Many Democratic politicians who call themselves Catholic hold the bizarre position of opposing abortion personally while fighting rabidly for its unconditional legality. That being the case, I feel less disingenuous with my position on gay marriage: while I support it personally, I do not believe it should be legalized.
I accept all the standard arguments in favor of legalization: promoting monogamy is good, the institution of marriage has already been damaged by no-fault divorce, keeping loved ones from visiting each other in the hospital is callous, etc. Furthermore, I have none of the distaste for homosexuality that one finds among some religious people, a distaste that is driving much of the opposition to gay marriage. Nevertheless, for me one consideration trumps all of these: It is not going to stop at gay marriage.
By "it" I mean the radical left's bid to reshape American society to align with its own beliefs. Once the courts get in the business of determining, over the wishes of most Americans and the verdict of civil society, what marriage is, who can say that they will refrain from redefining other traditional institutions?
Suppose, for instance, the Ninth Circuit Court defines "parent" as someone who provides a secular, politically correct education to his or her children. The state would then be empowered to snatch away children who are home-schooled or religiously educated. It sounds improbable, but so did the notion of gender-neutral bathrooms a decade ago. Now we have them in the Regenstein library. There are good reasons to believe more extreme policies, like my hypothetical example, are just over the horizon.
One is the views taken by the radical left. They believe in a communitarian view of childrearing, eliminating traditional gender roles, subverting our security to the whims of the U.N. and the International Criminal Court, and obliterating organized religion in the U.S. They take inspiration from places like France, a country that is paying the price of "progressive" policies with negative population growth, rampant anti-Semitism, and a crisis of national identity that could lead to violence if not civil war in the next few decades. Furthermore, they have a hugely disproportionate share of the money and influence in this country.
The radical left here is attempting to destroy American society, and legalizing gay marriage is but one incremental step. It seems like a reasonable change; many conservatives have even been duped into supporting legalization, ignoring its long-term consequences for the relationship between society and state. However, after winning on this issue, the left will move quickly to push their next seemingly innocuous policy, and the next, until law and family, church, and country lie in ashes.
There are myriad signs of their activities across the country. The ACLU lands its massive legal apparatus in one small town after another, bullying them into erasing religion from public view. Public universities wield speech codes to whip the religious and the conservative into line, denying them education if they don't refrain from exercising their First Amendment rights. Hundreds of scholastic wrestling and football teams are now co-ed. Once these leftist policies are in place, they are never, ever removed.
This behavior would not be so alarming were there not so many historical parallels to the left's gradualist agenda. In economics, the understanding of the government's appropriate role has expanded exponentially in the past 75 years. The 1928 Socialist platform of presidential candidate Norman Thomas, who received less than one percent of the vote, has now been largely passed into law. In jurisprudence, the very tool favored by the leftists for wrecking traditional institutions, judicial review, is not even written in the Constitution. Only through a series of skillfully crafted decisions over the course of decades was the Court able to arrogate this tremendous power.
The most appropriate parallel, however, is pre-revolutionary France. There, Alexis de Tocqueville has described how a small group of enlightenment-inspired lawyers and philosophers systematically undermined the old regime in France. They eliminated traditional privileges of the clergy and nobles, erased many local jurisdictions, and centralized power in the throne. When the wrecking ball of revolution hit French society, it was smashing an already abandoned, gutted edifice. Anyone who treasures our society and our institutions must realize that they are being systematically undermined in the same fashion as those of pre-1789 France and should stand up to oppose this process.
In closing, I am not very optimistic about conservative prospects for halting the wave of destruction I have described. The left has the courts, the media, the entertainment industry and the academy. Conservatives have Fox News and talk radio (for now, until John Kerry's FCC re-imposes the pre-1980s Fairness Doctrine to force stations to give equal time to every viewpoint). Furthermore, the zeal and will to power of a concentrated revolutionary elite will usually prevail over the desire of a large but sedentary and scattered majority to preserve the status quo. I realize these warnings sound like those of a Jeremiah, but do not forget that Jeremiah was right.