Reasonable people can still debate marriage

Reprinted from the Press and Journal

For months now, I’ve predicted in the Press and Journal that the Supreme Court would foist same-sex marriage upon the country. Lo and behold, with the decision rendered in Obergefell v. Hodges, the Court came through in flying – perhaps rainbow – colors.

Gay marriage is now a constitutional right. Where language about marriage exists in the Constitution, I haven’t the slightest, but I’ll accept my prize for being prescient. Any day now…

And just as predicted, liberals went absolutely bonkers with the victory. The eve following the decision, the White House lit up with rainbow-colored lights. Corporations like American Airlines, Kellogg’s, Macy’s, and Visa all lauded the ruling over social media. Andrew Sullivan, the erstwhile blogger and gay rights champion who went into much-needed retirement earlier this year, wrote a powerful piece entitled, “It Is Accomplished.”

The good cheer was understandable. For decades, gays and lesbians have been treated liked underlings by mainstream America. It’s past time they were recognized with dignity. Alas, some revelers took the victory too far.

The liberal news site Gawker tweeted a profanity-laced message to a slew of traditional marriage supporters. Former Massachusetts representative Barney Frank called Justice Antonin Scalia, the Court’s most ardent conservative, is a closeted homophobe.

I was also dismayed to learn that the Patriot-News, Harrisburg’s newspaper of record, decided to give extra scrutiny to editorials that frown upon gay marriage. “The Supremes got it right – It’s no longer ‘gay marriage.’ It’s marriage,’” the PennLive editorial board declared just hours after the ruling. Because of the ruling, the paper and its online equivalent “will very strictly limit op-Eds and letters to the editor in opposition to same-sex marriage.”

The message between the lines is clear: Reasonable people are no longer allowed to disagree on marriage. Defending what has been a bedrock of human civilization for 2,000 years is no longer a respectable position. Nevermind that over half the country, including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, believed same-sex marriage was immoral just seven years ago. Anyone who still voices support for traditional marriage is persona non grata, and damn well deserves it.

The editors at the Patriot-News should ask themselves these questions: would they censor debate over the Supreme Court’s decision in Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857), in which the Court upheld the Fugitive Slave Act, which forced free states to return escaped slaves to the states from which they came? How about Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), where racial segregation and the doctrine “separate but equal” was upheld as constitutional?

Or maybe the editors could go full bore and ban all talk about abortion, seeing as how Roe v.Wade made the practice of killing children not yet born a national right. Hateful Christian fundamentalists are pro-life after all. If the Supreme Court affirms there is a right to abortion on demand, then there can’t be any reasonable disagreement. At least that’s how the Patriot-News is acting.

Now, the chances of Obergefell being turned over are highly slim. Unlike abortion, which is still a contentious issue for both young and old Americans, a majority of the country supports gay marriage. Republican presidential hopefuls are only ginning up the base when they say they’ll fight the Court’s ruling tooth and nail.

The Rick Santorums and Mike Huckabees of the country aren’t going to lead a crusade to enact of traditional marriage amendment to the Constitution. Likewise, Texas senator Ted Cruz’s proposal for popular elections of Supreme Court justices will never fly. Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal went as far as proposing the Supreme Court be gotten rid of, a ridiculous assertion that is equal parts crazy talk and unconservative.

All this rancor makes it seem like traditional marriage proponents are missing a few marbles in their head. But it’s a distraction from the truth that there is indeed a debate to be had over marriage and what that entails for the public square. Marriage still provides a public good: a stable household to raise children. It creates what Pope Francis calls “the basic unit of society.”

For government to go one step beyond legal recognition of relationships (“civil unions”) and to sanctify marriage between two members of the same sex isn’t upholding equality before the law. It’s a form of social engineering. The real mission in the marriage fight has always been obvious: Eliminate dissent on the homosexual lifestyle. State-sanctioned marriage brings legitimacy to gay relations. It takes homosexuality out of the closet and firmly plants it within the mainstream.

And it won’t stop there. The day of the Court’s decision, academic Fredrik deBoer wrote an article for Politico Magazine called, “It’s Time to Legalize Polygamy.” Social warriors better be prepared to support families with one husband and multiple wives. Their happiness-first philosophy mandates that they do.

With a new culture war about to commence, does it really make sense to assert the marriage is issue is settled?

Since the Patriot-News let it be known it would censor contrary opinions on gay marriage, editor John Micek has issued a half-hearted apology. His reasoning for limiting speech was misconstrued, he attested. His intention was to limit “slurs” rather than “intelligent and reasoned debate.”

Sorry Johnny, but that dog won’t hunt. I’m positive the Patriot-News already limited crude, hateful speech in its op-eds and letters to the editor. Since that was the case before, the new rules over censorship were aimed at open, civilized debate.

Micek fell into the trap all too common for liberalism. The left preaches endlessly about pluralism, open-mindedness and tolerance. But when push to comes to shove, their ideals must always take precedence over those in opposition. For same-sex marriage, now force will be used to stifle resistance.

In a fine bit of irony, the Patriot-News issued an apology two years ago for criticizing the Gettysburg Address. President Lincoln’s speech was delivered 150 years prior, but I guess it’s never too late to say sorry.

Perhaps in another century and a half, the paper, if it’s still around, will issue the same apology for needlessly blocking debate among the good people of Harrisburg.

(Image source)

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