marriage wedding

Who denigrates marriage? Maybe you and I do.

Conservative, evangelical, and fundamentalist Christians are not going to like what I am going to say. And neither are most ordinary conservatives. But that has never stopped me before.

The recent decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges was inevitable:

The Fourteenth Amendment requires a State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-State.

It was inevitable because exactly two years before, the Supreme Court, in the case of United States v. Windsor, by the same 5-4 majority, overturned section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and extended federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples.

It was inevitable because same-sex marriage was already legal in an overwhelming majority of the states. Beginning with Massachusetts in 2004, thirty-five states and the District of Columbia legalized same-sex marriage state wide via legislative statutes, ballot initiatives, state court decisions, or federal court decisions before Obergefell v. Hodges. Same-sex marriage was also legal in parts of three other states and pending in six other states.

It was inevitable because the tide of public opinion regarding same-sex marriage has shifted. In a number of polls taken over the past five years, support for same-sex marriage has consistently been growing. Clearly, it is not members of evangelical churches who are being polled. But neither is it just members of San Francisco gay bathhouses who are being polled. I do think, however, that if the poll question asked about “marriage redefinition” instead of “marriage equality” that fewer people would express support for same-sex marriage.

This doesn’t mean that I agree with the decision or deem it to be the right decision. I think neither.

The case of Obergefell v. Hodges (and the cases it was consolidated with) should have never made it to the Supreme Court. The case (and the cases it was consolidated with) should never have made it to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. The case (and the others like it) should have never made it the Federal District Courts. No cases like this should have ever made it to state courts. No legislation regarding same-sex marriage should have ever been passed. No ballot initiatives regarding same-sex marriage should have ever been voted on. Why? Because no government at any level should have anything to do with marriage in the first place—traditional, same-sex, or otherwise. No one should have to get a license from the government to get married any more than he should have to get a license from the government to cut hair or a permit from the government to have a garage sale.

But, as I wrote in “Is There a Libertarian Position on Same-Sex Marriage?” back in 2012: “Even governments at all levels getting out of the marriage business – like they should – still wouldn’t make a same-sex marriage a marriage.” For as I also said: “Marriage predates the nation-state, the community, society, states and counties, cities and towns, governmental bodies of any kind, and even the church. If words and 6,000 years of human history mean anything, then there can be no denying the fact that marriage means only marriage in the traditional sense.” And as Matthew recorded from the lips of Jesus: “Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matthew19:4-6).

The future results of the Obergefell v. Hodges case are potentially more troubling than the decision itself:

  • Will a woman who gives up her child for adoption be able to refuse to give the child to a same-sex couple?
  • Will a minister who opposes same-sex marriage be charged with a crime if he refuses to marry a same-sex couple?
  • Will children raised by same-sex couples have “issues” throughout their life because of it?
  • Will the legalization of marriages between three or more people, between relatives, and between men and animals be next?
  • Will the government institute de facto employment quotas for members of the LGBT community via anti-discrimination laws?
  • Will the Supreme Court discover other dubious “rights” next to the constitutional rights to abortion and same-sex marriage?

Now we have come to the point in the article where Christians and conservatives are not going to like what I am going to say.

Back in 2013, in the midst of his campaign for governor of Illinois, Republican state senator Kirk Dillard addressed a crowd of traditional marriage supporters at a rally at the state capitol:

I am honored and humbled to have the opportunity to speak to this amazing crowd this morning about marriage, and why, I, as governor of this state, will veto the bill that attempts to legalize same sex marriage.

He then said that Senate Bill 10, the same-sex marriage bill that was then pending in the Illinois House of Representatives, “would denigrate marriage as we know it in this state.” The bill was passed by the Illinois General Assembly but Senator Dillard was not elected governor of Illinois. He resigned in August of 2014 to be the chairman of the Regional Transportation Authority.

In addition to opponents of same-sex marriage saying that the practice will “denigrate marriage,” they have also said things like:

  • Same-sex marriage threatens traditional marriage.
  • Same-sex marriage undermines the institution of marriage.
  • Same-sex marriage further isolates marriage from its procreative purpose.
  • Same-sex marriage destabilizes the norm that adults should sacrifice to get and stay married for the sake of their children.
  • Same-sex marriage institutionalizes the idea that children do not need both their mother and their father.
  • Same-sex marriage will fundamentally alter the institution for the worse.

But it is not just homosexual participants in same-sex marriage who have “denigrated” marriage. It is heterosexual proponents of traditional marriage as well, including many who profess to be Christians.

I told you that Christians and conservatives were not going to like what I am going to say.

  1. Heterosexual couples who live together before marriage denigrate marriage.
  2. Heterosexual couples in long-term relationships who enjoy the sexual benefits of marriage denigrate marriage.
  3. Heterosexual couples who cohabitate denigrate marriage.
  4. Heterosexual couples who engage in casual sexual encounters denigrate marriage.
  5. Heterosexual couples who have “open marriages” denigrate marriage.
  6. Heterosexual couples who are married and commit adultery denigrate marriage.
  7. Heterosexual couples who have children born out of wedlock denigrate marriage.
  8. Heterosexual couples who abort their unwanted children denigrate marriage.
  9. Heterosexual couples who are married but separated denigrate marriage.
  10. Heterosexual couples who promise to love and cherish till death do us part and then get divorced denigrate marriage.

Perhaps the worst offenders are Republican politicians who preach family values and then have affairs, go through divorces, or get caught with their pants down. They denigrate marriage far more than same-sex couples who want the state to sanction their “marriage.”

Originally posted on