Fear of hypocrisy is a poor rationalization for policy
The Supreme Court must not be allowed to set national policy and force that policy on all fifty states.
David French makes two arguments for government recognizing same-sex marriage. One of his arguments is reasonable, but the other one is specious. Let's deal with the reasonable one first: Removing state recognition of same-sex marriage now would throw many families into chaos.
This is true. It does seem unfair to allow homosexuals to get married and then yank legal recognition away from them. But we should recognize that Obergefell was not just a Supreme Court decision, but a political strategy designed to create chaos. The Supreme Court knew that by forcing all 50 states to recognize same-sex marriage, they would create a situation where any attempt to restore the law as it existed before they mutilated the Constitution would be extremely difficult.
But this is exactly why we should overturn Obergefell. We should not let the activist judiciary force our hands like this or create a legal framework out of thin air. The judicial branch needs to be disciplined, especially for an egregious overreach like this one. The fact that the Court intentionally created a political thicket makes it all the more important to restrain their power. The idea that a "constitutional right" to same-sex marriage was created in 1868 with the passage of the 14th Amendment - yet somehow was not discovered for 147 years - is laughable on its face. The Court was legislating policy from the bench.
From a policy standpoint, removing legal recognition of homosexual marriages could be implemented in a way that preserves things like hospital visitation, inheritance rights and so forth. Recognition could be phased out by continuing to recognize same-sex marriages that already exist while not recognizing any new ones. This does not need to be as complicated or painful as French suggests it would be.
The other argument is much weaker: French makes a distinction between Biblical marriage - he calls it "covenant marriage" - and civil marriage. Beginning in the 1960's in the wake of the sexual revolution, states started implementing "no fault divorce" laws allowing dissolution of a marriage without a cause like adultery, abandonment or abuse. The hypocrisy in advocating for "traditional marriage" while permitting serial divorce and remarriage was obvious.
But the answer to this hypocrisy was not further watering down the institution of marriage as the lifelong, monogamous procreative union of a man and a woman. The answer was to reform divorce laws to require a reason for dissolution of a marriage. That is still the answer, and would still be a worthwhile policy for conservative legislators in the various states. This policy should be pursued no matter what happens to legal recognition of homosexual marriages.
French's position is understandable, as he is seeking to be consistent. Not only is opposition to same-sex marriage not inconsistent, consistency is not the only virtue our civil laws should uphold. Finally, Christians need to stop being ashamed of our own faith. We should be bold, openly stating that we should return to the definition of marriage as described by Jesus Christ in Matthew 19.
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