American Thinker 28 Oct 2012
Despite thirty-plus campaigns, there has been little informed public discussion about what marriage is and the state’s interest in maintaining traditional marriage (sadly, the proponents of redefining marriage prefer to rely on name-calling and intimidation, which leaves little room for dispassionate debate). As a consequence, many voters have never heard the actual arguments in defense of traditional marriage, but only the strawmen that its opponents are fond of pummeling, most of which (on the surface) appeal to the idea of freedom. For example, I once heard a nationally-syndicated radio talk-show host, a self-identified libertarian who generally takes a conservative position, say: “not one person has been able to call in and tell me how two men or two women marrying each other will harm their own marriage” (in other words, mind your own business). Or how often have you heard something like “traditional marriage supporters are anti-freedom; they want to keep gay people from marrying the partner of their choice.” I see a third of these strawmen every Sunday outside my church, where a protester holds a sign that says: “When did I get to vote on your marriage?”
Despite their surface plausibility, none of these arguments withstand more than cursory scrutiny. Consider the case of the radio personality: of course nobody had ever successfully argued on his show that two men or two women marrying each other would harm their own marriage, because nobody anywhere defends traditional marriage on that ground; the arguments against redefining marriage are much more fundamental. The real question is whether then union of a man and women is different from that of two men or two women (hint: the answer has something to do with babies), and whether the state has an interest in fostering and protecting exclusive heterosexual relationships that it does not have in same-sex relationships. The radio host didn’t mention whether he had ever had that discussion on his show (curious, because that is what I hear defenders of traditional marriage talking about).
In a similar way, the argument that people opposed to the redefinition of marriage want to “outlaw” homosexual relationships or break up gay couples is dishonest and misleading (which is always a red flag that more is going on than meets the eye). Indeed, it is false on a number of levels. To begin with, virtually nobody today is arguing for the return of anti-sodomy laws, or advocating the forcible separation of cohabiting same-sex couples. Nor have I heard of anyone promoting laws that would somehow prevent homosexuals from calling their relationships “marriages” if they so choose. Traditional marriage supporters are simply working to preserve the legal definition of our most important social institution (older than the state and older, even, than institutional religion; more on this below) against those who themselves want to use the force of law to compel the rest of us to agree to a new definition, a definition that nobody anywhere has ever held (up until the last few years), and one which will change our understanding of that most important institution in fundamental ways. By any objective measure, the gay-marriage advocates are trying to deprive the rest of us of our liberty to hold and to express our beliefs. Ironically, the attack on traditional marriage is, at the same time, a threat against liberty itself. Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/10/gay_marriage_threatens_our_freedom.html