Peering Through the Smoke of the Marriage Debate

Childhood camping experiences taught me you don't want green wood when you're starting a fire. It creates too much smoke. Plenty of heat, too, but mostly smoke, of the kind that envelops you and leaves you too blind to see the marshmallows and hot dogs you're burning to a crisp.

The president's recent interview endorsing same-sex "marriage" was the forensic equivalent of green wood. He added greatly to the heat of the issue, but mostly cloaked it in smoke.

He professed to have come by his newfound conclusions by a long and winding road (although when he ran for the Illinois senate in 1996 he seems to have already been there). Perhaps the journey could have been appreciably shortened by embracing the truth instead of contorting to fit that which is culturally fashionable.

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And right now, homosexual behavior is culturally fashionable. Of that there is no doubt. The culture is dancing to the tune played non-stop by those promoting a homosexual legal and political agenda – it's a tune called "equality." And the music is supposed to drown out the truth that homosexual behavior is wrong.

If two children tell their parents a falsehood, and one child is spanked for the lie while the other is sent to bed with no dessert, the first child may reasonably complain that justice was not equally applied. What he cannot deny is that the lie was wrong. Or that, because of his parents' injustice, he should be rewarded for that lie.

But that, in essence, is the plea of those pressing the case for same-sex "marriage." For the question is not whether heterosexual couples should be allowed to enjoy the privileges of wedded bliss while same-sex couples are not. It's not whether heterosexual couples have treated marriage with the respect it deserves. And it's not whether civil unions offer some reasonable substitute for a marriage license.

No, the question at the root of the same-sex "marriage" issue is, "Is homosexual behavior right or wrong?" If it's wrong, the law and society have no business supporting it, endorsing it, protecting it, promoting it, or elevating it to the status of a "civil right." Everything else is moot.

The president allows as how his own tortured soul came to peace on this question when he came to realize what nice people some of these same-sex couples are and saw how much his children were confused that such happy homes should be deemed disreputable.

But again, the measure of right or wrong is not whether the person doing wrong is nice, nor is it about how effectively the wrongdoer has made his wrongdoing work for him. Politeness, charm, personal warmth, and affectionate natures have never been regarded as exemptions from the law. A fast talker who charms the officer who pulls her over may or may not get off without a ticket – but she was still speeding. And society has determined that speeding, however widely and hypocritically practiced by the population, is wrong.

One of the more exasperating aspects of wrong is that it doesn't cease to be wrong just because I love the person doing it. Although the man who betrays his wife with another woman may be my brother, my father, my son, or my best friend, adultery is still wrong. His wife may be a shrew, and the other woman may be gregarious. He may even feel that this new relationship has actually helped him "grow as a person." But society still concurs that betraying one's marriage vows is wrong.

The laws – written and unwritten – of our society are not based, cannot be based, on feelings, personalities, or individual circumstances. They are based, most often, on what we intuitively know to be right and wrong. In turn, this knowledge helps us perceive what is best for the society as a whole.

Self-destruction is not best for society as a whole. And the end-result of entrenched, endorsed, homosexual relationships is fewer children. The end-result of one-gender parents is a child less fully adjusted to his world than he would be by the effective combination of loving male and female parental influences.

We know this in the deep places of our soul. And we know that homosexual behavior is wrong for the same reasons that we understand, intuitively, that lying, stealing, and adultery are wrong: the fact that those practicing homosexual behavior are lying to themselves, stealing from themselves, harming themselves, and betraying an idea of marriage that they disagree with doesn't change that.

And neither does the fact that we let them, even if we do so out of a misplaced sense of loyalty, compassion, tolerance, or justice.

So when the smoke clears, wrong is wrong. Even when a president says it isn't.

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