You really can't have "gay marriage," you know, irrespective of what a court or a legislature may say.
You can have something some people call gay marriage because to them the idea sounds worthy and necessary, but to say a thing is other than it is, is to stand reality on its head, hoping to shake out its pockets.
Such is the supposed effect of the Iowa Supreme Court's declaration last week that gays and heterosexuals enjoy equal rights to marital bliss. Nope. They don't and won't, even if liberal Vermont follows Iowa's lead.
The human race -- sorry ladies, sorry gents -- understands marriage as a compact reinforcing social survival and projection. It has always been so. It will always be so, even if every state Supreme Court pretended to declare that what isn't suddenly is. Life does not work in this manner.
The supposed redefinition of the Great Institution is an outgrowth of modern hubris and disjointed individualism. "What I say goes!" has become our national philosophy since the 1960s. One appreciates the First Amendment right to make such a claim. Nonetheless, no such boast actually binds unless it corresponds with the way things are at the deepest level, human as well as divine. Surface things can change. Not the deep things, among them human existence.
A marriage -- a real one -- brings together man and woman for mutual society and comfort, but also, more deeply, for the long generational journey to the future. Marriage, as historically defined, across all religious and non-religious demarcations, is about children -- which is why a marriage in which the couple deliberately repudiates childbearing is so odd a thing, to put the matter as generously as possible.
A gay "marriage" (never mind whether or not the couple tries to adopt) is definitionally sterile -- barren for the purpose of extending the generations for purposes vaster than any two people, (including people of opposite sexes), can envision.
Current legal prohibitions pertaining to something called "gay marriage" don't address the condition called homosexuality or lesbianism. A lesbian or homosexual couple is free to do pretty much as they like, so long as it doesn't "like" too much the notion of remaking other, older ideas about institutions made, conspicuously, for others. Marriage, for instance.
True, marriage isn't the only way to get at childbirth and propagation. There's also the ancient practice called illegitimacy -- in which trap, by recent count, 40 percent of American babies are caught. It's a lousy, defective means of propagation, with its widely recognized potential for enhancing child abuse and psychological disorientation.
Far, far better is marriage, with all those imperfections that flow from the participation of imperfect humans. Hence the necessity of shooing away traditional marriage's derogators and outright enemies -- who include, accidentally or otherwise, the seven justices of Iowa's Supreme Court. These learned folk tell us earnestly that the right to "equal protection of the law" necessitates a makeover of marriage. And so, by golly, get with it, you cretins! Be it ordered that …
One can say without too much fear of contradiction that people who set themselves up as the sovereign arbiters of reality are -- would "nutty" be the word?
The Iowa court's decision in the gay marriage case is pure nonsense. Which isn't to say that nonsense fails to command plaudits and excite warnings to others to "keep your distance." We're reminded again -- as with Roe v. Wade, the worst decision in the history of human jurisprudence -- of the reasons judges should generally step back from making social policy. For one thing, a judicial opinion can mislead viewers into supposing that, well, sophisticated judges wouldn't say things that weren't so. Would they?
Of course they would. They just got through doing it in Iowa, and now the basketball they tossed in the air has to be wrestled for, fought over, contested: not merely in Iowa, but everywhere Americans esteem reality over ideological fantasy and bloviation. A great age, ours. Say this for it anyway: We never nod off.