Column: Why Havent Calif. Gay Marriages Destroyed Society Yet?

This story was written by C. G. Shields, The Daily Athenaeum


Something is amiss.

A week and two days has passed since the state of California began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but the sky is still in place, and generally some shade of blue.

People are still dying and paying taxes, the sun is still rising every day, north is north and south is south and Don Imus is saying stupid things.

And somehow, the monolithic institution of marriage has not crumbled into a great pile of rubble and crushed beneath it the legitimacy and sanctity of every union between men and women in America.

What is going on here? I was promised calamity and catastrophe and the end of all things good and decent.

California was supposed to drop into the sea while all those who dared look back were turned into pillars of salt.

Why hasnt this happened? Why is the world more or less going on with its business?

Is it possible that gay men and women getting married is not an extraordinary moral and social disaster? Is it possible that after all this time its really just not a big deal at all?

When the California Supreme Court issued its ruling in May, I saw on one of the 24-hour news networks a viewer comment that said (more or less): Our society is really coming apart. The immoral has become moral.

Are you kidding me?

In our society, we are completely free to drink, smoke, swear, fight, carouse, enjoy sex outside the bonds of wedlock and utterly disregard the poor and infirm.

For the most part, we have always been free to do those things, none of which are approved by any giver of moral law, whether Moses or Jesus or what have you.

But allowing two people who love each other to have the same legal recognition of their arrangement that any other two people can get, without regard to gender?

Apparently that is a bridge too far.

Our priorities are daft. Were knee-deep in culture wars while Americans who are fighting real wars in two of the worst places in the world lack adequate equipment to protect themselves from a pipe bomb stuffed in a chicken.

Those same Americans dont get the medical or mental care they need when they get home.

Maniacs with no fear of death are plotting new and inventive ways to kill us wherever we may be found.

An entire stratum of our citizenry cannot afford to drive to work and buy food anymore. We are slowly baking the globe and melting the polar ice caps with carbon dioxide.

But damn it, above all else, whatever we do, we must see to it that gay Americans cannot marry each other.

This is an absurd thing to be fighting about, but I suppose we have to fight about it.

If those who truly believe it is worth their toil to support discrimination and discrimination, despite their dishonest nonsense about defending marriage, is what this is all about will keep seeking to impose it, then those of us who oppose such discrimination will not give up until it is gone.

Make no mistake, gone it will be someday.

Discriminatory laws and policies in this country, on any level whether local, state or federal have never long survived the full scrutiny of society.

Jim Crow didnt win. Helen Kendrick Johnson didnt win. Strom Thurmond didnt win.

At the end of things, the opponents of gay marriage wont win either.

But in California, the fight isnt over yet. In November, when voters in that state go to the polls to vote for president, they will also vote on an amendment to the state constitution which could reverse the ruling of the Court, orbid same-sex marriages in California and invalidate the marriages of gay couples who avail themselves of the opportunity between now and then.

If we were talking about any other state, I would be urging those couples to enjoy their status as recognized equals while they could, because they would be doomed in November.

Similar amendments have passed referendum in just about every state where theyve been introduced.

But Californians are an unpredictable lot. Maybe they will look around on that day and see that the institution of marriage is not destroyed, and society still stands, and the bonds that tie us together are unbroken.

And seeing these things, maybe they will not vote to write discrimination and injustice and inequality into their law.

Maybe they will surprise us all. I hope they do.
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