Let’s Talk Gay Marriage, Part 1
The Practical Consequences of Equal Protection
Let’s talk gay marriage. This is the first in a yet-to-be-determined-part series on an issue that matters dearly to me. I believe in marriage. I believe that marriage is the sacred union of one man and one woman, and it devastates me to no end both that liberals believe government is capable of simply changing that definition on a whim, and that many state governments are actually doing so. What’s more, as many of you (I’m sure) know, the Supreme Court has heard and will decide later this year on two cases that will be pivotal for this issue going forward.
Today, my goal is simple: I want to address the practical consequences of affording the LGBT community equal protection under the 14th amendment, which is what they seek in both cases. Many conservatives have already addressed this, but I want to flesh it out in a bit more detail. Then, in future posts, we’ll get into the reasoned defense of marriage, and what’s really behind the push for gay marriage.
So, let’s say that the LGBT community wins their cases in the Supreme Court. California’s Proposition 8 is ruled unconstitutional, as is the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). We’ll say that the Supreme Court justices agree that the LGBT community is entitled to equal protection under the 14th Amendment, and that the government denying them the right to marry amounts to discrimination. (I don’t buy this argument, for reasons we’ll get into later. For now, let’s roll with it.) The inevitable question becomes, now what?
Well, every state’s constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman would be overturned in the blink of an eye; there’d be lots of butt-sex going on all across the country as the LGBT community and liberals celebrated their victory.
Then, slowly and over time, out of the shadows would come the polygamists (especially from my home state of Utah), who would sue their state of residence on the grounds that its anti-polygamy laws were unconstitutional, denying them the right to marry, to which they are just as entitled under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment as anyone else. They would argue that theirs is a lifestyle which, though stigmatized, is no less deserving of acceptance by the community as that of the LGBT community. No doubt liberals would come alongside them in their fight, calling anyone who would dare stand in their way a “hater,” a “bigot.” The Supreme Court would have no choice but to either walk back its precedent, or to proceed forward and open the floodgates.
(I left out an intermediate step. First cousins wanting to marry in a state in which it’s currently illegal would probably come forward first. In fact, I’m sure there are already some preparing their cases as we speak. The point is, it’s already legal in 20 states, so it wouldn’t be as big of a deal.)
Following the polygamists would come the 45-year-old man and 13-year-old girl, both of whom are from conservative (perhaps Middle Eastern) backgrounds, and who wanted to marry. Now, we’ll assume for the sake of argument that the 13-year-old girl is sexually mature, and that both she and her parents are perfectly happy with the arrangement, though it’s not at all beyond the realm of possibility that the girl would simply assent to the arrangement for fear that her dissent would bring shame on her family. Like the polygamists, this couple would argue that theirs is a lifestyle that, though reviled by Western culture, is just as deserving of acceptance by American society, just as entitled to protection under the 14th Amendment. And seeing that a case couldn’t be made that any real harm was being done to the girl (remember, she’s sexually mature, and both she and her parents have assented to the arrangement), the Supreme Court would have no choice but to either take huge strides to reverse precedent, or open the floodgates even wider.
And with that, America will have taken a turn back to prearranged marriages, perhaps even in exchange for a dowery. Every step of progress made and established by Western society, the bedrock of which was Christianity (note the past tense), regarding women’s rights and equality, would begin to unravel.
Now, I know that liberals (and even a few conservatives) are passionate (or at least indifferent) about this issue. I know that they believe it is yet another step in the direction of progress. But please, head my words: if the government of the United States attempts to redefine marriage, an institution it did not create but has simply recognized, it will, in the long run, result in a step backwards on our journey toward a more equitable and just society.
“We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.” —C.S. Lewis
A few thoughts before I end. Some may seek to accuse me of a slippery slope logical fallacy in the arguments I’ve set forth in this article. They might be right; but I fail to see how the Supreme Court could justify affording Equal Protection to the LGBT community on this issue and still deny it to other lifestyles and marital arrangements. To anyone who would make such an accusation, I would ask that you provide me with the argument the Supreme Court could make that wouldn’t result in the outcomes I’ve posited here.
Still others may lash out emotionally at the arguments I’ve made here, calling me a “hater” and a “bigot” for even daring to stand opposed to what liberals like to call “marriage equality.” I would ask them to take a step back and ask whether they still believe that Reason is the means by which we find out truth. If so, then I would ask them to stay tuned. Now that we’ve discussed what I am certain will be the practical implications of attempting to redefine marriage, we’ll move on to the more straightforward and reasoned argument against gay marriage, including:
- Why the allegation of discrimination depends greatly on the framing of the argument,
- Why petitioning a court for redress of grievances on this issue makes no reasoned sense,
- Why denying the LGBT community this recognition is not necessarily an act of hate, and
- What policy initiatives conservatives can (and should) support on this issue.