Kathy Shaidle
The Interim

During the same-sex “marriage” debate, Canadian Senator Marilyn Trenholme Counsell declared that Jesus Christ would have joined her in voting for the controversial legislation.

Not likely.

Chrétien would never have appointed Him.

The senator (that rarest of creatures – a convert to Anglicanism) quoted a bumper sticker (“What would Jesus do?”) rather than Scripture to bolster her case. When Christians argue with each other about same-sex “marriage,” “duelling Bible verses” are normally their weapons of choice. When they take their concerns into the secular world, however, they may be rhetorically ill-prepared. Appeals to the Old and New Testaments mean little to audiences who presume Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife.

The Future of Family Law report just released by the Council on Family Law (an “independent, non-partisan” organization) provides valuable insights into the secular mindset, particularly current thinking in the legal community. Author Dan Cerc of McGill University analyzes two recent reports by legal scholars that have influenced gay “marriage” proponents. For opponents of same-sex “marriage” who want to engage the other side on its own terms, The Future of Family Law is a must-read.

Cerc contends that both reports “have potentially profound and far-reaching consequences for social attitudes and practices concerning marriage, parenthood and children.”

The American Law Institute published the most recent report, Principles of the Law of Family Dissolution, in 2002. The other is, Beyond Conjugality: Recognizing and Supporting Close Personal Adult Relationships, published in 2001 by the Law Commission of Canada.

Cere’s analysis of these two reports indicates that: “Family law today appears to be embracing a big new idea. The idea is that marriage is only a close personal relationship between adults and no longer a pro-child social institution. This idea is fundamentally flawed. It will hurt children and weaken our civil society.”

Not every married couple has or wants children, to be sure. Yet, Cere insists, “At its core, marriage has always had something to do with society’s recognition of the fundamental importance of the sexual ecology of human life: humanity is male and female, men and women often have sex, babies often result, and those babies, on average, seem to do better when their mother and father co-operate in their care. Conjugal marriage attempts to sustain enduring bonds between women and men in order to give a baby its mother and father, to bond them to one another and to the baby.

“Of course, marriage always has, and still does, many other important things. It protects and supports the man and woman as they grow older and provides sexual pleasure and comfort, even when children do not result. It also helps to organize property, inheritance and more. But … if human beings did not reproduce sexually, creating human infants with their long period of dependency, marriage would not be the virtually universal human social institution that it is.”

The ALI report, as well as Beyond Conjugality, display the influence of “close relationship theory,” which became prominent in academic and legal circles in the 1980s. This school of thought posited marriage as being merely “a private relationship between two people, the primary purpose of which is to satisfy the adults who enter it.”

“The problem with close relationship theory,” writes Cere, “is that it is fine-tuned to discover exactly what it predicts; namely, that unmarried same-sex and opposite-sex couples reveal the same patterns of interpersonal intimacy evident in married couples.”

Of course, “intimacy” is just one aspect of marriage (and how does one measure such a thing, anyway?). When researchers intentionally restrict their criteria to a single factor, can their results really be taken seriously? Is Citizen Kane the artistic equivalent of Chopper Chicks in Zombie Town, just because both are extremely long strips of sprocketed celluloid?

Gay “marriage” proponents publicly scoff at their opponents’ “slippery slope” arguments. Amongst themselves, their views on “incrementalism” – the case-by-case erosion of traditional marriage laws – are telling.

The Future of Family Law report cites William Eskridge, a Yale law professor and “prominent architect of same-sex ‘marriage’ strategy.” For strategic reasons, Eskridge “advises against any direct push for legal redefinition of marriage. He writes that a main benefit of incrementalism is that it leaves resulting changes largely immune from direct public criticism and debate.”

In other words, we poor, benighted average folks won’t realize what’s happening until it’s too late.

Yet, academics like Eskridge haven’t considered all the implications of their theories, either.

According to Cere, these radical proposals “attribute a great deal of intention and self-awareness to choices that adults often make, without thinking them through a great deal.” Suppose we declare cohabitation to be the exact legal equivalent of marriage. This “runs roughshod over the long-established principle that marriage requires consent. Cohabiters are now to be locked by government into a marital regime whether they like it or not.

“Surely some adults would be aghast to think that, simply by living with a child’s parent, the law might someday require them to take on financial or other responsibilities for the child, even if they were no longer involved with the child’s parent.”

The Future of Family Law takes such “progressive” proposals to their logical conclusions, with disturbing results.

But so far, no one has answered the all-important question: if marriage is now a “right,” shouldn’t divorce be illegal?