As I Please

Commentary by Tom Gregg       March 9, 2004

What's Love Got to Do with It?

Though I still find it difficult to take the oxymoron called gay marriage seriously, it’s becoming difficult to ignore the possibility that a cabal of clueless jurists might actually force it down America's throat. This calls for comment. Though stupidity may be amusing, it’s far from harmless. And in a universe that’s no stranger to destructive brain cramps, same-sex marriage is an astonishingly idiotic idea. 

Why do I say this? Am I not being insensitive? What gives me the right to trivialize the feelings of fellow Americans who happen to be gay? Don’t their commitments matter? Aren’t they entitled to license their love? What am I, some kind of gay-bashing bigot? 

Oh, please. 

This toxic brew of artificially sweetened sentimentality and righteous indignation should tell you all you need to know about the fraudulence of “gay marriage.” To make the thing work, you see, it will first necessary to destroy the institution of marriage. 

The case for same-sex marriage rests on the argument that marriage is a private compact between two people, and that society has no business specifying which two people. In other words, it’s a civil rights issue. We should all be at liberty to marry whomever we please, and the state has no business butting in. This claim, however, raises an interesting question: If marriage is a private compact, then why should the state involved at all? Well, because the state has a “compelling interest” in the institution of marriage, so there. 

Oops, disconnect alert.

Suppose we assume for the sake of argument that the state does indeed have a compelling interest in the regulation of marriage. Can that interest be defined? What is it, precisely, that compels the state to involve itself in this most personal and intimate of all human relationships? 

I hope no one will venture to argue that the state is compelled by its interest in the tender passions to place a seal of official approval on individual declarations of love. Ah, but there’s more to marriage than love, you say. It’s the foundation stone of society, the framework of the family, the ultimate arbiter of relations between the sexes, the. . . 

All irrelevant, I’m afraid. We’ve already established that marriage is a “civil rights issue,” remember? It’s not a question of the state’s compelling interest. On the contrary, advocates for gay marriage are insisting that the state has an affirmative duty to make marriage available to same-sex couples, just as it has a duty to ensure all citizens’ right to vote. And it is thus, by substituting rights for responsibilities, that they are deconstructing the once sacred institution of marriage. 

It would be unfair to place the blame for this impending social disaster solely on gays. The rot set in a long time ago, back in the Sixties, when the poisonous doctrine of no-fault divorce was adopted. Progressives and feminists had a fine time caricaturing marriage as an emotional and sexual concentration camp. They insisted that it needed to be reformed. Result: our current divorce rate. 

So now, on the same dubious argument that the emotions of the moment trump everything, another lame-brained "reform" is about to be inflicted on marriage—and this time it's going to be reformed to death. If the state may not be permitted to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, then how can it define it at all? And if it can't be defined, then how can it exist as anything more than a bureaucratic formality, like getting a dog license? And if it's merely a formality, what's the big deal?

Woody Allen put the case for gay marriage very well when he said, albeit in quite a different context, “The heart wants what it wants.” So it does, and damn the consequences. The sheer baby boomer selfishness of this bogus civil rights crusade is its most annoying feature, and I for one will enjoy watching victory turn to ashes on the tongues of these particular crusaders.

Copyright © 2004 by Thomas M. Gregg