Decade in review: Marital norms erode

2009

(source) A decade ago, President Barack Obama affirmed that marriage unites a man and woman. So did 45 states and the federal government. The only states to redefine marriage had done so through activist court rulings or, in 2009, legislative action. At the ballot box, citizens had uniformly voted against redefinition. A majority agreed with Obama.

2012

Then, in 2012, Obama “evolved,” and the Supreme Court took cases involving marriage law. Nothing in the Constitution answered the actual question at hand: What is marriage? The court should have left the issue to the people. But in 2013, it struck down the federal definition of marriage as a male-female union in a 5-4 ruling.

2015

The court also punted on a challenge to a state definition of marriage adopted in a 2008 constitutional referendum by which a majority of Californians — yes, Californians — overturned an activist court. Only in 2015 did the Supreme Court, breaking 5-4 again, redefine marriage for the nation, provoking four irrefutable dissents.

It was never really about “live and let live” — that was a merely tactical stance

Same-sex marriage advocates told the public that they sought only the “freedom to marry.” Same-sex couples were already free to live as they chose, but legal recognition was about the definition of marriage for all of society.

It was about affirmation — by the government and everyone else.

It’s unsurprising that once a campaign that used to cry “live and let live” prevailed, it began working to shut down Catholic adoption agencies and harass evangelical bakers and florists. This shows it was never really about “live and let live” — that was a merely tactical stance.

Family, marriage — redefined

While these were the early effects of redefinition, the more profound consequences will be to marriage itself.

  1. Law shapes culture;
  2. culture shapes beliefs;
  3. beliefs shape action.

Mothers and fathers are replaceable…

The law now effectively teaches that mothers and fathers are replaceable, 

Marriage is simply about consenting adult relationships…

that marriage is simply about consenting adult relationships, of whatever formation the parties happen to prefer.

This undermines the truth that children deserve a mother and a father — one of each.

Polyamory

It also undercuts any reasonable justification for marital norms. After all, if marriage is about romantic connection, why require monogamy? There’s nothing magical about the number two, as defenders of “polyamory” point out.

If marriage isn’t a conjugal union uniting a man and a woman as one flesh, why should it involve or imply sexual exclusivity?

If it isn’t a comprehensive union inherently ordered to childbearing and rearing, why should it be pledged to permanence?

Elimination of sexual complementarity

Marriage redefiners could not answer these questions when challenged to show that the elimination of sexual complementarity did not undermine other marital norms. Today, they increasingly admit that they have no stake in upholding norms of monogamy, exclusivity and permanence.

Same-sex marriage didn’t create these problems. Many in America had unwisely already gone along with the erosion of marital norms in the wake of the sexual revolution — with the rise of cohabitation, nonmarital childbearing, no-fault divorce and the hookup culture. It was no surprise that many would then question the relevance of the male-female norm. Legal redefinition is a consequence of the cultural breakdown of marriage.

Same-sex marriage is a catalyst for further erosion

But same-sex marriage is a catalyst for further erosion. Already, we see respectable opinion-makers mainstreaming “throuples,” “ethical nonmonogamy” and “open relationships.” This was predictable; we and others predicted it.

Something we didn’t predict are the headlines about transgender and nonbinary “identities.” A decade ago, few Americans had given much thought to the “T” in “LGBT.” Today, transgender identity seems to dominate the discussion of sexuality and sexual morality.

There’s a logic here. If we can’t see the point of our sexual embodiment where it matters most — in marriage — we’ll question whether it matters at all. Hence the push to see gender as “fluid” and existing along a “spectrum” of nonbinary options.

“Plumbing” in sexual acts seemed not to matter

There’s a deeper logic, too. Implicit in the push for same-sex marriage was body-self dualism — the idea that we’re actually nonphysical entities inhabiting physical bodies, or ghosts in machines. That’s why the “plumbing” in sexual acts seemed not to matter.

True one-flesh union, the foundation of conjugal marriage, was thought illusory. What mattered was emotional union and partners’ use of their bodies to induce desirable sensations and feelings. Of course, two men or two women (or throuples or even larger sexual ensembles) could do that. But the logic didn’t stay with marriage. If the body is mere plumbing, then sex matters less than identity.

This has had tragic consequences, especially for children.

Children burdened by our mistakes 

Nearly unthinkable a decade ago, certain medical professionals tell children experiencing gender dysphoria that they are trapped in the wrong body, even that their bodies are merely like Pop-Tarts foil packets, as one expert explained. 

Some doctors now prescribe puberty-blocking drugs to otherwise healthy children struggling to accept their bodies. They prescribe cross-sex hormones for young teens to transform their bodies to align with their gender identities.

As part of a government grant-supported study, doctors even performed double mastectomies on adolescent girls — including two 13-year-olds. 

These changes weren’t grassroots movements. They’ve come from people wielding political, economic and cultural power to advance sexual-liberationist ideology.

The change has been top down —

  • from Hollywood’s portrayal of LGBT characters
  • to business executives boycotting states over religious-freedom laws.

Having lost at the ballot box over and over — even in California — activists found new avenues:

  • ideologically friendly courts,
  • federal agencies,
  • big corporations.

Redefining “sex” to mean “gender identity”

Having secured a judicial redefinition of marriage, they pivoted to the “T,” with the Obama administration redefining “sex” to mean “gender identity” and imposing a new policy on all schools.

And having won government support, activists turned to eliminating private dissent.

  • Former presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke wants to yank the tax-exemption of noncompliant churches.
  • Megadonor Tim Gill vows to spend his fortunes to “punish the wicked.”

Who are “the wicked”?

Who are “the wicked”? Those who refuse to accept the new sexual orthodoxy.

The marriage-based family — should be supported, not undermined or redefined. That basic rights like religious freedom ought to be upheld, not infringed. That a healthy moral and physical ecology — especially for children — must be preserved.

The “progress” of the past decade has exacted steep costs.

One thought on “Decade in review: Marital norms erode

Add yours

  1. Reblogged this on larrysmusings and commented:
    Somehow me thinks that this will not end well in the decadent, demoralized Western world.

    The traditional family has been under constant attack now for many years. Since the nuclear family is the basic social unit of society, its demise will not (unsurprisingly) have disastrous consequences for society as a whole. But, of course, those who attack the family and natural laws either do not care about larger consequences, or they do so on purpose as they wish to harm society. Food for thought.

    Liked by 1 person

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