Well, California has gone the way of Massachusetts in having courts rule a right to gay marriage. There is a reasonable chance that the voters in California will amend their constitution to reverse the court. However, in the long term, it is hard to see how gay marriage will not eventually become accepted. This is because while there are compelling reasons not to approve gay marriage, acknowledging those would require us to rearrange our priorities as a society in ways which are not explicitly designed to maximize personal satisfaction, choice and protection from normal consequences of our own behavior. IOW, we would all need to agree to be much more responsible, self-sacrificial human beings and in the culture we live in, it is hard to imagine that happening.
At this point, marriage has been defined in many people’s eyes as primarily an arrangement meant to affirm and support the love, comfort and happiness of individual adults within it. Given that marriages, particularly marriages with children, involve a great deal of discomfort, many feeling which are far from loving and sometimes long periods of unhappiness, this idea undermines both the long term sustainability of individual marriages and the justification for societal support and encouragement of marriage.
IMO, the covenant marriage which requires sacrifice of adult desires to the needs of children and in service to the marriage is dead. Society has been and will continue to abandon any sense of obligation for supporting marriages through policy and social norms. (Look at our tax policies, our workplace standards, our social services and ask yourself if any of these encourage the formation and continuation of child centered marriages. Pretty clearly the answer is no.) Given that mother-father marriage is the only form of family which consistently (although not uniformly of course) raises children who become stable, responsible and self-sufficient human beings, this is very much to our detriment.
In another 30 to 40 years marriage as a permanent arrangement, centered around raising new generations of men and women of character will exist only on the fringes. Perhaps some churches will rise to the challenge and provide the support for marriage which society and law used to. No doubt there will be some social service agencies who will see the damage done to society by raising generations of children outside of stable mother-father marriages and step up to try and counter the abandonment of marriage. But for the most part, marriage will continue to devolve into just another lifestyle choice of no concern to any other than the adult participants of it.
Of course, it would be idiotic to lay this at the feet of gay marriage. Gay marriage is simply the most startling landmark on the long road we’ve been traveling. Gay marriage is the inevitable result of society’s abandonment of marriage, children and a sense of responsibility to ideas and things larger than ourselves. It’s just a nail in the coffin confirming that we have abandoned the very ideas and things any society needs in order to be successful through generations. And really, all of us who have bought into this ethos of radical adult independence and persuit of personal desire over the good of our families and communities bear as much, if not more responsibility for that than any gay or lesbian wanting to marry another man or woman.
For a more detailed explanation of why I think gay marriage is bad for our society, see here.
To read about the French government’s rather traditionalist rejection of the idea of gay marriage see here.
To read about the self-proclaimed (in a full page ad in the NYT, no less) goals of mainstream gay rights activists which go well beyond the right to marry, see here.