One of the favorite arguments of libertarians and liberals alike when it comes to the debate over redefining the institution of marriage is that when two consenting adults pledge their lives to each other it does not affect anyone else. The assertion that government recognition of same-sex marriage for someone else does not diminish your marriage is repeated incessantly, but repetition of a lie does not make it true. Indeed, the debate is far from settled, but the LGBT movement is already showing us what the world will look like if they prevail, and from all the evidence available, it will affect you personally in several different ways, even if you’re not gay and even if you’re not married:
1) Freedom to Worship
In 2012, the legislature of Denmark passed a law requiring churches in that country to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies. Last year, a gay couple in Britain announced they were suing the Church of England even though the recently passed law there was drafted with strong religious freedom protections. If they win their legal battle, England will join Denmark in requiring state-sponsored churches to endorse same-sex marriage. In America, the limits of the First Amendment are already being put to the test as gay and lesbian activists take the Catholic Church to court for upholding longstanding teachings on chastity and morality for employees. If marriage is redefined by the courts, these lawsuits will only multiply. How long will it be before your diocese is bankrupted by mounting legal bills?
2) Freedom of Conscience
With ObamaCare, we have already seen a hostile government aggressively force religious organizations to violate their beliefs regarding abortion-inducing drugs and sterilization procedures, most infamously the Little Sisters of the Poor. The same tactic now poses a very real threat to any religious organization that seeks government grants under the Obama Administration’s new policy barring federal contractors who uphold the traditional definition of marriage from receiving taxpayer dollars. There is no religious exemption in the new regulation. Many religious organizations which serve the poor and vulnerable must now violate their conscience, scale back their operations, or shut down entirely. There is also the looming threat of IRS inquisitors monitoring sermons for political themes. When government agents harass and punish churches that defend marriage, will your parish be the next to close its doors?
3) Free Speech
The well-publicized case of Brendan Eich is only one example of the chilling effect that gay marriage has on free speech. This past weekend, an angry mob of LGBT protesters gathered below a billboard in Ohio advocating holy matrimony as one man and one woman. A gay rights leader in Columbus summarized his view of free speech rights saying, “This is not OK.” That is, free speech is not “OK” if it offends LGBT activists. Fortunately in this case, the billboard company respected the anonymity of the person or organization that paid for the sign, but others have not been so lucky. Earlier this year, CatholicVote.org reported on the mob of LGBT activists that surrounded a pro-marriage campaign office in New Mexico. Supporters of marriage make their case in good faith and with goodwill but are met with tiresome catcalls of “hate” and “bigotry.” We seek free and open debate, but will the First Amendment protect your right to free speech when the demagogues roar and the bricks start flying?
4) Freedom of Assembly
This spring, the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Boston was the subject of a bullying campaign by LGBT groups who wanted to crash the party sponsored by numerous local Catholic organizations in honor of Ireland’s patron saint. Meanwhile, in New York, parade organizers have succumbed to similar bullying efforts and a boycott by the Guinness Company. The threat of a counter-boycott by Catholic schools in Boston saved the parade in “Southie” from becoming a completely secular drunken spectacle and it remains to be seen whether the same will happen in New York. When will you be blocked from participating in a public event that does not include a strong endorsement of the LGBT movement?
5) Property Rights
Entrepreneurs who support the traditional definition of marriage have been hit early and hard by the LGBT assault on individual rights. In April, a baker in Colorado was ordered by “civil rights” commissars to produce cakes for lesbian couples and participate in state-sponsored sensitivity re-education training. A husband and wife photography business in New Mexico exhausted the final avenue of appeal when the Supreme Court denied to hear their case in July. A Catholic couple in New York was fined $13,000 for refusing to allow their property to be used for a religious ceremony between two lesbians, even though they were generously willing to host the reception and had not objected to same-sex civil unions in the past. When will your property be seized or commandeered against your wishes?
This is not a slippery slope fallacy. This is not scare-mongering. This is not hate speech. These are stories straight from the news. This is the world as it is today. These are your rights and they are being attacked this very minute. Silence, anonymity, ambivalence, and apathy may protect you for a while, but if you believe marriage is the indissoluble and exclusive union of one man and one woman–even if only in the most secret depths of your heart–you will be discovered and you will be next. If we do not stand up to defend marriage now, who will defend us in the days to come?