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The Tyranny of the Minority

S. T. Karnick

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How the forced recognition of same-sex “marriage” undermines a free society.

FFrom the beginning, the debate over “same-sex marriage” has been one of those topsy-turvy issues in which the side that is truly tolerant and fair has been characterized as narrow-minded and oppressive, while the side that is intolerant and blatantly coercive has been depicted as open-minded and sympathetic.

Favoring government-enforced recognition of same-sex “marriage” is not, as the media invariably characterize it, a kindly, liberal-minded position, but instead a fierce, coercive, intolerant one. Despite their agonized complaints about the refusal of the majority of Americans to give in on the subject, those who advocate government recognition of same-sex “marriage” want to use coercion to deny other people their fundamental rights.

The issue, it’s important to remember, is not whether society will allow homosexuals to “marry.” They may already do so, in any church or other sanctioning body that is willing to perform the ceremony. There are, in fact, many organizations willing to do so: the Episcopal Church USA, the Alliance of Baptists, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Presbyterian Church USA, the Unity School of Christianity, the Unitarian Universalists, the Swedenborgian Church of North America, the Quakers, the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, and the United Church of Christ, among others. Such institutions either explicitly allow the consecration or blessing of same-sex “marriages” or look the other way when individual congregations perform such ceremonies.

No laws prevent these churches from conducting marriage ceremonies—and nearly all Americans would agree that it is right for the government to stay out of a church’s decision on the issue. Further, any couple of any kind may stand before a gathering of well-wishers and pledge their union to each other, and the law will do nothing to prevent them. Same-sex couples, or any other combination of people, animals, and inanimate objects, can and do “marry” in this way. What the law in most states currently does not do, however, is force third parties—individuals, businesses, institutions, and so on—to recognize these “marriages” and treat them as if they were exactly the same as traditional marriages. Nor does it forbid anyone to do so.

An insurance company, for example, is free to treat a same-sex couple (or an unmarried two-sex couple) the same way it treats married couples, or not. A church can choose to bless same-sex unions, or not. An employer can choose to recognize same-sex couples as “married,” or not. As Richard Thompson Ford noted in Slate, “In 1992 only one Fortune 500 company offered employee benefits to same-sex domestic partners; today hundreds do.”

In short, individuals, organizations, and institutions in most states are currently free to treat same-sex unions as marriages, or not. This, of course, is the truly liberal and tolerant position. It means letting the people concerned make up their own minds about how to treat these relationships. But this freedom is precisely what the advocates of same-sex “marriage” want to destroy; they want to use the government’s power to force everyone to recognize same-sex unions as marriages whether they want to or not.

The effects of such coercion have already been felt in some places. Adoption agencies, for example, like any other organization, ought to be able to choose whether to give children to same-sex couples, or not. But in Massachusetts, where same-sex “marriage” has been declared legal, these agencies have been forced to accept applications from same-sex couples or go out of business.

Minority Rule

What’s at issue here is not whether people can declare themselves married and find other people to agree with them and treat them as such. No, what’s in contention is whether the government should force everyone to recognize such “marriages.” Far from being a liberating thing, the forced recognition of same-sex “marriage” is a governmental intrusion of monumental proportions.

Although pro-homosexual radicals continually refer to the forced recognition of same-sex “marriage” as a civil right, as well as a matter of liberating society from hidebound prejudices, such policies are actually the government-enforced imposition of a small group’s sexual values on a reluctant and indeed strongly resistant population. That’s why nearly all of the moves to legalize same-sex “marriage” have come from the courts, not the democratic process. After all, court cases would not be necessary if the public already agreed with the radicals.

Read the entire article on the Salvo magazine website (new window will open).

Posted: 05-Oct-2008



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