On January 11 the Supreme Court of California heard the opening arguments in favor of overturning Proposition 8. This proposition, you will recall, amended the State constitution by means of a statewide vote of its citizens.
It’s more than a California matter because the marriage laws of 45 other States are at issue. It’s even more than an American issue because the assault on marriage is going on in Canada and the United Kingdom and other places in the western world.
It appears that those who are pushing for the collapse of the historic and virtually universal belief that marriage is a covenanted union of one man and one woman do not respect or believe in the democratic process.
A state-wide vote was taken at great expense. Impassioned speeches were made. There were demonstrations. And then a referendum. The citizenry said they want the historic position to be enshrined in the state constitution. The procedures were followed carefully. But the arguments must be made again.
In the opening arguments on January 11 a lawyer representing California said, “the traditional definition of marriage does not reflect animus against gays and lesbians – in California or anywhere else. Nor is it any way arbitrary or irrational.”
The argument continued, “Rather, it simply reflects the fact that the institution of marriage is, and always has been uniquely concerned with promoting and regulating naturally procreative relationships between men and women to provide for the nurture and upbringing of the next generation.”
It further states, “This understanding of the central purposes of marriage has been repeatedly and persuasively articulated by leading lawyers, linguists, philosophers, and social scientists throughout history up to and including the present day.”
The attack mounted against traditional marriage is multi-pronged: divorce has become surprisingly commonplace; living together unmarried almost mainstream; and a seemingly relentless campaign is on to broaden the definition of marriage to include an unnatural same-sex arrangement (possibly to be followed later by polygamy, polyandry and even state approved incestuous unions).
Those of us who hold to a Judeo-Christian understanding of life and particularly of marriage will need to give greater attention to what’s going on in this society. Do we understand why the traditional view of marriage is critically important? Can we articulate clearly the position we hold? And do we take opportunity whether in church or newspaper or local meetings to support the idea forthrightly but with civility?
I would be glad to hear from you, my reader, a one sentence or no more than a one paragraph reason why traditional marriage is to be protected for the good of the family and the good of society. That little assignment would test us all on the depth and clarity of our understanding of the problem. Good solutions begin with understanding.