forced to perform marriages of any kind they object to.
Not mixed race marriages, not divorced ppls marriages, zip, nada.
You fail.
I frickin’ hate this dishonesty.

strangelet on April 23, 2009 at 2:30 PM

However, in a Republic, the State can be forced to give equal rights to all citizens.
And you are superclueless if you don’t think that will happen eventually.

strangelet on April 23, 2009 at 2:32 PM

You know that is a lie, geek.
Churches can’t be forced to perform marriages of any kind they object to.
Not mixed race marriages, not divorced ppls marriages, zip, nada.
You fail.
I frickin’ hate this dishonesty.

strangelet on April 23, 2009 at 2:30 PM

Right now, religious institutions can marry whom they wish. That doesn’t mean it will always be that way. My position is calibrated to ensure that that remains the case while granting everyone equal rights and privileges under the law.

I did not lie. So actually, YOU FAIL. You fail to grasp the issue, you fail to deal with the unintended consequences of your actions, and you fail to deal with me honestly.

Your actions imply that you desire acceptance for the gay communities behavior as moral and correct rather than merely tolerance. That’s an overstep. Just admit that you want to control what people believe and get it over with.

TheUnrepentantGeek on April 23, 2009 at 2:51 PM

However, in a Republic, the State can be forced to give equal rights to all citizens.
And you are superclueless if you don’t think that will happen eventually.

strangelet on April 23, 2009 at 2:32 PM

What did you do when you heard that Prop 8 had passed, hunker down and spout some variation on “I’ll get you gadget! NEXT TIME!?”

I’m all for equal rights to all citizens, which is why I support giving both gays and straights civil unions with rights exactly equal to marriage. The state should simply cease to give marriagess as a result. That’s something private organizations can provide.

TheUnrepentantGeek on April 23, 2009 at 2:54 PM

What did you do when you heard that Prop 8 had passed, hunker down and spout some variation on “I’ll get you gadget! NEXT TIME!?”

Nope.
I have faith in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
The mills of social justice grind slow, but they grind exceeding small.
Segregation academies and anti-miscegenation laws were wildly popular with you guys once upon a time.
I’m young…..I can wait.
;)

strangelet on April 23, 2009 at 8:17 PM

That’s an overstep. Just admit that you want to control what people believe and get it over with.

Believe what you like in your churches.
But quit your pranching and braying in the public square.

strangelet on April 23, 2009 at 8:19 PM

I don’t care at all what you believe.
Like I said, I believe in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
You are trying to impose your religious beliefs on unwilling citizens in a Republic.
That hasn’t worked out very well for you in the past.

strangelet on April 23, 2009 at 8:25 PM

Segregation academies and anti-miscegenation laws were wildly popular with you guys the Democrats once upon a time.

FTFY

Laura on April 23, 2009 at 11:28 PM

Segregation academies and anti-miscegenation laws were wildly popular with you guys the Democrats once upon a time.

FTFY

Laura on April 23, 2009 at 11:28 PM

Both parties, Laura.
Your point is?
I think having homophobia and discrimination against minority citizens as your common cause (prop 8) is going to be just as much of an electoral loser for you as shared racism was.

strangelet on April 24, 2009 at 11:41 AM

LOL
prop 8 that would be.

strangelet on April 24, 2009 at 11:42 AM

But quit your pranching and braying in the public square.

strangelet on April 23, 2009 at 8:19 PM

First, what’s pranching?

Second, no. You won’t silence my speech.

And the accusations of homophobia are stupid and dishonest. You fail yet again.

Ministers have already been fined in several western countries like Canada and Sweden. If it could happen there, it’s not far fetched for it to happen here. Thought control is the goal of many progressives. Changing minds … by force if necessary.

Like I said, I believe in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Like hell you do, liar. You can’t even be bothered to interpret the thing; your justices just say what they’d like to do and find a way to rewrite the text of the Constitution so that you can manage it. Living document my arse.

TheUnrepentantGeek on April 24, 2009 at 12:16 PM

prancing, sry.

I have only two things to say, Geek.
Brown vs. Board of Education.
Loving vs. Virginia.

strangelet on April 25, 2009 at 9:43 AM

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