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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