The latest in the cultural game of 'can you top this?'

Ross Mackenzie
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Posted: Nov 20, 2003 12:00 AM

In the beginning, maybe it was Adam and Bruce, after all...

The Massachusetts Supreme Court's 4-3 decision sanctioning - mandating - homosexual marriage is but the latest in a long line of cultural assaults, large and small. From random recall:

In a campaign to redefine the abnormal as normal, the expropriation of the word "gay" for behavior of a sort eminently sad. Religious denominations roiled over issues of homosexuals in the clergy and the blessing of same-sex unions. Devastation of the Catholic Church by pederasty and (principally) homosexual predation. In New York, the nation's first school for homosexual youth - the city-funded Harvey Milk High.

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell." AIDS, rampant across the globe. The flowering of homosexual studies through e.g. the Larry Kramer Initiative at Yale in its effort to solidify its reputation as the Ivy League's foremost homosexual community. The overturning of anti-sodomy laws. National groups and school clubs to shore up the self-esteem of homosexuals who are by their sexual preference different and "don't fit."

Al Sharpton, host to the view that civil unions are a form of discrimination ("it's like saying ... (homosexuals have) the right to shack up but not marry"), declaring he proudly would perform a same-sex marriage ceremony. Sen. Hillary Clinton introducing a bill to give homosexual couples the same rights as heterosexual couples. Same-sex marriage in Holland and Canada. Civil unions legalized by Howard Dean in Vermont, with Dean telling "Meet the Press" in June he would "insist that every state find a way to recognize the same legal rights for gay couples as they do for everybody else."

In this, as with the death penalty and affirmative action, et al., the courts have looked across the sea for support. Writing for the majority in the Lawrence case striking down a Texas anti-sodomy law, Justice Anthony Kennedy cited the European Court of Human Rights and other foreign courts - while dismissing stare decisis and our own judicial heritage. He concluded his opinion with this bit of smug modernism:

"Had those who drew and ratified the Due Process Clauses of the Fifth Amendment or the Fourteenth Amendment known the components of liberty in its manifold possibilities, they might have been more specific. They did not presume to have this insight. They knew times can blind us to certain truths and later generations can see that laws once thought necessary and proper in fact serve only to oppress. As the Constitution endures, persons in every generation can invoke its principles in their own search for greater freedom."

And so now, with our knowledge superior to that of the Founders - knowing what they did not know, and could not - a Massachusetts court has directed its fire at an institution created for the procreation of children and their healthy upbringing by a woman and a man.

Far as we may have come, there remain many miles to go.

Those who find all of this astounding in an enterprise that a generation ago elicited the response, "It's all so absurd, they can't be serious," should take care not to allow themselves to be isolated as somehow immoderate. At the center lies heterosexual marriage; lopsided (and increasing) poll majorities reject the same-gender alternative.

Still, the ideologically correct cry will go up:

"Liberation through enlightenment. The smarter you are, the freer you will be - the more open, the more accepting. Seek to comprehend and you will come to understand all diversity as good. To object is to be ignorant, insensitive, extreme. Be tolerant. Shun homophobia. Above all, do not be judgmental."

Difficult as it may be to believe that the outing of homosexuality - this cultural game of "Can You Top This?" - has advanced to the point it has, keep in mind the cliche: "If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything."

Today 1920s essayist Alexander Woollcott's maxim ("All the things I really like are either immoral, illegal or fattening") has been updated to read: "If it feels good, do it!" Yet every lasting society has had legal strictures based on moral views of right and wrong. Homosexuality has always existed but never been normal. To institutionalize it through marriage would undermine, perhaps destroy, the most stabilizing force in Western Civilization - all in the name of "Do your own thing."

But then again, if in the beginning it actually had been Adam and Bruce, through the subsequent ages there never would have been all those little girls dreaming of growing up and falling in love with a guy and getting married to continue the Family of Man.