Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Efforts to work a compromise on marriage issue are doomed to fail just as they did for slavery.

There was an interesting op/ed piece in the New York Times on efforts to reach a compromise or accommodation between supporters and opponents of homosexual marriage. I view it as wishful thinking and reminiscent of efforts to reach accommodation on the slavery issue via the Missouri Compromise of 1820 which allowed some states to remain free and some slave. It ultimately didn't hold up.

The authors, David Blankenhorn and Jonathan Rauch, are on different sides of homosexual marriage. The former against and the latter for it. Yet they think we can reach a compromise on the marriage issue. They write:

We take very different positions on gay marriage. We have had heated debates on the subject. Nonetheless, we agree that the time is ripe for a deal that could give each side what it most needs in the short run, while moving the debate onto a healthier, calmer track in the years ahead.

It would work like this: Congress would bestow the status of federal civil unions on same-sex marriages and civil unions granted at the state level, thereby conferring upon them most or all of the federal benefits and rights of marriage. But there would be a condition: Washington would recognize only those unions licensed in states with robust religious-conscience exceptions, which provide that religious organizations need not recognize same-sex unions against their will. The federal government would also enact religious-conscience protections of its own. All of these changes would be enacted in the same bill.

I don't see room for compromise on this issue, because it addresses the fundamental moral question of the nature of marriage. We can't redefine marriage, because it's not ours to redefine. It's rooted in the created order and the nature of God. We're only fooling ourselves if we think we can violate a fundamental principle of nature and not suffer the consequences. Ultimately, truth will prevail on this issue. Either with re-embracing the true understanding of marriage in our culture and society or we will embrace the chaos resulting from efforts to redefine fundamental human relationships and continue to decline as a society.

In the meanwhile, efforts like the above proposal, which is really just a step down the road towards homosexual marriage, sow the seeds of it's own instability and is unsustainable. I think Lincoln's view on slavery and freedom coexisting is salient in the debate over homosexual marriage and man-woman marriage. Lincoln said our nation would either be all free or all slave. In the same way, we'll be either an all man-woman marriage society or one which eliminates marriage by embracing homosexual relationships.

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