For the Children

“So God created man in His own image; He created him in the image of God; He created them male and female.  God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that crawls on the earth.”  Genesis 1: 27, 28

“The Southern Poverty Law Center, for example, put the National Organization for Marriage and the Family Research Council on its 2010 list of ‘hate groups’ because of their opposition to gay marriage.” Mona Charen, The Washington Times, May 21, 2012, p. 31

“Here’s a question for Rep. Lewis and Dan Savage and the SPLC and the rest:  Does your intolerance for disagreement extend to pre-May 9 Barack Obama?  Before Obama evolved back was he spewing ‘hate’?  Ibid.

Marriage is for the Children

By Mona Charen – The Washington Times, May 21, 2012, p. 31

Now that President Obama has “evolved” on the matter of same-sex marriage to the position favored by “enlightened” Americans, this would seem to be a good time for some rhetorical hygiene.

There are modest and civil proponents of same-sex mar­riage. But the tone of many ad­vocates has been shrill to the point of frothing. The Southern Poverty Law Center, for exam­ple, put the National Organiza­tion for Marriage and the Fam­ily Research Council on its 2010 list of “hate groups” because of their opposition to gay mar­riage.

A religion professor at a Mid­west state university explained Catholic opposition to same-sex marriage and found himself de­nounced for “hate speech” and fired from his teaching position (he was later reinstated). The Hastings Law School denied funding and recognition to a chapter of the Christian Legal Society because it required its members to conform their sexual behavior to traditional Christian teachings. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., called the Defense of Marriage A6t “a stain on our democracy.”

To be sure, there is over­heated language among some opponents of gay marriage as well, though not among the leadership. The vitriol on the left arises from one simple source — the misappropriation of the race analogy. Once you convince yourself that same-sex marriage is the great civil rights cause of our time, it then follows logically that opponents are the moral equivalents of racists. That’s what gay activist Dan Savage said explicitly:

“We need a cultural reckon­ing around gay and lesbian is­sues. There was once two sides to the race debate… you could … argue for segregation. You could argue against interracial marriage, against the Civil Rights Act, against extending voting rights to African Ameri­cans, and that used to be treated as one side … of a pressing national debate, and it isn’t anymore. And we really need to reach that point with gay and lesbian issues. There are no ‘two sides’ to the issues about gay and lesbian rights.”

Here’s a question for Rep. Lewis and Dan Savage and the SPLC and the rest: Does your intolerance for disagreement extend to pre-May 9 Barack Obama? Before Obama evolved back (he had been pro sahie-sex marriage before he was against it), was he spewing “hate”? When he said, at the Saddle­back Church in 2008, “I believe that marriage is the union be­tween a man and a woman. Now, for me as a Christian… it is also a sacred union. God’s in the mix.” Was that a “stain on our democracy”? No? Then how about a modicum of respect for those who continue to hold the views that Obama abandoned only yesterday?

Six states and the District of Columbia have legalized same-sex marriage. Thirty-two states prohibit it — some by statute and others by state constitu­tions. The nation is doing what both Obama and Romney say they prefer, dealing with the question state by state.

Romney’s description of the issue as “tender and sensitive” was apt. But it should be possi­ble for mature adults to discuss even sensitive subjects without descending into name-calling.

My personal resistance to same-sex marriage arises not from any dislike of gays and les­bians but from the belief that traditional marriage is too im­portant to be toyed with. When gays say, “marriage isn’t doing well among heterosexuals,” they have a point. Heterosexu­als are making a mess of mar­riage. But that’s all the more reason to be cautious about adding another blow.

Traditional marriage is rec­ognized and to some degree privileged by society because it performs the most essential task of any civilization — pro­viding the optimal environment for raising children. Men and women bring different and complementary qualities to parenthood. The genetic tie, which both heterosexual par­ents have to their children, while not essential (I speak as an adoptive mother), is helpful in maintaining loyalty and sup­port for the long haul. Having parents of opposite sexes gives children male and female role models. And the sexes differ in a thousand little ways that, when blended, tend to redound to kids’ welfare. Just to name a few: mothers are more protective, fathers more challenging; mothers are more comforting, fathers more stimulating; moth­ers are more related, fathers more disciplinary.

Permitting people of the same sex to marry changes the nature of the institution. Rather than the optimal vehicle for raising children, it becomes just the social ratification of the re­lationship between two adults — a seal of approval. Having your love validated by the larger society may seem impor­tant if you are gay. But mar­riage, rightly understood, is not really about love. It includes love. But it’s really about stabil­ity and raising children.

Mona Charen is a nationally syndicated columnist

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