It was only a matter of time, really. Britain, the country of my birth and my home for the first 28 years of my life, has legalized same-sex marriage.
The Conservative government had not in any way campaigned for it during the election, and Prime Minister David Cameron had effectively said he would not pursue it, as had the gay lobby and its political champions. The United Kingdom, you see, had introduced civil partnerships for homosexuals in 2004, and one of the reasons the proposal was passed was because its backers gave their word that it was not “a stepping stone but the end of the road.” That was always a lie—they knew it was always a lie, and gay marriage was always the intention. Just as the same people are lying now when they say that nobody will be punished, prosecuted, or dismissed for opposing the phenomenon or refusing to teach and proclaim it. The Guardian newspaper has already featured an article by a national celebrity—a star on the iconic British soap Coronation Street—calling for churches that refuse to perform same-sex weddings to be penalized and worse. In Britain even the B-list actors are political and write acid editorials!
The thing is, there were many out and open gay people in Britain who opposed the move, or who said it was premature and gratuitously polarizing. The majority of the Prime Minister’s parliamentary caucus voted against him, including at least two gay MPs, and the grass roots of the party are apoplectic. It is likely that Cameron will lose the next election because of this, in that Tory voters will simply abstain or vote for the less liberal United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), and that Conservative activists will not campaign.
The Church of England has been placed in an impossible position, because the newly appointed Archbishop of Canterbury is an evangelical, and as head of the established church he publicly and loudly opposes the Prime Minister. The Muslim community is further distanced from the mainstream, and is incredulous at the decision. Then there is, well, us—the Roman Catholics. Britain is only 8 percent Catholic, and in some regions the number falls to below 5 percent. Small, somewhat besieged, historically persecuted, still disliked in much of Scotland, and now to be hit very hard indeed with the bludgeon of that most convenient hammer, called “homophobia.”
It’s going to be a difficult time for British Catholics, but then it’s not supposed to be easy being a member of the institution founded by Jesus Christ. They, as well as every other Catholic, need to know the reasons for the Church’s stance on homosexuality and, by extension, so-called gay marriage. Obviously there are biblical and sacramental reasons for marriage being between only one man and one woman, and ones that I don’t have time to discuss here, but we must also remember that Catholic teaching is based on natural law. The entire same-sex marriage argument is not so much about the rights of a sexual minority but the status and meaning of marriage.
Indeed, the deconstruction of marriage began not with the gay community asking for the right to marry but with the heterosexual world rejecting marriage itself. The term “common-law marriage” says it all. Marriage is many things but it is never common. Yet with this semantic and legal revolution, desire and convenience have replaced commitment and dedication. The qualifications, so to speak, have been lowered.
And one does indeed have to qualify for marriage, just as one, for example, has to qualify for a pension or a military medal. People who have not reached the age of retirement don’t qualify for a pension; people who don’t serve in the armed forces don’t qualify for a military medal. It’s not a question of equality but requirement. A human right is intrinsic, a social institution is not.
The four great and historic qualifications have always been number, gender, age, and blood. Two people, male and female, over a certain age, and not closely related. Responsible and moderate societies have sometimes changed the age of maturity but incest has always been condemned and, by its nature, died out because of retardation. As for polygamy, it is making something of a comeback, partly because of gay marriage.
Whenever this is mentioned we are accused of using the slippery slope argument. Sorry, some slopes are slippery! Polygamy is an ancient tradition within Islam—and was in Sephardic Judaism and some Asian cultures—and when the precedent of gay marriage is combined with the freedom of religion defense, the courts will have a difficult time rejecting it.
At the moment, the Muslim community is not sufficiently politically comfortable to pursue the issue, and the clearly deranged polygamous sects on the aesthetic as well as geographical fringes of society obscure any reasonable debate. But the argument will certainly come and the result is largely inevitable. If love is the only criterion for marriage who are we to judge the love between a man and his wives?
The State, though, has a duty to judge and to do so based on its own interests. The most significant of which is its continued existence, meaning that we have to produce children. As procreation is the likely if not essential result of marriage between a man and a woman, it is in the interests of the State to encourage marriage.
Of course, lesbian couples can have an obliging friend assist them in having a baby, and gay men can adopt or have some other obliging friend have one for them, but this is hardly the norm and hardly going to guarantee the longevity of a stable society. Just as significant, it smashes the fundamental concept of a child being produced through an act of love. The donation of bodily fluid by an anonymous person, or that obliging friend again, is an act not of love but of lust, indifference, or profit.
For the first time in world history we are purposefully creating and legitimizing families where there will be no male or female role model and parent. Anyone who speaks of uncles, aunts, communities and villages raising children has no real understanding of family life. Single-parent families exist and are sometimes excellent and, obviously, not every traditional family is a success. But to consciously create unbalanced families in which children can never enjoy the profound difference between man and woman, mother and father, is dangerous social engineering.
So, love and compassion all round, but logic and truth too. And genuine love and genuine compassion are not the same as blandly saying “Yes” to every demand and desire that someone expresses. Scripture is very clear regarding the nature of sex, human intimacy, and God’s plan for his creatures. Of course, some of the Old Testament laws are cultural and cosmetic, which is why Christians do not observe them. But the moral laws are timeless, and no amount of Internet letters and West Wing speeches about what Leviticus says regarding slavery or menstruation can change the fact. Popular ignorance about theology and Hollywood’s inability to be logical are irrelevant.
Love, sex, and marriage have consequences and meaning. I fear that the results of this latest social experiment will be seen in the next generation, and then God help us. Sincerely, God help us.