If you’re a Facebook user, you’ve probably seen a black-and-white photo of interracial marriage protesters presented alongside a current-day photo of gay marriage protesters. Splashed across this meme are the taunting words, “Imagine how stupid you are going to look in 40 years.”
The image would be perfect in a time capsule. When I am 72 years old, will the Facebook prophecy have come to pass? Will the controversy be dead? Will I be embarrassed that I publicly opposed same-sex marriage?
The parallels between the Black Civil Rights Movement and the Gay Rights Movement seem to be a driving force in our nation’s increasing acceptance of same-sex marriage. Today the most celebrated era in American history is the one that made heroes of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr., the era when our nation finally honored its creed that all men are created equal. Nobody wants to be like the villains in this story, the segregationists who argued that blacks are inherently inferior to whites.
We are proud and grateful, of course, for what civil rights activists achieved in the 1960s. The story is an important part of our American legacy. But is it the right historical lesson to apply in considering the Gay Rights Movement? The fact that of all racial groups it is African Americans who are least likely to support same-sex marriage is a good reason to reexamine the comparison: Both are stories about marginalized people seeking greater participation in mainstream society. And like African Americans, LGBT activists have sought protection from bullying and for fair access to education, housing and employment.
In these respects, the historical comparison seems valid; the LGBT cause seems just. Even the request for domestic partnership laws does not seem unreasonable, an accommodation for those who don’t fit the usual mold.
On the other hand, in their latest push, seeking the title of marriage and the opportunity to acquire children, LGBT activists have effectively jumped ship from the Civil Rights Movement into a different stream of history called the Sexual Revolution. They are no longer asking to be treated like everyone else; they are asking society to fundamentally change the rules to accommodate their sexual inclinations.
The Battle against Biology
And so we come to the first premise of the Gay Marriage Movement, which is that sexual orientation is a more significant characteristic than gender. Scientifically speaking, the premise is absurd. Second, the movement presumes that society’s primary purpose in recognizing marriages is to celebrate romantic love and create financial ties. A quick survey of history and anthropology refutes this premise. Throughout the world, concepts of religion, law and love vary widely, but on every continent and in every culture there is a core concept of marriage. Universally, marriage is a lifelong union between a man and a woman, centered on the procreative act and, as night follows the day, the raising of children. Even polygamous marriages fit this definition, making the same major contribution to society that monogamous marriages do: marriage secures a father to his children by tying him to their mother.
Marriage, then, is first and foremast a biological institution that stems from nature. Considering that no society has endured without it, we may well assume it’s also a biological necessity.
This is where many Americans need a history lesson on the Sexual Revolution. For more than a hundred years, sexual revolutionaries have sought to weaken moral norms that hinder sexual expression. Promoting birth control, abortion, cohabitation, casual sex, no-fault divorce and homosexuality, the Sexual Revolution has succeeded in convincing the developed world that the primary purpose of sex is to have fun. A few consequences of the Sexual Revolution have been good, but the most notable ones have been unintended and disastrous.
Take, for example, the invention of oral contraceptives. Margaret Sanger, who later financed the scientific research necessary to create the pill, wrote in 1916, “No one can doubt that there are times when an abortion is justifiable but they will become unnecessary when care is taken to prevent conception. This is the only cure for abortions.”
Since its debut in 1961, the pill has been a reliable, affordable form of birth control, offering physical and financial relief to countless women. And what of Sanger’s cure for abortion? Today effective contraceptives are available to practically all American women, yet the U.S. Census Bureau reports more than a million abortions are performed in the United States each year. Today about half of all pregnancies in our country are unplanned.
In other words, the magical pill has failed to stop the stork. It did, though, seem to start something else. In the five decades since the pill was invented, babies born to unwed mothers went from approximately 5% of all births to about 40% and continues to rise. In other words, we have a historical correlation between access to contraceptives and a dramatic increase in out-of-wedlock births. This bit of data would be perpelxing if the reason weren’t obvious to even the casual observer: our society’s advances in reproductive medicine have been accompanied by a cultural shift in attitudes about sex and marriage. The pill’s larger legacy is widespread promiscuity and thus, ironically, more unwanted pregnancies.
Single mothers—most of them young and poor—and their fatherless children pay the largest price for our society’s acceptance of casual sex. Social scientists have gathered a veritable mountain of evidence showing that children raised by single parents do not fair well compared to those with married parents. These innocent vicitms of adult choices face serious challenges that are overburdening our school systems, welfare systems and justice systems. We must help them the best we can, but so far no payment or program has been able to compensate for what is missing in their homes.
A parallel story can be told about the other so-called victories of the Sexual Revolution. The push for birth control created the notion that sex can and ought to be disconnected from babies. The push for no-fault divorce created the notion that marriage can be separated from total commitment. And now same-sex marriage promotes the idea that family can be disconnected from biology.
Two people of the same gender are inherently unable to start a family, but we are asked to pretend they can. We are asked to believe that babies don’t need mothers, that the differences between men’s and women’s minds and bodies are incidental, that shared DNA is not an important aspect of family bonds. Absentee fathers are now called sperm donors and paid for their services. Healthy young women with limited education make a median wage by renting their wombs and delivering babies. The resemblance to prostitution is striking, but we are asked to call these women altruists.
The Family Forecast
This is all to say that our new invention called gay marriage is one more expression of the age-old desire to circumvent nature’s demands. We don’t need a crystal ball to see the future; we can see the writing on the wall.
Forty years from now, the consequences of same-sex marriage will be much larger than what the average supporter intends: the words marriage and family will mean anything and everything. The cycle of attraction, commitment and conception will have been sliced into bits and sold to the highest bidder. Eggs, sperm, wombs and babies will be commodities. The love of many will wax cold as they avoid the natural sacrifices that teach devotion. The wealthy will exploit lower-class women. Children will be robbed of their right to a mother and father. Sex will be a plaything. Procreation will be a technological process.
Of course not everyone will accept this way of life, and so, forty years from now, America will still be divided over the issue. The battlefront will have moved, but the principles will be the same. On the one side will be those who believe government and technology can free us from nature’s tyranny. On the other side will be those who revere the God of nature, who know it’s foolish to thwart the processes He designed.
Forty years from now, I’ll still be standing on this side. I won’t be ashamed. And a mountain of social science will confirm my position.