I had other plans for today until I read the Chicago Tribune editorial that ebulliently celebrates the rejection in four states of the central defining feature of marriage—sexual complementarity.
In a display of astonishing hubris, the Trib editorial board has prognosticated—without evidence, I might add—that “letting same-sex couples marry does no harm to the civil institution of marriage, but promotes family stability, rewards loving commitment, and safeguards the interest of children” (Apparently in the Trib’s view, the interests of children don’t include having a mother and a father).
Further, the Trib asserts that the “public understands” all this. The Tribune editorial board arrogantly and paternalistically claims to know that the entire American public believes what the editorial board believes about “same-sex marriage.”
And how do they know what the “public understands”? They claim to know that the entire American public agrees with them on the nature and impact of “same-sex marriage” based on the narrow passage of “same-sex marriage” initiatives in four solidly Democratic states.
A larger lens may provide a corrective to the Trib’s perspective. Maine passed the same-sex marriage initiative by 53 percent and Maryland and Washington by 52 percent. In Minnesota, 51 percent of the voters opposed a constitutional amendment defining marriage as one man and one woman. What is interesting is that more voters voted against same-sex marriage than voted for Mitt Romney.
While 41 percent of Maine voters voted for Romney, 48 percent voted against same-sex marriage. In Maryland only 37 percent of voters voted for Romney, while 48 percent voted against same-sex marriage. In Washington 43 percent voted for Romney, while 48 percent voted against same-sex marriage. And in Minnesota, 45 percent voted for Romney, while 48 percent voted against same-sex marriage.
- They secured much more funding than opponents of “same-sex marriage” did.
- They had a passionate and tenacious army of foot soldiers.
- They had significantly more support from young people.
- They have switched from intellectual arguments about “equality” and “discrimination” to demagogic appeals to emotion. They focus on feelings and “narrative,” which work in an increasingly non-rational culture (read Neil Postman’s influential book, Amusing Ourselves to Death).
In these four deep blue states, “same-sex marriage” won by slim margins, but the greater support for real marriage than for Romney raises two questions: Is the decision by many Republicans to avoid the social issues a winning strategy? And are there Republicans who simply didn’t vote because they rightly perceived that Romney is not a reliable and committed supporter of the entire Republican platform? During post-election coverage, Stephen Hayes, senior writer for the Weekly Standard, suggested that perhaps Romney’s loss indicates that he didn’t offer a sufficiently different choice to Republican voters.
This is the larger election context, but there’s a larger cultural context still, and that bodes ill for real marriage.
“Progressives” like to promote the deceit that the increasing support for “same-sex marriage” represents the natural, organic evolutionary progress of society from a state of ignorant bias to a state of enlightenment. In so doing, they fail to discuss the fact that academia, the entertainment industry, and the mainstream media have been held fast in the iron ideological grip of intolerant “progressives” for almost half a century. Combine that with the deafening silence of most conservative churches on the issue of homosexuality and surprise, surprise, Americans, particularly young Americans, are adopting “progressive” views on all things homosexual. I would argue that even many conservative adults don’t know how to respond to the specious secular arguments used to normalize homosexuality. And they’re evidently not sufficiently motivated to become informed or involved.
The truth is that the Left cares far more deeply about the destruction of marriage than the Right does about preserving it. We tolerate the intolerable with unjustifiable equanimity. We tolerate censorship in public schools. We tolerate the presentation of false and evil ideas as objective truths to little children in the schools we subsidize. And we tolerate the destruction of marriage.
Democrats and “moderate” Republicans are eager to say that social conservatives are to blame for the election losses. They may be right that conservatives are the proximate cause, in that conservatives didn’t vote in sufficient numbers to elect Republicans (or preserve marriage in four blue states). But perhaps the ultimate reasons for Republican losses were either that the candidates didn’t espouse conservative values (like Robert Dold), or that those candidates who espoused conservative values were flawed in other ways (like Joe Walsh, who is intemperate and often uncivil).
Conservatives cannot be naïve about political strategy, but we must not sacrifice truth on essential issues like marriage and life to the protean theories of political expediency pronounced with certainty by the strategist ‘o’ the day. We must “major in the majors.” Marriage and life are among the non-negotiables that must be defended with confidence, conviction, and intelligence.
There’s much talk about the soul-searching that the Republican Party will be doing in the upcoming months. If it’s going to search for its soul, I would suggest looking for it where they lost it: on the road paved with capitulation leading to the altar of political victory at any cost.