My marriage is my responsibility. My wife and I will be held responsible by God for the successes and failures of our union. A gay couple being married or not married will have zero effect on my marriage.
However, social changes have an impact on marriage as an institution. Once upon a time, dissolving a marriage required convincing a judge that the contract had been breached – an affair, an abandonment, abuse. People stuck it out when it got rough. This meant children were raised more often by both parents. Imperfect though it may be, the health, welfare and happiness of children is better served by two parent families.
Social changes in the mid 20th century included the idea of a no-fault divorce. While the logic of allowing couples to escape bad marriages seems sound, the result included a cheapening of marriage itself. Marriages break up for what I think are very trivial reasons – trivial at least in the context of the purpose of marriage. Among these issues are those that had marriage been taken more seriously at the get-go they might have been resolved before the Big Day or the engagement ended. The single most important relationship for children – the relationship between mommy and daddy – are ending at an appalling rate today, and it shows up in the health and welfare of children.
I believe the relentless drive by our media culture to make husbands and fathers out to be villains, idiots, dupes or simply vestigial organs for power-moms to cope with has far more negative impact on the institution of marriage than gay marriage ever will. The disposable nature of relationships and the casual attitude our society has toward divorce is rotting out the very foundation of our civilization. Still, I don’t think we can pass a law (or should) penalizing Hollywood.
How about a fair trade. I’ll support gay marriage – if a gay couple (or trio or whatever) want to get married and make an attempt at the kind of good life I have enjoyed with my wife, more power. I ask that in exchange, you support an end to no-fault divorce.
Gay marriage advocates say my gay neighbors want to be married. I say this is a radical redefinition of marriage and will have consequences, just like no-fault divorce radically altered the definition of marriage.
Liberals always want something for nothing. Let’s offer something for something. I have reservations about what impact on the institution of marriage gay marriage might have. I know no-fault divorce has caused harm to marriage. If gay-marriage advocates want to claim their social change will be harmless on the institution of marriage, let’s see them make a good faith effort to undo a social change that has.