Maryland's Civil Marriage Protection Act is profoundly misnamed. In fact, it should more accurately be called the Attack on Religious Freedom Enabling Act.
That's because this is about more than the feelings of any two people. When you declare a couple "married," with the force of the law behind it, you bring everyone into it.
A brideless or groomless couple is not merely an addition to the marriage definition; it violates the very essence of marriage by excluding one or the other complementary sex.
We hear a lot of people falsely comparing this to the fight for racial equality. But one's skin color or ethnicity have no intrinsic moral content, so discriminating upon that basis was wrong then, and it's wrong now. But sexual behavior always has moral and social implications because it is volitional. Just because we have temptations to do something, that does not make it right.
Marriage is honored and protected in secular law only because it is indispensable to civilization. It gives us the best chance to continue the human race by producing well-adjusted children who can take up the responsibilities of the next generation.
Marriage over the millenniums on all continents has meant the uniting of male and female. Customs have varied, but sex is universally channeled into marriage to protect children and families - the lifeblood of communities. Where marriage is weak, devalued or redefined, communities fail.
Whatever the expressed good intentions behind the same-sex "marriage" legislation, creating a counterfeit and then forcing it down people's throats is straight out of George Orwell's Newspeak in "1984." Compassionate motives cannot mask the inevitable bad outcomes of a bad law.
To enforce this direct assault on common sense and God's main building block of civilization requires all sorts of tyranny:
- Institutions are denied funds.
- People are denied jobs.
- Firings occur.
- Academics face star chambers (that is, additional star chambers).
- Governments at all levels turn against pastors, churchgoers, observant Jews, Muslims and others who value truth above political correctness.
- Dissent is crushed, often by omission or outright censorship.
Just recently, we have seen the federal Department of Health and Human Services trample the religious freedom of Catholic hospitals by ordering them to dispense contraceptives despite the church's moral opposition. If they think this is a bridge too far, wait until same-sex "marriage" is imposed and bureaucrats begin to flex their enforcement muscles.
Georgetown University law professor Chai R. Feldblum, whom President Obama appointed to serve on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, is one of the more honest homosexual activists. Ms. Feldblum writes that when it comes to civil rights, "we are in a zero-sum game: A gain for one side necessarily entails a corresponding loss for the other side."
I once asked Ms. Feldblum at a seminar if it bothered her that a Christian club would be thrown off a college campus for not having homosexual leaders or others who reject basic Christian doctrine. She shrugged, smiled and said, "Gays win, Christians lose." I did admire her candor.
As an example of the legal vise about to close around Christian businesses, Ms. Feldblum has warned that bed-and-breakfast owners would not be free to deny rooms to homosexual couples (or to unmarried couples) regardless of the owners' belief that they would be aiding and abetting what their faith teaches is sin.
Although Gov. Martin O'Malley and other proponents of the same-sex "marriage" law tout exemptions for religious institutions, the bill offers no defense for devout employees or those who run businesses, and exemptions can always be overturned later.
Besides, if something is so immoral that it should not be forced on churches or church-run businesses, why is it OK to force it on everyone else? This is not like tax policy, in which the state (Caesar) realizes the limits of its earthly authority and church property is simply off limits. There is nothing immoral per se in levying a general tax; there is something profoundly immoral, however, in forcing people to violate their consciences, which the creation of same-sex "marriage" does in many ways.
In Boston and the District of Columbia, homosexual "marriage" drove Catholic Charities, the largest provider of homes for orphans, out of the adoption business. Massachusetts schools now teach kindergartners through picture books that two men can constitute a marriage. A father who objected and refused to leave his child's school unless he was assured that the child would not be propagandized without parental notification was jailed. He sued but lost in the Massachusetts court system. Orphans, kindergartners and protective fathers, it seems, are just collateral damage to social engineers.
Last year, when this bill came up, Maryland lawmakers got an earful from many church leaders and members who grasped the dangers of something so fundamentally immoral being imposed by law. What was billed as a harmless extension of tolerance, they realized, would become a battering ram against faith-based morality. The dangers are just as severe now.
I urge legislators to consider that the drive to legally impose same-sex "marriage" is neither inevitable nor irreversible despite the media's blatantly biased treatment of this issue.
However, should Maryland take this step, the damage to freedom - particularly religious freedom - could be incalculable.
Robert Knight is a drafter of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, a senior fellow at the American Civil Rights Union and a columnist for The Washington Times.