What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet…
-Romeo and Juliet, Act II, Scene 2
Shakespeare was always eloquent, but not always right. For proof, look no further than the machinations of the New York State Assembly with regard to same-sex “marriage.”
Defining marriage down isn’t hard, for elected officials as blithely unconcerned with the will of the electorate as the New York Legislature. It helps, of course, if you have contempt for the Constitution and can immunize yourself against the realities of life and human relationships.
One of those realities – so fundamental that it’s generally bypassed by those pressing the homosexual political agenda and the Empire State officials who indulge them – is that homosexual behavior doesn’t “work” on a number of levels.
Physiologically, homosexual activities, by definition, force biological processes on a human anatomy inherently inhospitable to them. As is usually the case when one forces the body to endure things it’s not designed to endure, bad health results, which is why those who practice homosexual behavior are at extraordinarily higher risk than the rest of the population for a host of diseases and disabling conditions.
It doesn’t work emotionally, either. Homosexual unions are notorious for their brevity—the mainstream media's focus on the few lengthier relationships notwithstanding. In other words, these are sexual relationships centered on the sex, not the relationship. Any good psychologist will tell you that sexual encounters that are primarily about the sexual encounter are not emotionally satisfying and are, in fact, more often emotionally harmful. Obviously, that’s not a problem limited to homosexual hook-ups, but it’s certainly a primary characteristic of them.
Homosexual relationships don’t work in terms of the ultimate practical reason for sex itself: reproduction. Same-sex unions cannot produce children, which – at the sociological level – makes homosexual activity not only non-productive but, ultimately, suicidal for a society.
Worst of all, homosexual behavior is spiritually unfulfilling. It has to be, since the One who created the desire for spiritual fulfillment and who alone embodies that soul satisfaction has Himself declared such behavior anathema – off limits – self-destructive. One cannot find spiritual contentment while defying the God whose approval breeds that contentment.
Western culture (and much of the East) has recognized these truths as self-evident for thousands of years and across countless civilizations. And yet the New York State Assembly, spurred on by the activists, has chosen to ignore them. To do so, the legislators also had to ignore the people who elected them…since a majority of those people continue to indicate, at ballot boxes across that state and around the country, that they still find the old truths about homosexual behavior true.
Like the legislators of Sacramento, the legislators in Albany have modestly determined that their own senses and sensibilities are of a more discriminating maturity and entrenched nobility than those of their fellow citizens, the accumulated millions of human history, and God Himself. Against such arrogance there can be no law, so the legislators have no trouble dismissing any Constitution quibbles than impede their immoral cause.
And yet…something nags at those pressing for homosexual “rights.” Indeed, it gnaws at the roots of their disquiet and frustration. It drives them to appropriate-for-their-chosen-behavior terms that will cloak it in equality and give it the appealing whiff of the rose. It’s not enough that homosexual behavior be allowed…it must be approved by the churches. It must be endorsed by entertainers. It must be promoted in the classroom. It must be acclaimed by politicians. It must be celebrated by Americans everywhere. It must be made good – as good as purity, as embraceable as children, as respected as marriage.
However our legislators rename or attempt to redefine it, marriage is and will always be about the union of one man and one woman. People in same-sex relationships don’t need a word to validate the love, happiness, and commitment they claim to share. And that’s how we know it’s not about the love and happiness and commitment at all – it’s about changing the culture. It’s about holding society’s head underwater until society celebrates the thing it has always rightly rejected. It’s about teaching people that something they understand intrinsically as wrong is really right. It’s about calling evil good, and laughing at the transformation.
Likewise, giving same-sex couples children is not and cannot be about “what’s best for the children.” What’s best for children is a mother and father, each fulfilling their clear and irreplaceable roles in a child’s moral and emotional upbringing. Same-sex couples, by definition, knowingly and deliberately rob their children of at least one crucial aspect of a healthy family life. That’s not something people do when they care about “what’s best for the children.”
By facilitating such adoptions, by legalizing such unions, the New York State Assembly has demonstrated its cynical contempt for the lives of children, for the integrity of marriage, for the health of society, for moral truth, for the people they claim to serve, and – most insidiously – for those whose emotional scars, moral deviations, and spiritual frustrations have led them to demand this wholesale conversion of enduring truth into a convenient lie.
They can change what “marriage” means in the law books. The activists and their political patsies can bask in the sweet smell of success. But marriage is what it is, and this – this newly fabricated legal formality – has nothing of the fragrance of the rose about it.
Alan Sears, a former federal prosecutor in the Reagan Administration, is president and CEO of the Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal alliance employing a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.