I had not expected my last blog post to be as long as it was. I had merely planned to conclude with the anecdote of the lesbian mother I saw at Traintown, but then, well, as I wrote about her, other thoughts came to mind.
I had intended that post to focus on the debate on gay marriage, how, as I wrote the day after the New York legislature voted to recognize same-sex marriages, “the rhetoric [was] regularly exaggerated,” with the debate lacking “the type of civil discussion of the importance and meaning of marriage that would have helped strengthen the institution“.
Echoing my point “about the lack of meaningful/useful/informative discourse in the public square over the past two weeks” our reader Richard Bell confessed, in the comments section that he’s “still reeling from the hyperbole and hate of both sides.” I found the debate so annoying with hyperbole on each side that I simply stopped following it.
What Richard saw as “hate,” I saw as hyperventilating; advocates of the bill assured us that opponents hated gay people and wanted to deprive them of their “rights” while opponents warned of the imminent demise of traditional marriage (if the bill passed).
Give me a break. Marriage has survived as an institution for as long as human beings have recorded the details of our lives. It has survived challenges throughout history, most recently the Sexual Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s. Despite those challenges and active efforts to undermine it, marriage remains a defining cultural institution. Individuals who once rejected it in their youth, embrace it in early middle age and celebrate it in their golden years.
Traditional marriage will survive state recognition of same-sex marriage — and may even emerge stronger than it was when the debate over gay relationships began.
In the long history of marriage, state recognition is a relatively new notion. Long before civil authorities beginning issuing marriage licenses (or their equivalent), religious authorities set the standards for the institution. The New York law will not prevent the various churches, synagogues and other houses of worship in the Empire State from defining marriage for their respective flocks.
If traditional marriage is truly the resilient and beneficial institution its defenders claim, it will survive the recent events in the Empire State. I mean, heck, it endured for centuries, millennia even, without civil authorities granting marriage licenses. And it will endure now that the elected legislature there has expanded the type of couples eligible for such licenses.
*Somehow I think there’s a better title for this post related to civil and religious marriage, but it’s nearly 1 AM PST and bed beckons.