In the short aftermath of the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage decision there has emerged three schools of thought about where we go from here. My dear pro-marriage colleagues are reluctant to change anything. They see the Court’s decision as they did the decades-earlier abortion decision. They see the marriage debate as a protracted legal conflict with much left for which to fight.
Libertarian ideologues, as they always have, Court or no Court, want government out of marriage – the Court’s decision is just one more opportunity to display their incoherent understanding of freedom. Lastly, the gay community can live without marriage. Some members of that community cherish it as a symbol of acceptance and there are others who prize it as a symbol of equality. But the gay lifestyle, along with the rest of the Sexual Revolution, is not about traditional marriage or traditional anything. If government got out of marriage for everyone, the gay community would have achieved its same goals – the illusion of emotional equality.
All three schools of thought have one thing in common, a fatal flaw – by law or culture, all three now see marriage as a legal contract. Admittedly, my pro-marriage friends have seen it as much more but the Court’s decision took the “much more” away and they, like everyone else, are left with only a legal contract to protect. My friends argue that the contractual aspects alone are worth preserving and, as they always have with loss after loss after loss, they retreat to whatever is left of their worldview. That’s a fundamental mistake of my pro-marriage friends, bordering on pathological.
All three schools of thought have abandoned, disdain or ignore the state interest in marriage – and it’s the state interest that holds marriage’s direct relationship and value to freedom. The Court didn’t just cripple marriage in a free society. The Court crippled a free society. American freedom has stood on the legs of human virtue and now stands on one leg alone – religious freedom. The Court rendered marriage meaningless in a free society. In a series of legal decisions tracing back to its ruling on contraception use, the Court, once again, chose the individual as the fundamental unit of society. And, now, freedom will suffer again and permanently.
My pro-marriage friends will continue to argue that all is not lost. They will argue, much like their libertarian opponents, that the state did not create marriage and, hence, cannot kill marriage. But unlike their libertarian opponents, my friends will argue that even the new same-sex marriage culture is worth saving even if the meaning of marriage is now lost. This is a huge strategic assumption and mistake on the part of my friends.
A marriage culture, like truth itself, doesn’t need saving. There’s no way for the Court or anyone to kill marriage. It simply needs to be lived. People of virtue will continue to live it regardless of man’s laws. That never has been the issue. But when man’s laws move from supporting the moral ecology of freedom to harming its moral ecology, the worst thing we can do is save what harms us in the name of what saves us.
It’s time for my pro-marriage friends to invoke the biblical “Samuel Principle.” It’s time to give Americans the “king” they want – even if it means their ruin. The Court’s decision has created a cultural welfare state. We can choose to prop up this culture of dependency (after all, same-sex marriage is a creation of the state) or we can let it fall from its own destructive weight. I’m saying, let it fall.
The gay community doesn’t care about a culture of marriage and they certainly don’t understand the true meaning of freedom – if, by freedom, they mean the unconditional acceptance and enjoyment of their sexual behaviors. Libertarians are in the same boat. Under a rule of law framework, because libertarians get the rule wrong, they get the law wrong as well. If you can’t see freedom correctly, you won’t see the state interest in marriage.
A majority of the Court was blind to the state interest in marriage. Most of America misses it as well. It’s time for my pro-marriage friends to accept the larger verdict. It’s time for my friends to let America live with the consequences of its actions. Just as truth gives a perception of hope to falsehood, so does a culture of marriage give a perception of hope to the countercultures opposing it. Let’s not give the enemies of freedom any hope. Let them live in their ruin. Give them their king.
The only relevant question left for my pro-marriage friends is this: What will become of us?
Originally broadcast on KVNU for the People. Reposted with permission.