A friend of mine takes some sort of twisted delight in sending me the Indiana Family Institute’s newsletters. I think he just enjoys my incredulous reactions.
The latest one was filled with “the usual suspects.” Planned Parenthood is prowling the state killing babies, the poor economy is another consequence of our departure from morality–or something. And of course, allowing same-sex couples to marry is no different from incest or pedophilia.
Are people really unable to distinguish between a relationship that rests on the mutual love and desire of willing, consenting adults and those in which a person in a position of power abuses that power to exploit someone younger and/or weaker?
I’m not a fan of government intrusion into private, consensual relationships. If you and your significant other get your kicks hanging from the chandeliers or making love in wet suits, it really isn’t the business of the state to intervene. If, on the other hand, realizing your fantasies requires the “participation” of children under the age of consent, government has the duty and obligation to prevent that. The difference isn’t that hard to see.
Those who insist that same-sex marriage is a slippery slope to a hellish society in which marriage itself has lost all value have been making that argument at every social turn. Divorce would destroy the family. Women working outside the home and birth control would thwart God’s plan.
These attitudes are part of a fantasy world–a remembrance of imagined times past when children weren’t born out of wedlock, grandma and grandpa’s marriage lasted sixty glorious years, and grandpa went to work every day to support a passel of kids (none of whom, of course, were gay). As social scientists remind us, that wasn’t the way it ever was. At the turn of the last century (1900), thanks to death and (common) desertions, the average marriage lasted 12 years. Fully a third of women were pregnant at the time of their very early marriage. Men had no legal obligation to support their children until the 1920s, and plenty didn’t.
Every social change makes people uncomfortable. Those who simply can’t deal with the discomfort–those who feel diminished by changes in the culture and by efforts to the include others at the table–are sad reminders of how fragile the human ego can be, and a cautionary tale about how and why people hate.