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Tim Leslie - Contributor

Tim Leslie represents California’s 4th Assembly District.

How Gay Marriage Undercuts Human Rights
Redefining culture...

[Tim Leslie] 718/05

California’s Assembly decisively voted down the state’s gay marriage bill last month, but the bill’s proponents have used a rule-bending “shortcut” to advance it to the Senate anyway. While technically legal, the maneuver clearly flouts the spirit of the legislative process. More significantly, this move highlights the attitude currently fueling the push for gay marriage across the country.

Many advocates of gay marriage do so for the best of reasons, viewing it as simply a matter of rights, equality, and social acceptance. But under-girding the drive to redefine marriage is one central assumption: any rule, authority or standard that does not give us what we seek should be discarded.

In California, redefining marriage first requires tossing the vote of the people. Sixty percent of Californians voted to protect marriage through Proposition 22. Legislators may pretend Proposition 22 meant something else, but to an honest observer, the drive toward gay marriage shows disdain for the authority of the people.

Likewise, gay marriage proponents must disregard Judaism, Christianity and every other major religion’s teaching on the topic. No doubt, one can find people in robes and collars willing to twist the clear testimony of their holy books. But as the vast majority of religious leaders will tell you, redefining marriage would set aside thousands of years of clear moral instruction. This instruction has been the principle guiding light for those who shaped our nation and led it through the years.

Redefining marriage also demands dispensing with virtually every culture’s historic standard of marriage. Admittedly, there have been aberrations of marriage in many cultures across time. But the overwhelming consensus always has been toward marriage as a lifelong relationship between a man and a woman, one capable of producing and nurturing children.

In addition, redefining marriage means overlooking the vital complimentary qualities of male and female in anatomy, psychology, and childrearing. Of course, there are psychologists who say it doesn’t matter or point out that traditional marriages often fall short of what they should be. But even a humble understanding of men and women reveals that gay marriage discounts the way we are designed, inside and out.

Finally, redefining marriage requires ignoring the law that is written on every human’s conscience. Many would disagree of course, and I respect their right to do so. Regardless of how Hollywood or others may try to reshape our moral values, gay marriage disregards what we know to be best in our heart of hearts.

As in any aspect of life, discarding fundamental principles carries consequences. In dialoguing with gay marriage proponents I often ask, “After allowing gay marriage, on what basis would you draw the line against polygamy between consenting adults?” I have yet to hear a real answer. There simply isn’t one.

Some proponents of gay marriage understand this. Paula Ettelbrick, executive director of the Gay and Lesbian International Human Rights Commission, states, “Being queer is more than setting up house, sleeping with a person of the same gender, and seeking state approval for doing so. … Being queer means pushing the parameters of sex, sexuality, and family, and in the process transforming the very fabric of society."

And yet here is the disastrous catch for those who imagine they are advancing human rights and equality by redefining marriage. What standards do you have left when you have decimated democratic rule, transcendent moral truth, historic cultural standards, human design, and even honesty with one’s own conscience? The only authority that remains are the whims of those in power.

Today in California, gay-friendly judges and legislators hold power, and their whims could usher in an era of gay marriage. But as the 20th century bears terrible witness, the whims of the powerful are no safeguard for human rights. If there is nothing higher than power—standards that judge the exercise of power and set boundaries for it—we live in a world where might makes right. That is a dangerous realm to inhabit, especially for groups that have known oppression.

Opponents of gay marriage must stand firm in affirming the dignity and human rights of every human being, regardless of their lifestyle choices. For the sake of this dignity and these rights, we must also stand firm in defending the standards that serve as their foundation. CRO




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