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Sunday, June 3, 2012

To Define Marriage, We Must Discriminate

The NAACP recently decided to (surprise!) side with President Obama and liberals across the U.S. and endorse same-sex marriage. The board of directors for the organization released a statement declaring that “civil marriage is a civil right and a matter of civil law.” Roslyn Brock, chairman of the NAACP’s board of directors, declared “We have and will oppose efforts to codify discrimination into law.”

Of course, one of the most frequent and favorite cries of the left is the dreaded “d-word:” discrimination. Never-mind that virtually every position in the marriage debate requires a measure of “discrimination.” As Al Mohler recently put it, “Discrimination—even ‘obvious discrimination’—is not necessarily wrong at all. Indeed, any sane society discriminates at virtually every turn, as do individuals. The law itself is an instrument of comprehensive discrimination.”

For example, Americans can’t vote in federal elections until age 18. Until ratification of the 26th Amendment in 1971, the federal voting age had been 21. For the most part, this was the case all over the world throughout the 19th and into the 20th centuries. The National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 withholds revenue from states that allow the purchase of alcohol by anyone under the age of 21.

A 1960 Federal Aviation Administration regulation forced U.S. pilots to retire at age 60. In December of 2007 President Bush signed a law that raised the mandatory pilot retirement age to 65. Almost every U.S. state severely limits the voting rights of convicted felons. Are not each of these examples of discrimination?

What’s more, as Mohler also points out, both individuals and governments discriminate on (gasp!) moral terms. “No sane person would ask a convicted child molester to be a baby sitter. No sane society would elect a known embezzler as state treasurer. These acts of discrimination are necessary and morally right.”

So a real dilemma for the left here lies not in their efforts to gain acceptance of same-sex marriage, but rather, how they would (eventually) discriminate and define marriage? Also problematic for liberals: upon what moral code would this definition rest?

Liberals have recently hinted at how they would discriminate to define marriage. Mike Raven, the brother of a lesbian, has created an online petition through Change.org, challenging Dictionary.com to “correct” its definition of marriage. He has gathered over 95,000 signatures. Raven began the petition after his lesbian sister became offended when North Carolina overwhelmingly passed a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Dictionary.com currently defines marriage as, “the social institution under which a man and woman establish their decision to live as husband and wife by legal commitments, religious ceremonies, etc.” An alternative definition (the “b” definition) is given as, “A similar institution involving partners of the same gender: gay marriage.” However, this isn’t good enough for Raven and those like-minded. They want the definition to read, “the social institution under which a man and woman, woman and woman, or man and man establish their decision to live as spouses by legal commitments, etc.”

Notice the “discrimination?” Raven’s definition only includes couples. What about the polygamists? What if one couple wanted to “marry” another?

As a conservative, I understand well how marriage should be defined and the moral reasons why my discriminatory definition is justified. First of all, as a Christian I accept that God gave us the institution of marriage, and that the union of one man and one woman is THE foundation of every social institution the world over. Strong and healthy marriages lead to strong and healthy families. Strong and healthy families lead to strong and healthy communities. Strong and healthy communities lead to strong and healthy churches, schools, businesses, governments, and so on.

Also, science supports what common sense (for most) has long revealed: children, and society, function best when men and women are united in strong and healthy marriages. In “Marriage and the Law: A Statement of Principles” published by the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy, the authors note that, “Children raised outside of intact marriages have higher rates of poverty, mental illness, teen suicide, conduct disorders, infant mortality, physical illness, juvenile delinquency, and adult criminality. They are more likely to drop out of school, be held back a grade, and launch into early and promiscuous sexual activity, leading to higher rates of sexually transmitted diseases and early unwed parenthood.” Thus, it is simply a matter of good government to promote an institution—not redefine it—that is so beneficial to society.

However, I suspect that the real effort of liberals (whether some realize it or not) in the marriage debate is NOT simply “marriage equality.” Many in this debate have been deceived; for you see, ultimately, this battle is not, nor has it ever been, about marriage or discrimination.

Dan Brown of the National Organization for Marriage hinted at this when, after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned California’s Proposition 8 (a constitutional ballot initiative that defined marriage as a union of one man and one woman), he declared that, “The goal of this movement is to use the law to reshape the culture so that disagreement with their views on sex and marriage gets stigmatized and repressed like bigotry.” In other words, the pro-same-sex marriage movement is an attempt to morally legitimize homosexual behavior.

Doug Kmiec, professor of constitutional law at Pepperdine University, also hinted at this in his 2005 Becket Fund (a nonprofit institute dedicated to protecting freedom of religion) paper when he wrote, ‘Were federal equal protection or substantive due process to be construed to require states to license same-sex marriage, those who have profound moral or religious objection to the social affirmation of homosexual conduct would be argued to be the out-liers of civil society.’ Therefore, he argues that churches could be targeted for legal penalties and disadvantages as were universities that participated in racial discrimination decades ago.

There you have it. Marriage is just the means to a more sinister end for the homosexual movement and their like-minded liberal allies. This is about sex and about legitimizing, through the American judicial system and discrimination law, a sexual lifestyle many Americans find immoral (along with destructive and dangerous).

So, in the marriage debate (or any of the other “social issues”—or as I prefer, “moral issues”), if a liberal throws out the “discrimination” charge, or cries out with “how dare you try and force your morality on me!” remind them that their position requires discrimination and a moral stance as well.

(See this column on American Thinker.)

Copyright 2012, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World

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