The comparison between overturning marriage this spring and the convulsions of the Arab Spring are really quite interesting. Few people gave much thought to what would replace the systems being overthrown. Without respect for basic human rights-like freedom of religion, freedom of speech and assembly, freedom of the press-we were unlikely to see an improvement in the Mideast. But in another sense, the comparison is way off base. Those mobs in the Arab Street thought they were overthrowing tyrannical regimes. Nothing like that exists here. America's marriage laws have stood the test of time. They are good and just laws, designed to protect the weak and vulnerable. Who will suffer in America from a "Marriage Spring"? The same people who are suffering now: the poor, the marginal, single mothers, fatherless children. When counterfeit marriage is allowed, true marriage declines. We have seen this happen in all the Socialist countries of Europe.
WASHINGTON,DC (Catholic Online) - Recently, I was a panelist on MSNBC. The topic was same sex marriage. A fellow panelist called for a Marriage Spring. We know what that means. Or we think we do. The un-marriage advocate wants us to hurry up and overthrow the existing order.
Do it as the Arab Street has been doing it: Assemble a vast mass of people entering the square to insist on change. Demand an end to an oppressive old order. And it will all happen with stunning suddenness-just as the winds of change have blown through the Arab world. Or so they say.
We all remember the hopeful Western journalists who flocked to Egypt after missing the outbreak of massive demonstrations throughout the region.
Perhaps, though, my Arab Spring/Marriage Spring debate opponent has forgotten how quickly the mood changed in Tahrir Square when the mass movement got to Egypt.
Well, Egypt quickly moved to oust 30-year despot Hosni Mubarak and install in his place Mohamed Morsi as the Muslim Brotherhood's "democratically elected" successor. In short order, Mubarak was tried, convicted and sentenced to death. Only to be followed by a military coup against Mohamed Morsi and his trial and death sentence.
Or, should we consider Libya's chapter in the Arab Spring? There, 40-year dictator Muammar Kaddafi was captured by an Arab mob, beaten and shot to death. The interim government that replaced him refused to turn over to the U.S. the convicted Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi.
Then, that same government refused to protect U.S. Embassy personnel at Benghazi and four Americans, including our Ambassador, were murdered.
So the question I would have asked my fellow panelist on MSNBC had I gotten the chance is this:
What part of the Arab Spring do we want to bring to America?
The comparison between overturning marriage this spring and the convulsions of the Arab Spring are really quite interesting. Few people gave much thought to what would replace the systems being overthrown. Without respect for basic human rights-like freedom of religion, freedom of speech and assembly, freedom of the press-we were unlikely to see an improvement in the Mideast.
But in another sense, the comparison is way off base. Those mobs in the Arab Street thought they were overthrowing tyrannical regimes. Nothing like that exists here. America's marriage laws have stood the test of time. They are good and just laws, designed to protect the weak and vulnerable.
Who will suffer in America from a "Marriage Spring"? The same people who are suffering now: the poor, the marginal, single mothers, fatherless children. When counterfeit marriage is allowed, true marriage declines. We have seen this happen in all the Socialist countries of Europe.
The media too often portrays conservatives and Christians as holding onto marriage like a red balloon we don't want to share with homosexuals. But that's not true at all. We believe homosexual Americans should have all the civil rights that any American has. What we don't believe is that they or any group should be allowed to abolish marriage.
Allowing two men or two women to claim marriage rights abolishes marriage. You cannot say yes to them and say to two or more partners? In fact, the advocates for polygamy have raced into federal court demanding an end to state constitutional prohibitions on polygamy.
One of President Obama's top appointees, Chai Feldblum, is the radical advocate of ending marriage. She says so in her manifesto. It is readily available online (www.beyondmarriage.org). What Feldblum and her cohorts demand is that any number of consenting adults should have the legal right to take custody of any number of children.
This is a dagger pointed at the heart of the family and of marriage in America. Nothing less. Chief Justice Earl Warren said it well almost fifty years ago in a unanimous Supreme Court ruling that struck down state laws against blacks marrying whites. Warren said: Marriage is one of the "basic civil rights of man," fundamental to our very existence and survival.
Chief Justice Warren did not say marriage was between one man and one woman because he didn't have to. Everyone knew then what marriage was. Only today, in the confusion sparked by the radicals, does anyone doubt it. True marriage must be supported for the sake of our "existence and survival."
Ken Blackwell is on the faculty of the Liberty University School of Law and a senior fellow at the American Civil Rights Union
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