In Defense of the Family
While the GOP glitterocracy attended the first gay wedding of one of their own, Gov. Romney was in
"Like me, the great majority of Americans wish both to preserve the traditional definition of marriage and to oppose bias and intolerance directed towards gays and lesbians," Romney began by way of preface.
Then he asked the question we should all be asking: "Given the decision of the
Then Mitt Romney put his finger on where the error comes from: the limited perspectives of lawyers and judges. "They viewed marriage as an institution principally designed for adults. Adults are who they saw. Adults stood before them in the courtroom. And so they thought of adult rights, equal rights for adults. If heterosexual adults can marry, then homosexual adults must also marry to have equal rights."
But, he went on, marriage is not solely for adults. "Marriage is also for children. In fact, marriage is principally for the nurturing and development of children. The children of
The advocates tell us the skies have not fallen in
So far the governor has resisted, but ultimately the same court that could see no reason why marriage involves a husband and wife other than "animus" will decide whether or not we still think the language of mothers and fathers is appropriate. And the
But how can same-sex marriages really be viewed as the equivalent of husband-and-wife unions if we cling to such outmoded, biologically rooted notions of parenthood?
The transformation of mother and father into "Parent A" and "Parent B" is the model of the paradigm shift now underway in
Here's Gov. Romney's estimate of the future: "[C]hanging the definition of marriage to include same-sex unions will lead to further far-reaching changes that also would influence the development of our children. For example, school textbooks and classroom instruction may be required to assert absolute societal indifference between traditional marriage and same-sex practice."
The gap between civil and religious marriage will widen to a chasm, just at the time the state more than ever needs the help of faith communities in strengthening marriage. "Among the structures that would be affected would be religious and certain charitable institutions. Those with scriptural or other immutable founding principles will be castigated. Ultimately, some may founder. We need more from these institutions, not less, and particularly so to support and strengthen those in greatest need."
The change has begun: The needs and desires of a tiny fraction of adults in alternative families are becoming the basis of a new moral norm. Anyone who departs from it risks thundering denunciation from self-righteous elites who are no longer satisfied with tolerance and civility — living with our deepest differences — but wish to impose their vision of morality on the majority.
Which makes Mitt Romney a very brave man, indeed.
Maggie Gallagher. "In Defense of the Family." National Review (June 25, 2004).
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Maggie Gallagher is president of the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy, which sponsors www.marriagedebate.com.
Copyright © 2004 National Review