For decades, a growing narrative from LGBT activists has convinced a great portion of the U.S. public that cultural peace would reign if social conservatives could just get with the times on marriage.
This narrative has recently gained new legs with rulings by federal judges that say marriage laws are based in animus against people with same-sex attractions. Likewise, states and localities regularly pass so-called “non-discrimination laws” that restrict freedom of speech, religion, property ownership, and more.
Despite today’s ruling, however, social conservatives should reject this flawed thinking—not just because of their love for people with same-sex attractions, or because of the Supreme Court’s abuse of the U.S. Constitution, but to protect the American values of free speech and religious liberty.
Indeed, a simple look at the last 10 years of same-sex “marriage” laws in Canada and other nations shows that rather than bring a new utopia to America, changing the legal definition of marriage would lead to further restrictions of religious liberty, undermine parental rights, and lead to worse formative years for children.
Repressing Free Speech and Religious Practice
In Canada, redefining marriage has led straight to the persecution of Christians. Just a decade ago, Canada made same-sex marriage legal, leading to fines for a Catholic-owned Knights of Columbus hall for refusing to host a homosexual wedding reception. Likewise, in 2005, Calgary Bishop Fred Henry was called before a Human Rights Tribunal for writing a public letter defending Catholic doctrine on marriage. The complaint was withdrawn, but the message was clear: Dissent is not tolerable under the new regime.
In America, religious freedom includes religious expression, but not so in Canada, it appears. A Catholic church at which two cohabiting homosexual men were altar servers came to the attention of the local bishop due to a letter signed by 12 parishioners.
When Bishop Nicola de Angelis went to the priest, citing Catholic doctrine, one of the servers launched a human-rights case. The case sought $25,000 from the bishop and $20,000 from each of the 12 parishioners who signed the letter. It was also dropped, but not until the bishop, like Henry, had spent considerable money in his legal defense.
Canada was one of the first nations to legally redefine marriage, but other nations are seeing similar consequences of trying to undermine what God has created. Mayors in France have been told they could not refuse to preside over same-sex ceremonies and a British marriage registrar was denied freedom for her religious beliefs, though just months earlier a demoted government employee’s right to criticize marriage redefinition was protected by courts. Of course, the same thing has already been happening in North Carolina, where civil magistrates whose consciences prevent them from performing gay marriage ceremonies must quit their job or face fines.
One prominent way the state eliminates dissenting voices on marriage is to force the teaching of gender education and so-called “equality of all families.” In Canada, this was first done by not allowing parents to withdraw children from these kinds of classes. Such efforts have graduated to where the province of Quebec now requires an ethics and religious culture course including the “equality of all families” to be taught in private schools, public schools, and home-schooled curricula.
It took a court battle for parents and private schools to gain even a modicum of freedom. Withdrawal by parents was refused at the highest court, but a recent Supreme Court decision has since allowed a Catholic school to present its centuries-old teachings on the material. In Ontario, the government passed a law mandating all schools make room for gay-straight alliance clubs, even at private schools.
In Spain, the terms “mother” and “father” were removed from birth certificates in 2006—in order to not harm the feelings of several hundred same-sex couples getting “married” at that time—and in 2012 three different political parties targeted a bishop for alleged “homophobia” for discussing Catholic doctrine on same-sex relationships.
America Isn’t Far Behind
In America, freedom is considered sacrosanct. However, it is scary to see how similar some of this country’s laws to the ones described above. For example, religious liberty, freedom of speech, and property rights have been torched in New Mexico, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, and elsewhere as “non-discrimination” laws provide state-sanctioned discrimination against supporters of real marriage.
In 2012, New Jersey judge Solomon A. Metzger ruled against a Christian retreat house associated with the United Methodist Church that refused to allow a same-sex civil union ceremony on its premises. Just a few months ago, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed sacked fire chief Kelvin Cochran, an African-American Baptist church deacon, for expressing his personal religious beliefs on marriage in a Bible study publication.
In Washington DC, religiously affiliated education institutions are now forced to allow gay advocacy groups to use their facilities, and parents have been disallowed from helping their children who feel unwanted sexual attractions in California and New Jersey.
Even the federal government is not innocent of wrongdoing here. Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder told state attorneys general they can ignore state laws about marriage (in violation of their oaths of office), and President Obama has decided support for natural marriage is reason to discriminate against religious organizations when handing out federal grants. His administration is also attempting to punish a Navy chaplain for expressing his faith. With the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision today, one can only imagine what is coming next, although Canada, Britain, and elsewhere offer disturbing prospects.
How Did We Get Here?
The chief blame for this state of affairs falls not with unelected judges, the impressive public relations campaign of LGBT activists, or even politicians. It really boils down to the failure of our religious leaders to speak the beautiful Christian truth about love and sexuality. Christian pulpits have been silent on these matters for 50 years while the dogma of sexual liberation has been relentlessly preached from every screen, book, and newspaper.
The solution is to do what we should have done in the first place: Preach the truth with love and courage.
While that battle will be more difficult today—for example, my organization, LifeSiteNews, has been threatened with a lawsuit for using male pronouns when referring for a transgender male, and a lawsuit for accurately reporting what the LGBT ideology means for children in Canada—such is the mantle of responsibility we must face.
Can We Preserve Liberty?
Many assume the marriage fight is lost in America and the Western world. That may be true. Regardless, however, that is another battle: Making sure the public, politicians, media, and LGBT activists understand that opposition to same-sex relationships is not akin to racism and other hate-based beliefs. In fact, because same-sex relationships hurt everyone involved, marriage supporters have a duty to oppose inverted relationships out of love and compassion.
Despite being perhaps 4 percent of the U.S. population, the LGBT community sees devastating levels of HIV/AIDS, depression, anal cancer, suicide, shorter lifespans, and other ailments. Again, it is up to Christians, and especially our pastors, to energize society with the beautiful love of our faith. We never should have given up talking about sex, and we must start doing so anew.
As former Canadian LGBT leader Gens Hellquist said in 2006, “I am tired of watching my community die” of diseases endemic to the LGBT community. A Catholic with a master’s degree in psychology who visited a ward for HIV/AIDS patients in India, he saw it was clear that only monogamous, marital relationships are healthy for human beings.
If we stand up for what is right, just, and good, even if our ideological opponents don’t agree with us, at least they will have to concede that we are coming at it from an altruistic perspective based in objective truth.