The ever-popular film The Princess Bride created a new word (or at least pronunciation) when the pasty-faced, lisping clergyman famously entoned, "Mauuuwage...." and then pontificated for so long that he was asked to "just get on with it." His slap-bang pronouncement of official marriage then moved the plot along humorously. A clever ad has recently been hawking its line of walkie-talkies in such scenes as a wedding ceremony stripped down to key words and phrases, all spoken into the cellphone-like devices held by bride, groom and minister. If these examples weren't so true to their times—times which strain the ages-old assumptions of virtually every culture and major religion regarding marriage and its core meaning—they would merely be trite, funny.
However, traditional heterosexual marriage is in real trouble, even as divorce and other marital markers improve or level off. Given the inroads into society's most basic institution made lately by gay activists, these innocent jokes barely give a nod to the ongoing trivialization and gutting of marriage. Conservative (and some libertarian) commentators agree that the very recent Goodridge decision of the Masschusetts Supreme Court, that pronounces the state's ban on homosexual marriages unconstitutional and forces it to compromise, further propels American law and society headlong down a cataclysmic slippery slope. Marriage scholar Maggie Gallagher writes in The Stakes: Why We Need Marriage (National Review Online), "The bad news is that gay marriage will gut this [improving] marriage movement and reverse its gains. Marriage will no longer be a carrier of the message that children need mothers and fathers." She continues, "Instead the law will legitimate the principles of family diversity: that adults get to form the families they choose and children will resiliently adjust. Or not, but who cares?"
Joining the chorus, conservative culture warriors and other players are saying:
Political liberals, some moderates and gay spokesmen argue that same-sex couples want only the same rights and privileges afforded by the state to heterosexual couples. This presupposes that marriage is simply a legal right, and one granted to couples. Homosexuality (and its associated behaviors) is seen as a privacy issue until it comes to demanding benefits from the public. But how does opening the marriage gate up to other-than-opposite-sex couples impact society at large?
Just some of the other related questions:
These and other issues are approached in our Special Focus. Your opinions and questions on this monumental debate are welcome.
—Byron Barlowe, Editor/Webmaster, Leadership University
The very definition of marriage has been challenged. The issue goes beyond extending rights and privileges to a small, vocal group and goes right to the matter of whether or not Western culture as we know it can survive.
What Marriage Is For
Marriage maven Maggie Gallagher cuts through to the core issue of same-sex marriage: it's not about bestowing a privilege on a few gays, but a radical redefinition of society's one basic way to help children grow up healthy, a heterosexual union of two. "...Gay marraige...would require soceity at large to gut marriage of its central presumptions about family in order to accommodate a few adults' desires."
In all the societies of the world, anthropologists have noted certain "cultural absolutes." One of them is the institution of marriage. In its experiments on the nuclear family, the West is jeopardizing the bricks on which societies are built.
Court's Eye for the Married Guy
Lynn Vincent, World
Should gays and lesbians be allowed to marry? Activist courts say yes, most Americans say no, and politicians will have a tough time satisfying voters with a maybe. The battle lines are still being drawn, but"gay marriage" will likely be a defining issue for the 2004 political campaign.
Mills' claim is that Christians cause harm by assuming that marriage is an expression of our sexuality, thus unwittingly keeping men who experience sexual attraction for other men from marrying (heterosexually, normally) and raising a family. Meilaender agrees on some points, but calls Mills on his blindness to eros, as opposed to sheer sexual appetite. He concludes, "The central place given to the language of 'orientation' in discussions of sexuality has probably been mistaken, and we ought to be grateful to Mills for reminding us of much that we should not have left unsaid."
The Marriage Amendment
By the editors of First Things, eminent journal of religion in public life on the proposed Marriage Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads, "Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution or the constitution of any state, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred on unmarried couples or groups."
Gay Marriage and Defense of Traditional Marriage: A Breakpoint Compendium
Culture warrior, Breakpoint commentator and author Chuck Colson speaks to the cultural shift brought on by the gay lobby through the Lawrence decision, the same-sex marriage ruling in Massachusetts and what effect these have on society. He also promotes the federal Marriage Amendment as "the last best hope" for our culture.
Evangelicals and Catholics on the Protection of Marriage
The "collaborative fellowship of convinced Roman Catholic and Evangelical leaders and theologians" known as ECT speaks out to Christians, political leaders and all concerned regarding the protection of monogamous heterosexual marriage and rendering of other imitative unions null. ECT's latest statement also calls for Christians to repent of their culpability in the present low state of marriage in our culture.
Gay activists and political proponents of same-sex marriage did not suddenly appear on the scene demanding "equal rights." Theirs has been at least a decade-long, self-described campaign of propaganda and social conditioning. The courts, reading "right to privacy" into the Constitution, have colluded and paved the way for their success.
A Culture Corrupted
Arkes wrote presciently in 1996 that, as was done with the abortion issue through Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court may have irreversibly advanced the agenda of gays and lesbians in its Romer v. Evans decision. This ruling, he wrote, may be used in effect, to force the states to recognize the legitimacy of same-sex couples as married. Yet, those who object are reviled for bringing the issue "into politics"!
Books In Review: Homosexuality and American Public Life
Reviewed by J. Budziszewski
Budziszewski comments on Wolfe's comprehensive volume and its usefulness in formulating a public discourse against the legitimation of homosexuality. A companion volume also available from Spence Publishing (spencepublishing.com).
Marketing strategies aren't just for Pepsi. Gay activists have one too — and if you want to see the results, just turn on your TV. Kaufmann discusses the self-proclaimed strategies of propaganda used brilliantly by those gays who have admittedly not only sought acceptance, but to radically change the social order.
The Supreme Court Rules
Michael M. Uhlmann
"I’d bet that the battle for public sentiment...is about to move toward a major engagement on the issue of homosexual marriage.... Most people are unaware of it unless they happen to live in Hawaii, Alaska, Vermont, Colorado, Massachusetts, or other states where the issue has already been taken up for public debate. The Supreme Court, however, has now nationalized the issue, and there will be no escaping the implications of Lawrence [which overruled a Texas anti-sodomy law].... The public today is certainly more tolerant of private homosexual behavior than it has been in the past, but homosexual marriage is another issue altogether. If the public gets the sense that homosexual marriage could be imposed by judicial fiat—and [Judge] Kennedy’s Lawrence opinion clearly opens that door—it may take matters into its own hands."
Leadership U Special Focus: Gay Marriage: For Better or For Worse?
Edited by Byron Barlowe
Dateline 2000: Recent contradictory court rulings revealed the polarization surrounding the same-sex marriage issue. Are homosexuals' claims of discrimination legitimate? What might be the fallout of gay marriage? Check out our Special Focus (published on these pages 1/10/00). Note: same graphic, mostly different material.
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The blog (Weblog) of marriage scholar-activist Maggie Gallagher. Contains extensive commentary on the topic of marriage in general, often same-sex marriage and civil unions in particular.
Official Court Document: GOODRIDGE v. DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH
Massachusetts Supreme Court
Now-(in)famous November 17, 2003 ruling by the Massachusetts Supreme Court that ruled that state's prohibition of same-sex marriage unconstitutional and which requires the state to compromise.
Family Scholars Blog
From the masthead: "...a pro-family Web site and blog. The tone is more civil and intellectual than some recent sites I've visited" - Instapundit.com. Includes some well-known contributors, such as David Blankenhorn. Created by Institute for American Values (americanvalues.org).
Questions and Answers: What's Wrong With Letting Same-Sex Couples "Marry?"
Paper from conservative lobby group Family Research Council, "Questions and Answers: What's Wrong With Letting Same-Sex Couples 'Marry'?" containing succinct, cogent answers to virtually all the arguements and counterarguments put forth by gay activists and their supporters.