Where Will Same-Sex Unions Lead Us?

Listening to arguments by Theodore Olson, the lawyer challenging Proposition 8, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy said this: “You’re asking for us to go into uncharted waters, and you can play with that metaphor. There’s a wonderful destination or there’s a cliff.”

Last month the United States Supreme Court heard two cases challenging the oldest human institution next to gardening—marriage. The court is to rule whether constitutional equal protection should extend to same-sex unions and dub them “marriage.” The significance of this ruling is that the precedent it sets will be irrevocable. If the Supreme Court constitutionalizes a right to so-called same-sex marriages, it will be a point of no return.

Will this finality be the result of triumphant victory or terminal velocity? Will it be a wonderful destination somewhere over the rainbow? Or a cliff?

Perhaps we can get a sense of what lays ahead—a paradise or a precipice—by looking back at America’s infamous track record of redefining fundamentals:


  • 1960’s: Sex, redefined.
  • 1970’s: Human life, redefined.
  • 1980’s: Femininity, redefined.
  • 1990’s: Masculinity, redefined.
  • 2000’s: Marriage, TBD.

America has certainly not steered clear of uncharted waters before, and the result has usually been free-fall. Fornication is not love and pornography is not procreation—they are lies. Abortion is not eliminating a lifeless fetus—it is murder. Men and women cannot pick and choose their natures—it is hypocrisy. Same-sex union is not a marriage—it is a mirage.

Justice Kennedy is not alone in acknowledging that much is at stake in this ruling. Marriage stands to be re-ordained as a new and different institution from what the God of Genesis ordained and called good. It is difficult to imagine how this can be hailed as a healthy step for the human species—but it has a lemming army of proponents and defenders.

A series of scientific studies were offered to the court to assuage any misgivings that the legal redefinition of marriage as a societal union between two men or two women would prove anything but beneficial. According to their findings, there is no cause for alarm. This scientific promise, however, has no scientific premise. Same-sex union is still nothing more than a social experiment. It is too early to know if these unions are harmful or not. Massachusetts was the first state to legalize homosexual unions in 2004. “We have five years of information to weigh,” said Justice Kennedy, “against two thousand years of history.” Given the lack of data, there is no responsible or honest way to prognosticate the long-term effects of redefining marriage. Perhaps common sense should be consulted.

The fallacy in these reports is glaring even to the uninitiated. No evidence suggesting negative consequences is, under the circumstances, no reason to conclude that there will be no negative consequences. Such findings in themselves suggest neither one conclusion nor another. No news is not necessarily good news. Again, the only available resources are common sense, common experience, and the common man—poor influences in a world bent on the uncommon at every turning.

Thus, this wild conclusion-leapfrog is taken with a concerned seriousness. What these proceedings merit, however, is to be taken with a serious concern—there are innocent children involved, after all. Though a mere scrap of scientific statistics exist, august organizations such as the American Psychological Association, etc. do solemnly swear on a stack of Bibles ten feet high that information gleaned from same-sex couples indicate that they are just as good at being parents as any heterosexual couple. These statistical numbers and samplings are invariably drawn from homosexual forums and functions, surveying a few, biased individuals and producing pages of very promising numbers. Such social science should arouse suspicion.

What is even more suspicious is the violent defense of these reports. A rabid criticism is applied to any study that indicates that biological children raised by a married man and woman in a well-adjusted household tend to do fairly well for themselves; while children raised by gays or lesbians have been found to be subject to depression, deviant behavior, and learning disabilities. The aggressive attacks against such alternative studies are indicative of activists rather than analysts. If we are truly just dealing with a beautiful, undiscovered form of marriage, why is there such a strange and savage defensive at work?

The evidence has been submitted. The arguments have been heard. The verdict is expected in June. The Californian courts have already deemed Proposition 8 unconstitutional. The Supreme Court could uphold it or strike it down. If the justices rule that same-sex couples in the state of California may receive the same rights as married couples, the decision might only apply to California; but it is not unthinkable that the law could extend to some, or even all, of the fifty states. The definition of marriage hangs in the balance. Though this may simply seem like an argument over the meaning of a word or a name, we know from Genesis that words and names are very important because they impart meaning. They are sacred. The great word “gay” has already been purloined. God forbid that we hurl “marriage” over the cliff as well.

Sean Fitzpatrick


Sean Fitzpatrick is a senior contributor to Crisis. He's graduate of Thomas Aquinas College and the Headmaster of Gregory the Great Academy. He lives in Scranton, Penn. with his wife and family of four.

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