Maybe it is the torpor of summer – but it is hard to focus and write these words. On June 26, the Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional the portion of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that barred the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages in states where they were legal. And, by declining to decide a case from California, the Court effectively allowed same-sex marriages there.
One hears the words of Jesus:
“But to what shall I liken this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their companions, and saying:
‘We played the flute for you,
And you did not dance;
We mourned to you,
And you did not lament.’
For supporters of gay marriage, the Supreme Court decision has irrevocably changed the cultural landscape regarding acceptance of homosexuality. But the state-by-state slog and the cultural wars continue, with further collateral damage yet ahead.
Even though I have stated that the Bible should be left out of the gay marriage debate, there is nonetheless a profound sense of foreboding. Looking back through history, there are few if any examples of nations that accepted gay marriage as on a par with heterosexual relationships.
The Romans were widely noted for diverse sexual proclivities. One emperor known for his bisexual behavior, Julius Caesar was described as “every woman’s man and every man’s woman.” And Emperor Nero was said to have engaged in same sex marriages. However, marriage between two persons of the same sex had no legal standing.
In the modern era, the first country to legalize same sex marriage was Denmark in 1989. In the space of less than a generation, nation after nation and state after state have moved to radically altered the course of what has been considered acceptable versus discouraged human behavior. With virtually no thought as to the long-term consequences for civilization.
Yes, heterosexual relationships are no longer the only means of propagating the human species. Technology has trumped cultural taboos. It’s a bit like genetic modification – whether for super-crops or prevention of human maladies. Where do we go from here? At what point, does the earth’s ecosystem go pathogenic?
We hear the flutist; but there is no motivation to dance. And who will be the dance partner?
At the same time, those of us (like me) who might profess to be in mourning are actually hard pressed to seriously lament. For those religious sorts who think a deity really prefers heterosexuality as the norm – as God’s plan – is this about defeat or about raising the ante? If male-female is really what God intended, shouldn’t our marriages be healthier and our resulting offspring all above average? Shouldn’t this be the norm to which everyone aspires?
The cultural heterosexual monopoly of multiple millennia has bred sloth and a millennia-long legacy of marital dysfunction. The destruction of the marriage monopoly means that its advocates must now truly compete in the marketplace of multiple relationship options. And yes, we certainly can expect the door to widen to an ever increasing array of sexual options.
If marriage is to prove itself in the marketplace, it’s time to re-discover and then sell the sizzle. Heterosexual divorce should become the exception rather than the rule. Prove up to sustainable families across all racial, social and economic strata. Demonstrate that being gay and artistic are not necessarily synonymous.
If marriage has no more market advantage than Chevy over Ford, let’s get ready for the next step in the evolutionary adventure. Where sex is all about whatever feels good in the moment – as long as my neighbor isn’t directly affected or doesn’t care what’s taking place on my side of the fence.
For those of us who believe that heterosexuality really is the norm, the proven alternative, the demonstrated path to lifelong happiness, now is the time to strut our stuff. Time for heterosexuals to come out of the closet.
We hear the flute. No time to dance when millennia-long sexual taboos get swept aside with little to no thought about what comes next.
And we hear mourning. But how can the spirit truly lament as we soar to new heights of human potential?
What’s a follower of Jesus’ kingdom to do? We say “bring it on.” We Christians may be a diverse, contentious lot – but only we lay claim to both the love and the justice of the heavenly kingdom – all in the same breath.