BOOKS: by Bill MuehlenbergNews Weekly
OUTRAGE: How Gay Activists and Liberal Judges Are Trashing Democracy to Redefine Marriage
, April 9, 2005
Marriage under attackOUTRAGE: How Gay Activists and Liberal Judges Are Trashing Democracy to Redefine Marriage
By Peter Sprigg
Washington DC: Regnery Publishing
Hardback RRP: $46.95It is not often that Australia leads America and the world on certain issues, but this was the case last year. In August 2004, the Federal Parliament voted to enshrine marriage as being between a man and a woman into federal law. This was to prevent activist judges from imposing same-sex marriage on Australia. It was an historic win and an important strike against the social engineers.
America, unfortunately, is still fighting this war. This book is about the ongoing battle over same-sex marriage in the US. The author, who works for the Washington-based Family Research Council, is concerned that the millennia-old understanding of marriage is being wiped away by homosexual activists and liberal judges. He traces the battle for marriage in America, and notes the tactics being used by those who seek to redefine the very nature of marriage.
The outrage is that those seeking to overhaul marriage are making use of activist judges to bypass both the popular will of the people, and the legislative process. Court decisions are going against majority opinion, and ignoring due legislative channels.
Liberal social activists have consistently failed at the polls to achieve their agendas, and legislative change can be a slow and difficult process. Thus a quick and easy way to implement radical social reform is by means of an activist judiciary.
Activists of course paint a distorted picture of the issue: they claim that laws and customs discriminate against homosexuals and deny them the right to marry. They argue that conservatives are preventing them from enjoying rights that everyone else enjoys, and that they should stop picking on homosexuals.
But it was the activists who started this war, by demanding something that they never had an entitlement to. The activists are the ones who must prove their case. They are seeking to overturn the accumulated wisdom of centuries by this radical social experiment. Western governments should not have to prove their case. The burden of proof must lie with those radicals who want to redefine the most fundamental of human institutions.
But conservatives have been forced to spring to the defence of marriage because of the judicial activists. Court justices in Alaska, Hawaii, Vermont and Massachusetts all sought to impose their agenda on an unwilling population, as did the US Supreme Court in June of 2003. Thus the 40 or so US states that have now passed Defense of Marriage Acts have done so in response to this direct assault on the institution of marriage.Ploys and half-truths
Sprigg looks at some of the ploys and half-truths used by advocates of same-sex marriage. For example, it is often claimed that this is a human-rights issue, and all should have access to this right. But of course many do not have the right to marry: those who are already married, children, close blood-relations, etc.
Marriage has only always been about the right of a man and woman to marry - not two men, or three women, or a group. Indeed, the arguments in favour of same-sex marriage are just the sort of arguments one could use to champion group marriage, incest or other types of sexual combinations.
Societies have given benefits to heterosexual marriage because heterosexual marriage benefits society. No such argument can be made for same-sex relationships. Societies have no compelling interest in promoting other types of sexual relationships, especially given that marriage contains an important social good, the next generation.
Indeed, heterosexual marriage performs two important social functions: it regulates human sexuality, and it protects children. These are fundamental social goods. Sex outside marriage and promiscuous sex result in a host of problems: illegitimacy, broken families, the spread of sexually-transmitted diseases, to name but a few. And when children are involved, the costs are even greater. The social science research is overwhelmingly clear: children benefit from having a biological mother and father cemented by marriage, and tend to suffer in other settings.
Marriage, says Sprigg, is the "foundation of the family, and the family is the foundation of our society". When we mess with marriage, the negative consequences are severe.
But, some will argue, heterosexuals have done a pretty good job of wrecking marriage. Why forbid homosexuals from marriage? Maybe they will do a better job of it. Yes and no. All threats to marriage must be resisted, and that includes heterosexual threats. The fact that some heterosexuals are destroying marriage is no argument to allow others to do the same.
Moreover, with the well-being of children such a primary purpose of marriage, their well-being will be at jeopardy if we further weaken the mother-father-child nexus. As Sprigg notes, the case for same-sex marriage can only be made if we deny the fundamental differences between men and women. Children need both a mother and a father. They do not need two dads or a committee.
Because of this frontal assault on this most vital of institutions, Sprigg suggests that the US needs a Federal Marriage Amendment to set once and for all the definition of marriage as that between a man and a woman. This would prevent activist judges from bypassing the democratic process.
Marriage is too important an institution to allow a handful of activists to pull it down without a fight. The information and evidence needed for this fight are nicely documented in this volume. It deserves a wide reading in the face of the emotive and deceptive charges being made by the marriage deconstructionists.