Why the Gay-Rights Movement Is Playing with Fire
Our local military museum honors the valor, grit, and teamwork of the men and women in uniform all year. Today, however, it appears to be celebrating something very different.
The other day, after my sons spent the good part of a brilliant fall afternoon climbing on vintage Army tanks, we went inside and were confronted with a display entitled “Lincoln’s Legacy, Our Freedoms,” marking the bicentennial of our 16th president’s birth. The exhibit asked how society might apply the Great Emancipator’s commitment to human equality today. It was a strange question, given the multiracial, multicultural crowds pouring peacefully through the museum’s great halls.
Affixed to one of the panels was a cardboard wedding cake, with two figures. On one side of each was the traditional groom in black; on the other was the bride wearing white. But these figured pivoted. You could display the traditional bride and groom if you wished. But you could also flip it to make two grooms, or two brides. A sign asked you to decide who belongs on the cake.
Many in the gay-rights movement think that changing marriage is as simple as pivoting the bride and groom on a cardboard wedding cake. They are asking, even demanding, that the rest of us go along.
Many African Americans, of course, say no, taking umbrage at the linking of homosexual and civil rights. They were instrumental a year ago in passing Proposition 8 in California. On November 3, Maine voters also turned back gay “marriage,” as have voters in all 31 states who have been given the opportunity to express their beliefs on the matter.
Undeterred, activists are pressing their case with the federal government. Many, in fact, are unhappy with the pace of change brought about by elected Democrats, who now control Washington. Last month President Obama spoke before the Human Rights Campaign to mend fences. “You will see a time in which we as a nation finally recognize relationships between two men or two women as just as real and admirable as relationships between a man and a woman,” the President declared. “You will see a nation that’s valuing and cherishing these families as we build a more perfect union—a union in which gay Americans are an important part.”
During the speech, Mr. Obama, who formally opposes gay “marriage,” promised to “repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and to pass the Domestic Partners Benefits and Obligations Act.” DOMA, passed in 1996 under President Clinton, defines marriage as only between a man and a woman and protects states from having to recognize gay “marriages” performed in other states.
DOMA, which denies federally funded marriage benefits to homosexual couples, has not yet been litigated before the Supreme Court. It’s hard to see how one can oppose gay marriage and DOMA at the same time, but Mr. Obama is giving it his best shot.
Gay-rights supporters, however, want more. They have just won President Obama’s signature on a federal hate crimes law that targets anti-gay acts. They also support passage of an employment nondiscrimination act and are seeking an end to the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell policy” (also reached during the Clinton years). Activists such as Wayne Ting of Equality Across America are tired of waiting for what they see as their rights. “People here are done with compromise,” Ting says. “There's no halfway on equality. Either you’re a politician who believes in full equality in all 50 states or do not. That’s it.”
Lost in all the demands for equal rights are the consequences for society. To take just one, reams of social science studies show that children do best with a mother and a father—something that gay “marriage” intentionally withholds from them. “We should disavow the notion that ‘mommies can make good daddies,’ just as we should disavow the popular notion of radical feminists that ‘daddies can make good mommies,’” says Rutgers researcher David Popenoe. “The two sexes are different to the core, and each is necessary—culturally and biologically—for the optimal development of a human being.”
And with the institution under so much stress now, do we really want, not to expand marriage, but to redefine it? While I freely acknowledge the God-given equality of homosexuals, it does not follow that they should have the legal right to marry one another. No one knows with any certainty what that kind of epochal change might mean for our society. But in a misguided attempt to normalize homosexual behavior by law, this movement may end up causing incalculable damage.
In a nod to our culture’s lionization of extended adolescence, a new ad campaign called “Messin’ with Sasquatch” attempts to sell beef jerky with the same silliness that we encounter in most beer commercials. In one spot, some jerky-chewing hikers come upon the fabled Bigfoot, asleep in the wild.
Instead of keeping a respectful distance in the face of the numinous, they decide to play a junior-high prank. One carefully sprays shaving cream into Bigfoot’s hand. Then another tickles its forehead with a reed. The monster, still sleeping, slaps its forehead, getting shaving cream all over its primitive face. The men, if you can call them that, break out in silly laughter and start running away, as if they’re all at summer camp.
One of them doubles over to laugh some more, and the enraged sasquatch catches up, body-slamming the hapless fool into the bushes. End of commercial. There are several more with the same theme, and Bigfoot wins every time.
While the intent no doubt is to get viewers to yuk it up and reach for the jerky the next time they visit the 7-Eleven, the subtext seems clear: Don’t mess with reality, or it will come back to get you. I fear that if the gay-rights movement is allowed to treat holy things lightly or with contempt, we all will face a similar collision with reality.
Stan Guthrie is freelance writer, editor, speaker, and teacher, and a Christianity Today editor at large. He and his wife, Christine, and their three children live near Chicago.
Articles on the BreakPoint website are the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Chuck Colson or Prison Fellowship. Outside links are for informational purposes and do not necessarily imply endorsement of their content.