With the economy twitching around on the ground, unable to rise, shine and party like old times, "gay marriage," as per last week's Proposition 8 decision in California, must seem to some a secondary matter.
That would be a sloppily modern way of looking at things. Not that economic conditions don't matter; it's rather that rationality matters at least as much as money.
The Proposition 8 decision -- in which a federal judge overturned a state constitutional provision restricting matrimonial union in California to one man and one woman -- reflects the modern aptitude for twisting reality to fit personal viewpoint. Reality, to many of our contemporaries, is anything we say it is, instead of That Which Just Plain Is, friend; external to us, beyond human control.
What about marriage? Why not as the federal judge says, two men together or two women? Can't we just say we've had a better idea than civilization's teachers have had up to now -- namely, that anything goes, provided it's "loving," "committed," "respectful of diversity"?
Nope. Large realities dwarf and overshadow the tiny human figures reacting to them. You can say up is down if you want, or hot is cold, or far is near. It's your democratic right. Saying doesn't make it so, nonetheless, except to activists with a personal agenda. In which case, let fantasy reign.
I'm sorry, there's no such thing as gay "marriage" -- as distinguished from gay "relationships" -- because marriage as understood by the whole of humanity for the whole of human time, normally under religious auspices, exists for purposes no gay relationship can satisfy.
What might those purposes be? One is the blending of the relationship between the only two human types there are -- male and female. The man and the woman go together: physically, emotionally, intellectually. I mean, I'm sorry if that hurts anyone's feelings, but Reality does get in the way sometimes when we set out to change it or make it dance to a merry new tune.
A second, genuinely urgent thing that marriage does -- and no gay relationship possibly can -- is project the human race into the future. We read of gay couples raising children, but not their own: I mean, not as unified couples. Someone outside the relationship had to do the heavy biological lifting one partner or the other couldn't do. The point is suggestive of the need for the two formally conjoined birth forces, Mom and Dad, to carry on what they began: not, as it were, harvesting children but loving what they have brought into the world together; training these new creatures, instructing them, fitting them for the future.
This is what we call Reality. Alternative visions, like that of the California court, are what you call Fantasy: matters of mere opinion.
True, the state of California can be and may one day be browbeaten politically or juridically into issuing marriage licenses to two men or two women. A clergyman or judge can in such cases be recruited to perform, in behalf of such couples, a ceremony officially called marriage. Which would be "marriage" only in the political or juridical sense, nothing more; certainly nothing conforming to the historic understandings that "gay marriage" promoters think it unnecessary to refute, likely because they can't.
We have the oddest debates in the 21st century -- debates our forebears couldn't have envisioned, persuaded as they were of truths either formulated and delivered by God through revelation or deducible from the order of things -- from natural law, as we still know it sometimes.
Fantasy is first the act of abjuring or circumventing God for being so stuffy and mean, then undertaking to act outside universally understood norms so as to advance personal pleasure or satisfaction, all the while wondering why anyone else should care.
A secularized, or secularizing, society, increasingly turned off by Bibles and those who quote them, is especially open to the terrifying temptation. Think ours isn't that kind? Turn on the television.