Please watch this video as a preface to the story.
Up front I'll tell you that I am opposed to homosexual marriage. I am opposed for a wide variety of reasons beginning with my belief that Lawrence v. Texas was a travesty. Be that as it may, I have to agree with many homosexual marriage supporters that it is heterosexuals who have succeeded in debasing marriage and we shouldn't be surprised when the course we've charted for marriage over the past seventy or so years arrives at its logical conclusion in which marriage is treated as the punch line in a gay sex joke.
In Western Civilization, marriage has traditionally indissoluble. The break with that tradition occurred when Henry VIII made himself head of his own church so he could procure divorces when the headsman was indisposed. Even so, in the context of dynastic politics he had a point. Unfortunately, societies tend to be run by elites who are often dismissive of norms of behavior and the masses which emulate them (let's face it, a married man getting fellated by a woman thirty years his junior was totally déclassé until Bill Clinton arrived on the scene. Video taping your sexual antics was considered bad form until Paris Hilton turned hers into fame).
As society changed into one based on obligations -- paternal, maternal, filial, patriotic -- into one based on discovering oneself and self affirmation and tolerance we discovered easy divorce and no fault divorce. Where once the rich had scurried away to Mexico or the Dominican Republic to obtain a quick divorce, as we became more enlightened the lower orders were able to do the same at the county courthouse. The idea of permanence in marriage is slipping way, indeed, the traditional marriage vow "with my body I thee worship" has become "with my body I do what I freakin like".
Contraception made adultery and premarital sex more like a trip to Six Flags than an activity which borebearing with it concern about pregnancy.
Abortion arrived further damaging the foundations of marriage. How is that? you ask. It became possible for a married woman to legally procure an abortion without her husband's consent. I know a lot of War on Women types will shake their head at this last one, but think about the implications to an institution whose raison d'être is "the two shall become one" (I think someone famous said that but I'm not sure) when "one" does whatever she wants and "two" is left on the sidelines.
Somewhere along the way we decided that single motherhood was not a source of shame but rather a gutsy decision that deserved television shows lionizing that decision. Never mind that all social science data shows that an unmarried mother and her children, or bastards as they would have been termed in earlier times, fare much worse than a woman who bears her children after marriage. The old expression of "why buy the cow when you can have the cream" has given way to a hook-up culture where the idea of buying the cow never comes up.
Premarital sex ceased being a occasional and usually furtive activity to the norm. One no longer hears the phrase "shacking up". To digress for a moment, the current spate of lawsuits by "married" homosexuals against photographers and bakers, etc., has it root in the same strategy used by the federal government to force religiously inclined landlords to rent to unmarried couples. Martin Niemöller's warning that "first they came for the Jews" is eerily prescient here as that is the situation many who oppose homosexual marriage find themselves in.
We moved from fairly iron clad rules on how marriage was conducted to anything goes. The requirement that a marriage take place in the home parish of the bride, that banns be posted for several weeks, that the groom post what was essentially a performance bond and an engagement was as legally enforceable contract gave way to the Little Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas where, conveniently, you could get liquored up and married on Friday night and divorce on Saturday when you sobered up.
Marriage also moved from solemn venues, a church or chapel or the family home to 1960s-granola infused settings which, at least, celebrated the majesty of Gaia, to weddings that are simply disrespectful of the bride, groom, and marriage itself.
None of this could have happened without society embracing a radical form of feminism which did not merely strive for the social equality of men and women, a laudable goal, but which had as a goal the marginalization of men into sperm donors and the source of income to support illegitimate children. This, of course, hasn't worked out a well as the proponents have hoped because if a woman no longer looks at your life prospects before deciding to have your kids you lose a lot of motivation to better yourself and become socialized rather than spending the days with your friends on the PlayStation.
So, dear readers, if you wonder how we find ourselves in a situation where opposing something that was a felony a decade ago now makes you a bigot and you are no longer sure whether than nice man across the street is a dog lover or thinks your Lab would make a wonderful bride, and your daughter introduces you to future husband and co-wives remember we worked hard to make this hash of a noble institution and we have no one to blame but ourselves.