Patrick Archbold is co-founder of Creative Minority Report, a Catholic website that puts a refreshing spin on the intersection of religion, culture, and politics. When not writing, Patrick is director of information technology at a large international logistics company in New York.
DOMA is dead.
And, technicalities aside, Prop 8. in California is dead, paving the way for same-sex marriage there.
While many people will try to dissect these opinions and look for legal silver linings based on the narrowness of this or that part of the rulings, make no mistake, as a practical matter marriage as we knew it is over. The dam has burst even if all the water has not yet traversed the breach.
Marriage, as the union of a man and woman for the purposes of raising children and for mutual support as recognized in culture and law, has ceased to exist. The only reason that marriage needs be recognized by law is that previous generations understood its value and wished to confer certain legal and societal privileges to it so as to encourage it. They rightly understood that marriage is the cornerstone of a society.
Advocates have used those legal and societal privileges to beat, twist, and deform the very meaning and purpose of marriage. We now view the purpose of marriage solely as the conferring of these legal and societal privileges, and thus they can be granted to anyone and anything.
While many states have sought to forestall the redefinition of marriage in their states by statute or constitution, today's ruling basically invalidates their efforts and has opened the floodgate to approval of same sex marriage across the nation with no reasonable recourse. Marriage as we knew it is dead.
With the universal legal recognition of same-sex marriage a fait accompli, the next fight will on the Church doorstep. The next battle will be to force Churches, most particularly the Catholic Church, to recognize and conduct same-sex marriage. The refusal to do so will result in a series of escalating legal and financial ramifications.
Eventually, becuase of its refusal to recognize immoral unions as marriage, the state will refuse to recognize Church marriages. As a result, more and more people will bypass Church marriage altogether, further marginalizing faith in this country. This effort is and has always been a war against religion and in particular a war against the Catholic Church. Right now, it is a war we are losing and after today, perhaps it is fair to say that we lost.
Yes, the Church has the guarantee that it will ultimately prevail, but that does not mean it will prevail in the United States. The failure to see the real target of this war and frankly the weak response to the threat by Church leaders and rank and file have doomed marriage and put the target squarely on the sanctuary.
I don't know if religious liberty can be saved in this country, but it is worth fighting for. I for one will continue to fight, but at least now everyone should understand that the battle is real and we are losing. I just hope that we haven't already lost.
For those who think I am wrong about what is next. The first thing out of Obama's mouth on this topic was a denial that this is what he will try to do. Right on the tip of his tongue.
“On an issue as sensitive as this, knowing that Americans hold a wide range of views based on deeply held beliefs, maintaining our nation’s commitment to religious freedom is also vital,” Obama said. “How religious institutions define and consecrate marriage has always been up to those institutions. Nothing about this decision — which applies only to civil marriages — changes that.”
This is all the confmation I need that this is exactly what they will do.
"They will ridicule Christian simplicity; they will call it folly and nonsense, but they will have the highest regard for advanced knowledge, and for the skill by which the axioms of the law, the precepts of morality, the Holy Canons and religious dogmas are clouded by senseless questions and elaborate arguments. As a result, no principle at all, however holy, authentic, ancient, and certain it may be, will remain free of censure, criticism, false interpretations, modification and delimitation by man." - Ven. Bartholomew Holzhauser.