Institution of marriage gathers strength in NY

With Friday night’s vote in the New York Senate, the Empire State is set to become the sixth state, in addition to the District of Columbia, in which gay marriage is legal. And because New York will be by far the largest state to take that step, the number of Americans able to marry others of the same gender will effectively double.

This is, of course, the end of Western civilization and of the foundation on which it is built, which is the institution of marriage. Or not.

Kathryn Jean Lopez, writing at the National Review’s “The Corner,” has likened the vote by elected representatives in New York to the brutal repression exercised in North Korea, bizarrely claiming that we Americans are “witnessing tyranny today that is fostered by a false sense of freedom, a tyranny that faux tolerance ferments.”

John Guardiano, writing in the American Spectator, also laments the decline of marriage:

“…. the institution of marriage is [under threat] — so much so that marriage rates in America have plummeted and out-of-wedlock births have skyrocketed.

National Review’s Rich Lowry notes, for instance, that the number of Americans in intact first marriages has dropped from 73 percent in the 1970s to as little as 39 percent today, depending on socioeconomic status. And the poorer and less educated you are, the more likely you are to suffer from the political and cultural degradation of marriage.

Just 45 percent of moderately educated, middle-income Americans are in intact first marriages. For the poorest and least-educated Americans, the corresponding figure is 39 percent.”

Personally, I’m a strong believer in marriage, both as a living arrangement for adults and as the best possible setting in which to raise children. (”Best possible,” however, should not be confused with “only;” the unpredictability of human beings and the realities of life do not allow such blanket statements.)

However, I’ve never seen even a vaguely convincing argument that gay marriage has any affect whatsoever on the status of marriage among heterosexual couples.

Guardiano, for example, tries to suggest that gay marriage has “everything” to do with some ill-defined campaign by ill-defined forces to undercut marriage and bring the country down around our ears.

“Sure, this breakdown in the family has occurred independent of the push for ‘marriage equality’,” he writes. “But it is still part and parcel of an overarching effort to undermine and deprecate traditional marriage and the traditional family. It is still part of a broader political and cultural movement to decouple marriage from its principal purpose, which is the care and raising of children.”

What nonsense.

The care and raising of children is certainly “A” purpose of marriage, and is in fact one reason that gay couples seek that right. However, it is not THE purpose of marriage.

The existence of millions of loving couples who are childless either by choice or by nature refute that claim. Marriages of older couples beyond their child-bearing years refute that claim. Guardiano and others who make such an argument actually belittle marriage by stripping it down to a crude, single-purpose functionality — the raising of children — that seeks to deny its deep emotional rewards and challenges.

The suggestion that gay marriage is part of a guerrilla effort to undercut marriage itself is further undercut by hard data. In general, gay marriage has gained a foothold in those states in which marriage is already strongest, and it is rejected in states where marriage is more threatened.

Massachusetts, the first state to make gay marriage legal, has by far the lowest annual divorce rate in the country, at a mere 1.8 percent. New York has an annual divorce rate of 2.5 percent.

Georgia, in contrast, has an annual divorce rate of 3.2 percent.

In fact, the seven jurisdictions in which gay marriage is now legal, including the District of Columbia, have an average annual divorce rate of 2.7 percent. The average annual divorce rate in the 28 states in which recognition of gay marriage is explicitly banned, including Georgia, is 3.9 percent.

For the record, the New York bill contains explicit protections to ensure that religious organizations cannot be forced to recognize gay marriage or be forced to host marriages, receptions or similar ceremonies. While such protections are probably unnecessary, I think they’re also entirely appropriate. The histrionics of Lopez and others about tyranny aside, this is not an attempt to use government to impose something; it is an attempt to convince government to allow all of its citizens, not just some, to share in the benefits, rights and obligations of a critically important human institution.

– Jay Bookman

834 comments Add your comment

Joe Mama

June 27th, 2011
4:35 pm

Doom — “I still don’t see it in there. Here’s what I think happened. The framers of the constitution- Patrick Heny, Franklin, Adams, etc. they were all pro gay marriage and just forgot to put it in there. For the most part these men were deeply religious and so I’m sure they were pro Adam and Allen getting married. They musta just plum forgot to put it in there.”

If they were so *opposed* to same-sex couples and on your ideological side, then don’t you think they’d have put something in there like: ‘ZOMG NO RIGHTS FOR TEH G@YZ0RZ EVAR!!!111!!!!!ELEVENTY11!! THIS IZ LEEGUL 4EVA!!!!!!”

They clearly limited the authority and power of government, and maximized the rights and freedoms of individuals every place they could. Without something persuasive and specific explaining how and why the freedoms of specific individuals should or must be constrained or enjoined, the simple fact is that you’ve got nothing but your own personal discomfort with gay marriage to justify denying that civic right to them. This is no different than preventing interracial marriage, and that wasn’t overturned until 40-some years ago.

This is coming, too. Nobody expects you to like it, support it or agree with it, but it IS coming whether you like it or not.

Thulsa Doom

June 27th, 2011
4:35 pm

jewcowboy,

I’m just messin with you a little bit. We all understand what that passage is saying about equal enumeration of rights- I just think its a stretch to say it means you have a right to marriage. You think it does under this clause- I don’t.

monty

June 27th, 2011
4:36 pm

The framers of the Constitution spoke of “inalienable rights”, that are, rights granted to us by God, (not by ourselves to ourselves), that no one can deny. Since they are rights granted to all of us by God himself they have to, by necessity, agree with God’s expressed desires for mankind given and made known by the Holy Scriptures. Since God condemns the act of homosexuality it cannot be considered any kind of “inalienable right.” God would not and does not grant license to that which he hates.

jewcowboy

June 27th, 2011
4:37 pm

Joe Mama,

“Nobody expects you to like it, support it or agree with it, but it IS coming whether you like it or not.”

Bingo!

jewcowboy

June 27th, 2011
4:39 pm

Thulsa Doom,

“You think it does under this clause- I don’t”

Then what do think “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws” means?

Joe Mama

June 27th, 2011
4:39 pm

Doom — “I just think its a stretch to say it means you have a right to marriage. You think it does under this clause- I don’t.”

Consider looking at it this way. We all agree that there’s such a thing as marriage, and that people have a right to engage in it (I’m not specifying which people).

Where is the justification or support for government being able to interfere and say who can and who cannot engage in it? I’d think that folks who support smaller government and less government interference would be all for allowing any couples to marry who wanted to do so.

Thulsa Doom

June 27th, 2011
4:39 pm

our own personal discomfort with gay marriage- Joe mama

Good Lord. He’s not only a sea lawyer but a mind reader too!

Joe Mama

June 27th, 2011
4:40 pm

Monty — “The framers of the Constitution spoke of “inalienable rights”, that are, rights granted to us by God, (not by ourselves to ourselves), that no one can deny.”

No. The Preamble makes it quite clear that We The People gave OURSELVES these rights and that we PERMIT government to exercise certain powers in our name.

jewcowboy

June 27th, 2011
4:41 pm

monty,

“Since God condemns the act of homosexuality it cannot be considered any kind of “inalienable right.” ”

Please actually read the Constitution…oh and find me where that is laid out in US Code….thanks!

Joe Mama

June 27th, 2011
4:43 pm

Doom — “Good Lord. He’s not only a sea lawyer but a mind reader too!”

To borrow a phrase from you (which you appear to be fond of using), it’s a reasonable inference given your previous posts and statements on the topic.

If, however, you are not uncomfortable with gay marriage, I will gladly retract my statement and apologize to you.

Once you have kissed jewcowboy. On the lips. With tongue.

Thulsa Doom

June 27th, 2011
4:43 pm

“Nobody expects you to like it, support it or agree with it, but it IS coming whether you like it or not.”

It is indeed possible. If liberal policies and agendas keep dragging us ever lower into the sewer then its quite possible this could happen. But I doubt it. Immigration means a lot of Hispanics who are culturally conservative will vote against it like they did in CA. Immigration and conservative social issues Hispanic immigration is coming whether you like it or not. Didn’t factor that into your thinking did ya?

jewcowboy

June 27th, 2011
4:45 pm

“Once you have kissed jewcowboy. On the lips. With tongue.”

Hey….wait a minute. Don’t drag my lips into this…

Joe Mama

June 27th, 2011
4:49 pm

Doom — “It is indeed possible. If liberal policies and agendas keep dragging us ever lower into the sewer then its quite possible this could happen. But I doubt it. Immigration means a lot of Hispanics who are culturally conservative will vote against it like they did in CA. Immigration and conservative social issues Hispanic immigration is coming whether you like it or not.”

On the contrary, I’m quite pleased by it. My Hispanic wife is, too.

“Didn’t factor that into your thinking did ya?”

Of course I did. But they’re not going to vote for the people who poop on them and call them names. My wife can’t believe that your side is squandering such a golden opportunity to welcome more sympathetic voters to their cause.

The GOP isn’t going to win significant numbers of Hispanic voters unless and until you stop demonizing them.

Joe Mama

June 27th, 2011
4:50 pm

jewcowboy — “Hey….wait a minute. Don’t drag my lips into this…”

What, rough n’ tough sailors not your type? :D

I’d have invoked Josef, but he’s not in the room just now.

jewcowboy

June 27th, 2011
4:52 pm

Thulsa Doom,

It doesn’t make a difference. right now 10% of the population of the US lives in a state where gay marriage is legal. Soon Prop 8 will be overturned, doubling that number. When you add in states with civil unions, more than half of US allows some marriage rights to gays….time and math are not on your side. As I said, even the CEO of Focus on the Family said its inevitable…

jewcowboy

June 27th, 2011
4:54 pm

Joe Mama,

“What, rough n’ tough sailors not your type?”

Not of the Thulsa Doom variety…

Thulsa Doom

June 27th, 2011
4:54 pm

Joe Mama,

Otay. I chuckled. I’m gonna get outta here.

Jewcowboy,

In all seriousness I do oppose gay marriage on religious grounds only. Otherwise on a purely civil basis I don’t care if gays ever get marriage approved. Its really more of an nonissue to me and if it ever does get approved then good for you and Josef. I was just messin with you guys today. It wouldn’t affect my way of life.

My ONLY reason for opposition to it is that in my personal religious beliefs I believe we would lose the Lord’s blessing if we did indeed adopt something which I believe the Lord is adamantly opposed to. You’re not going to change my opinion on that issue. Its not bigotry- its just what I believe that the bible says about the topic of homosexuality. If it didn’t say it what it says in the bible regarding homosexuality then I’ld be all for you guys having the right to marriage. And please consider that there are tons of people just like me who oppose gay marriage not because they hate gays but because they firmly believe it goes against God’s law. And some like myself believe that going directly against God’s law will be the ruination of this nation.

And no. I don’t hate gays. Never have. Known plenty of gays throughout my life and I liked all of them personally except for one.

Joe Mama

June 27th, 2011
5:00 pm

Doom — “You’re not going to change my opinion on that issue. Its not bigotry- its just what I believe that the bible says about the topic of homosexuality.”

I think you will find that many people on my side of the issue are fine with you having whatever opinion you want on that topic. It’s when folks on your side press for, advocate and try to enshrine discrimination *into law* that we become upset.

I don’t think that anyone thinks that a church should be *required* to sanction same-sex marriage ceremonies, though some probably will. I’m perfectly comfortable with churches keeping to themselves on this, provided there’s no civil impediment to adult couples getting married if that’s what they want. The Catholic church already forbids some individuals from marrying in their church (example — a Catholic who was married in the church and who obtained a civil divorce from his/her spouse), so there’s precedent for that.

I suspect that we may move towards a more European model (some countries have this) where everyone has a brief civil ceremony (that’s how my wife and I tied the knot, since we are atheists) and then can have a more formal church ceremony at a later date, if that’s what they want and the church sanctions their union.

Mel

June 27th, 2011
5:03 pm

Thulsa Doom, if you oppose gay marriage on religious grounds, then don’t marry a gay person.

midtownguy

June 27th, 2011
5:05 pm

Sexual orientation, and by extension gay marriage, are a non-issue to the overwhelming majority of the under 30 group regardless of the religious beliefs of their parents. It’s just a matter of time.

midtownguy

June 27th, 2011
5:10 pm

I have known plenty of fundamentalist christians throughout my life and I have like all of them personally…….except for one .

TruthBe

June 27th, 2011
5:16 pm

jewcowboy, go to hell.

Joe Mama

June 27th, 2011
5:18 pm

TruthBe, it’s *your* hell, so YOU go there.

TruthBe

June 27th, 2011
5:31 pm

Joe Mama, God will be glorified. I have noticed that MOST of you liberals, obama juice drinkers, and perverted gays don’t believe in GOD. That’s whats wrong with you. maybe you should ask for some help? Any near by house of worship has people to help you just ask . I pray for you all.

Mel

June 27th, 2011
5:33 pm

Um, somebody’s got issues.

midtownguy

June 27th, 2011
5:38 pm

TruthBe, I go to church every Sunday. My partner teaches a Sunday School class for pre-teens. We are both actively involved in all aspects of our church life. Do not equate “believing in God” with being a fundamentalist christian. A great many mainstream congregations welcome gay couples with open arms. We glorify God at every opportunity. We are praying for you as well.

And speaking of the Obama’s, I believe his beautiful family is the almost perfect example of what a good Christian family should be like.

Mel

June 27th, 2011
5:40 pm

And TruthBe is a perfect example of a bad Christian.

TruthBe

June 27th, 2011
6:12 pm

midtownguy, Thank you for your prayers, Obama isn’t a Christian he’s a muslim. Facts are Facts.
Mel, I will pray for you as well. I’m sorry if I have upset you but the truth is the truth.
GOD Bless all of you.

Mel

June 27th, 2011
6:19 pm

LOL, you’ve *hardly* upset me. I just feel sympathy for you since you seem to be so upset about everything. I promise, we won’t make you marry a gay person.

Joe Mama

June 27th, 2011
6:34 pm

TruthBe — “Joe Mama, God will be glorified.”

You are welcome to believe whatever you want and conduct your life according to whatever principles you wish. And I am free to do otherwise. Isn’t freedom WONDERFUL? :D

“I have noticed that MOST of you liberals, obama juice drinkers, and perverted gays don’t believe in GOD.”

I didn’t believe in your god when I was voting Republican for the first 20-odd years of my adult life; what about that? There are plenty of atheist Republicans running around; we’re even on Free Republic being all non-believery and stuff. Doesn’t that just make your skin crawl? XD

“That’s whats wrong with you. maybe you should ask for some help?”

Help with what? I don’t need any help with anything. Maybe you should try decaf; it might help you tone down that whole go-to-hell thing.

“Any near by house of worship has people to help you just ask.”

There’s a Hindu temple near my house. And I bet I could find a Buddhist hongwanji if I looked hard enough. How about those?

“I pray for you all.”

I sincerely wish you enjoyment and fulfillment as you practice your religious rite. :D

buck@gon

June 27th, 2011
8:48 pm

The claim that marriage is better because it is not marriage is just like saying that baseball is better now because cows play it.

Vast Right Wing Conspiracy

June 27th, 2011
9:44 pm

Next on the scene will be the polygamists (I believe they have already filed suit), then the pedophiles, then the folks that think highly of their labrador retriever, and so on, and so on. Sin knows no limits. Your Orwellian headline notwithstanding, the liberal train wreck rolls on.

Joel Edge

June 28th, 2011
6:01 am

“the New York bill contains explicit protections to ensure that religious organizations cannot be forced to recognize gay marriage or be forced to host marriages, receptions or similar ceremonies. While such protections are probably unnecessary”

Necessary, but will soon be challenged. Unlike a lot of people, Jay, I seem to remember when the gay activist chant was about not wanting marriage, but civil unions to protect their rights. That didn’t last long. BTW, I haven’t seen any articles about throngs of gays eagerly waiting to join the military service since DADT is going under. Maybe it wasn’t about serving their country?

[...] Institution of marriage gathers strength in NY | Jay Bookman. Share this:EmailFacebookRedditDiggPrint Posted in Opinion – Tagged american spectator, attempt, brutal repression, Care, Divorce, false sense of freedom, family, institution of marriage, Jay Bookman, kathryn jean lopez, marriage rates, new york senate, percent, purpose, raising, rate, rich lowry, Senate, today, wedlock births SHARE THIS Twitter Facebook Delicious StumbleUpon E-mail « Google Introduces Facebook Competitor, Emphasizing Privacy – NYTimes.com No Comments Yet [...]