Ross Douthat, a New York Times columnist, wrote an article exploring the impact of gay marriage on the marriage culture. One thing people on both sides of the marriage debate can agree on is that the surge of gay marriage will change our culture's understanding of marriage. Douthat highlights three possible directions marriage will go.
Some argue that gay marriage will be good for gays in the sense that it will promote stable, monogamous relationships in the gay community. Gay commitment to marriage will, in turn, strengthen marriage as a whole, as being a stable and enduring institution. An author who has written on this subject predicts that same-sex marriages will strengthen “marriage’s standard for committed relationships” across all society.
A somewhat different prediction is that gay marriage will “partially transform marriage from within.” Most noteworthy is the change in marriage sexual mores, away from sexual monogamy toward sanctioned infidelity. One gay activist hopes that same-sex marriage will end up redefining marriage “simply as a pact of mutual love and care” wherein gay and straight married couples are free to negotiate occasional sexual encounters outside the bonds of marriage.
The final prediction is the direst. There are some activists “who hope that gay marriage will knock marriage off its cultural pedestal altogether.” They want to abolish marriage as a “gold standard” for committed relationships. They hope to achieve this objective by having same-sex couples who have no intent on honoring marriage vows get married. They want to weaken marriage by denigrating it. They don’t want marriage. They want marriage to go away.
With regard to the first prediction, we do not need gay marriage to strengthen the institution of marriage, and I doubt that same-sex marriage would ever accomplish such a thing. If the gay community wants to strengthen marriage it could support traditional marriage as being between a man and woman and stop pushing for a redefinition. To their credit, some gay people are doing this. The traditional concept of marriage isn’t broken, so let’s not try to fix it.
The second prediction is very troublesome. It wants to redefine acceptable sexual relations within the bonds of marriage. Sanctioned infidelity would end up destroying marriage because it would eliminate a core component of marriage, namely sexual commitment to one person. Take out monogamy and marriage becomes little more than a relationship driven by economic and sexual convenience.
The final prediction involves complete obliteration of marriage. Activists who take this position see marriage as promoting emotional and sexual fidelity that is antithetical to their vision of a free-for-all, sexual anarchy. They cannot live in long term, committed relationships themselves so they want to eliminate anything that promotes fidelity as the norm. They want infidelity and promiscuity to be the norm. The only way to achieve this is goal is to tear down the current norm.
Clearly we are facing forces that will, if they get their way, lead to the disintegration of marriage and the traditional family. Such changes will have dire consequences. The Proclamation warns that “the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.” I hope this doesn't happen, but it seems that as a society, we are headed in that direction.