The dangers of temporizing with passion

Temporize (verb): To act evasively in order to gain time, avoid argument, or postpone a decision. Washington Post, November 14: "The backlash against those who supported a ban on same-sex marriage continues to roil California and nearby states. Protests and vandalism of churches, boycotts of businesses and possibly related mailings of envelopes filled with white powder have followed the passage of Proposition 8, the ballot initiative to amend the state constitution to ban same-sex marriages."

Surely readers are familiar with many of the details of the lengthy Post article. The "gay" backlash against the popular will shows no signs of abating. For no matter how much we compromise with the homosexual lobby, it will not be satisfied with anything less than our full moral blessing.

We are in this mess today because we were willing to temporize with a passion that admits of no moderation. This error has its roots in the sexual revolution that hit with full force in the 1960s. The central idea was, "if it feels good, do it." The plain truth is that all manner of things which don’t feel good or are downright repulsive to most people, feel good to others.

Given society’s then generally heterosexual point of view, what felt good at first was the pleasure of sexual intercourse with members of the opposite sex. However, those who accept the pleasure principle have no real quarrel with those who derive pleasure from members of the same sex. "Hey, man, if that’s your thing, go ahead."

The first victim of the sexual revolution, of course, was marriages, strained by men and women trying to "find themselves," or to regain the pleasure that somehow had gone out of their marriages. Accompanying but also enabling the sexual revolution was the invention of the birth control pill, which made it possible to avoid pregnancy, the primary argument against sex outside of marriage.

Just as the sexual revolution unhinged relations between the sexes, so did it change the practice of homosexuality. Previously the province of "intellectuals" in rebellion against the allegedly confining mores of bourgeois society, homosexuality became more popular and, hence, more vulgar. The broader public’s impression of that practice soon became dominated by news of bathhouse orgies and the spread of the HIV-AIDS virus.

Along the way, the personal became the political. If these liberated urges were to be freed from social or political limitations, their practitioners needed to organize and to importune friendly politicians to make speeches and pass laws on their behalf.

Governor Jerry Moonbeam Brown of California (1975-83) persuaded the legislature to remove laws against the practice of sodomy, one of those "blue laws" which were honored more in the breach than in the observance anyway.

When the AIDS crisis developed in the early 1980s, elite opinion was already poised to ignore the overwhelming evidence linking homosexuals’ reckless behavior to the disease and to maintain the fiction that it was as likely to spread by heterosexual contact as it was by homosexual means.

Having for all practical purposes put homosexuality on the same moral footing as love between the sexes, it was but a small step to the establishment of civil unions. Knowing that the vast majority of Americans understood marriage to be the union of a man and a woman, the advocates of "domestic partnerships" paused at a halfway house that was marriage in all but name.

I am convinced that civil unions were designed to prepare the public mind for what it could not accept back in 2000, when Californians voted overwhelmingly to preserve marriage, just as all of mankind had understood it for millennia. But then along came, first, the Massachusetts, then the California and Connecticut supreme courts, to decree that the "right" of same-sex marriage was entitled to the equal protection of the laws. Anything less would be unfair to this oppressed minority.

In short, the path to the present state in which angry mobs (and zealous lawyers) demand what no society in its right mind has any reason to grant, began with the intellectual and moral errors that characterized the sexual revolution. Nothing less than revisiting and rethinking those errors will suffice to avoid a chaotic future for us and our children.

He who says A must say B. If we have a right to do "whatever turns us on," there is no objection to same-sex marriage. If, on the other hand, same-sex marriage is wrong, its premise must be also.