Within a week, courts in California and Texas issued rulings that, when it comes to traditional marriage, suggest that the so-called "alarmists" have actually understated the dangers.
The first was the California Supreme Court's decision In Re Marriage Cases. As you probably know, the court, by a 4-3 vote, overturned the state's ban on same-sex "marriage."
The decision swept aside a referendum passed in 2000. By a more than 3-2 margin, voters had approved the referendum that read, "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid and recognized in California." The court also concluded that the California domestic-partnership law discriminated against gays.
It did so by finding a "right"—sound familiar?—to marry under the California Constitution. As the majority opinion put it, "An individual's capacity to establish a loving and long-term committed relationship with another person and responsibly to care for and raise children does not depend upon the individual's sexual orientation." Oh my.
If all the talk about "loving and long-term committed relationships" sounds vague to you, you are not alone. In dissent, Justice Marvin Baxter asked, "Who can say that in 10, 15 or 20 years, an activist court might not rely on the majority's analysis to conclude . . . that the laws prohibiting polygamous and incestuous marriages were no longer constitutionally justified?"
Baxter is right, of course. There is nothing in the California majority opinion that necessarily limits "loving and long-term relationships" to two people, or even people who are unrelated to one another. The biggest impediment is our revulsion at polygamy and incest—revulsions that can be swept aside by activist judges as easily as the millennia-old revulsion toward same-sex "marriage."
That would only leave the argument that these arrangements pose a threat to the health and well-being of children.
A week later, as if on cue, a Texas appeals court knocked the legs out from underneath that argument. It ruled that the state "overstepped its authority when it removed some of about 460 children from a [much-publicized] polygamist compound" in Texas.
The court ruled that the group's beliefs, and even its practices, do not put the children in "physical danger." Neither the court nor the state argued that living in a polygamous setting was, in and of itself, bad for children; their concern was for the potential sexual abuse of underage girls.
Thus, a California court creates a sweeping right to turn any "long-term and loving relationship" into a marriage. And a week later, a Texas court rules that polygamous beliefs, and even practices, are not—per se—harmful to children, unless it puts children in "physical danger."
To use a suitably biblical phrase, the handwriting is on the wall. The question is: Can we read it? The direction we are headed in is clear.
Happily, there is still a chance to change direction. California voters will vote in a referendum this fall to make "one man, one woman" part of the California constitution. Pray that Christians and right-thinking Californians will turn out in overwhelming numbers to pass this referendum. Because, when it comes to same-sex "marriage," the four words I never want to say are: "I told you so."
From BreakPoint®, June 4, 2008, Copyright 2008, Prison Fellowship Ministries. Reprinted with the permission of Prison Fellowship Ministries. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or distributed without the express written permission of Prison Fellowship Ministries. "BreakPoint®" and "Prison Fellowship Ministries®" are registered trademarks of Prison Fellowship