Moral equivalence in the White House
The first African-American president of the United States is going
to bring some uniquely different values into the White House. Testing
the parameters of his moral vision during the presidential campaign,
Obama was asked about same-sex marriage, among other things. His
answer…..that he opposed it…..has morphed, now that he’s president.
Today, he affirmed homosexual unions, and went even further…
President Obama honored Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and
Transgender Pride Month with a White House reception Monday where he
likened the struggle for gay rights with the struggle of
African-Americans for civil rights.
With first lady Michelle Obama at his side, the president told the
cheering crowd filling the East Room that his administration would work
to repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and end the “don’t ask,
don’t tell” policy regarding gays in the military.
Why “so-called”? That’s dismissive.
“I know that many in this room don’t believe that
progress has come fast enough, and I understand that,” Obama said.
“It’s not for me to tell you to be patient any more than it was for
others to counsel patience to African-Americans who were petitioning
for equal rights a half-century ago.”
Hold on. Re-set this dialogue.
The debate over whether the state ought to recognize gay
marriages has thus far focused on the issue as one of civil rights.
Such a treatment is erroneous because state recognition of marriage is
not a universal right. States regulate marriage in many ways besides
denying men the right to marry men, and women the right to marry women.
That was only about half a year ago.
Now, we have Gay Pride month, 2009. And the “gay rights” movement has taken great strides in the interim.
Rights, as the Declaration of Independence tells us, are
founded firmly in and are fully dependent on the “Laws of Nature and of
Nature’s God.” Anyone whose claim can be asserted on the level of a
right therefore gathers tremendous moral and political impetus for his
As was evidenced in today’s White House gathering. But it goes beyond the Obama administration.
Former Vice-President Dick Cheney’s recent public
endorsement of same-sex marriage is typical. He said: “I think that
freedom means freedom for everyone… I think people ought to be free to
enter into any kind of union they wish. Any kind of arrangement they
wish.” Really? Any arrangement? What does this mean for our society?
This attempt to legitimize any arrangement demands especially close
scrutiny, because it questions the meaning of concepts critical to our
moral and political understanding of ourselves, including the very
understanding of that “Nature” upon which our Founders thought our
existence as a free people depends.
Which begs the question of whether anyone is thinking through the consequences of expanding the laws and rights governing marriage.
If the state must recognize a marriage of two men simply
because they love one another, upon what basis can it deny marital
recognition to a group of two men and three women, for example, or a
sterile brother and sister who claim to love each other? Homosexual
activists protest that they only want all couples treated equally. But
why is sexual love between two people more worthy of state sanction
than love between three, or five? When the purpose of marriage is
procreation, the answer is obvious. If sexual love becomes the primary
purpose, the restriction of marriage to couples loses its logical
basis, leading to marital chaos.
It’s the logical progression of where we’re headed by stretching and redefining the language of rights.
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