Anderson has pulled of a great trick with Truth Overruled: He's written a book that should be of interest not just to proponents of traditional marriage, but to the people who have advocated for redefining marriage, too. That's because what he does is distill, in an even-handed and philosophical manner, exactly what the arguments are for traditional marriage and what the costs to society are likely to be from redefinition.
Truth Overruled is so pithy and lean that I could quote the entire thing back at you. But I want to focus on two of Anderson's larger points.
The first is that when it comes to marriage, you can either have the traditional standard, or no standards, for defining the institution.
Marriage is, as Anderson explains, a human institution which predates the state. Why did it form? In order to make men and women responsible to one another, and to maximize the outcomes for both the adults and any children which result from their union. As such, "Marriage is society's least-restrictive means of ensuring the well-being of children."
The people who want to transform marriage to include same-sex relationships have, whether they know it or not, not just a practical goal, but a philosophical one, too: They want, as Anderson puts it, to turn marriage into "an instrument for gratifying the emotions of adults." (This is not, I think, a redefinition that most same-sex marriage proponents would object to.)
The problem is that when you shift the institution's purpose, you then change the institution. And this isn't the first time we've confronted this movement. Here's Anderson:
The same argument was made during the no-fault divorce debate. No-fault divorce was for the relatively small number of people suffering in unhappy marriages and would be irrelevant for everyone else. But the change in the law changed everyone's expectations of marital permanence. The breakdown of the marriage culture that followed made it possible in our generation to consider removing sexual complementarity from the legal definition of marriage. And that redefinition may lead to further redefinition.
In short: Once you move away from the original purpose and definition of marriage, you enter a world in which the institution is infinitely plastic. Which means that if you support same-sex marriage today, you need to be comfortable with whatever marriage will be defined as tomorrow. And there will be future redefinitions.
Furthermore, you need to be comfortable with the trade-offs you're making.
What people often fail to understand is that rights are in constant tension with one another. Expanding one set of "rights" and "freedoms" comes with a cost. Anderson sees four them, right off the top:
Law teaches. It shapes ideas, which shape what people do. A radical change in the law of marriage will have at least four harmful consequences that we can foresee. The needs and rights of children will be subordinated to the desires of adults. The marital norms of monogamy, exclusivity, and permanence will be weakened. Unborn children will be put at even more risk than they already are. And religious liberty-Americans' "first freedom"-will be threatened.
It's this last threat-to religious freedom-which occupies a great deal of thought in Truth Overruled, because it is the most immediate consequence of the Supreme Court's Obergefell decision.
With marriage now redefined, we can expect to see the marginalization of those with traditional views and the erosion of religious liberty. The law and culture will seek to eradicate such views through economic, social, and legal pressure. With marriage redefined, believing what virtually every human society once believed about marriage will increasingly be deemed a malicious prejudice to be driven to the margins of culture.
"They have good days and bad days, but I will tell you they are resolute,” attorney Herb Grey says of his clients, Aaron and Melissa Klein, two bakers from Portland who are facing a $135,000 fine from the state of Oregon for refusing to bake a cake for a lesbian commitment ceremony in January 2013. “They know that today it’s them, but that there’s nothing they can do to escape from it, and they’re willing to stand up, knowing what the potential implications are for other people.”
In April, an administrative judge with the Oregon Department of Labor ordered Aaron and Melissa Klein, the owners of the now shuttered bakery Sweet Cakes by Melissa, to pay a fine of $135,000 for refusing to bake a cake for a lesbian couple's wedding. While there's a case the couple violated the state's public accommodation laws, there's little doubt that the fine was excessive and the reasoning for it specious.
June, for conservatives, has been of late the “cruelest month” at the Supreme Court, as the decisions finally roll forth. Many expect—with a combination of apprehension and resignation—that in the critical case of Obergefell v. Hodges, Justice Anthony Kennedy will furnish the fifth vote for installing same-sex marriage as a constitutional right.
Over the last few years, the gay marriage movement has transformed from "equality for all" to "bake me a cake." As it picks up steam, the movement looks more and more totalitarian, both at home and abroad.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the controversial Muslim-turned-atheist, told a National Press Club audience last week some hard facts about Islam and its propensity toward violence. But her remarks about Christianity—about its capacity to soften sectarian hatreds—may prove an even tougher pill to swallow.
Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal talked about religious liberty on NBC's Meet the Press this morning:
"Well let me ask you this," Todd said. "Do you agree with some other folks and conservatives that you think Governor Pence and Governor Hutchinson in Arkansas and Indiana have essentially caved too much pressure?"
On the topic of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the contraceptive mandate case decided on the last day of the recent Supreme Court term, the Democrats are fighting mad. They don’t like the decision. No, they despise it. Indeed, their rhetoric on Hobby Lobby has become so misleading, even strange, that the fact checkers at the Washington Post have felt compelled to call them to task, reminding the Democrats, among other things, that the decision does not outlaw contraceptives, and it does not allow bosses to prevent women from seeking birth control.
Yesterday, Senator Barbara Boxer had an op-ed at the Huffington Post about, among other related issues, the nonexistant threat that women will be denied birth control to treat medical conditions as a result of the Hobby Lobby decision. I personally know someone who works for a religious organization that doesn't cover contraception, but is nonetheless on the pill for a medical condition and gets it covered.
Senator Ted Cruz has organized an effort to urge President Barack Obama to help free Pastor Saeed Abedini, an American pastor imprisoned in Iran.
“The President of the United States is in a unique position to focus international attention on the unjust and abusive detention of one of our citizens,” Cruz says in a press release. “There might also be an opportunity for administration officials participating in nuclear negotiations in Geneva this week to raise the issue directly with their Iranian counterparts. Time is of the essence given Pastor Saeed's current predicament.”
On August 22, the New Mexico supreme court unanimously ruled that a wedding photographer broke the law by refusing to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony. While gay rights advocates are celebrating this latest in a string of legal and political victories, the outcome of Elane Photography v. Vanessa Willock has alarmed religious liberty advocates. And it could end up having a profound influence on First Amendment jurisprudence.
In Sioux City, Iowa, a local pastor is asking for the removal of a newly appointed member of the city's human rights commission. The city council appointed Scott Raasch to the commission, which adjudicates discrimination complaints, on July 8. However, the Rev.
Obamacare won’t just ruin health care. It is also a cultural bulldozer. Before the law is even fully in effect, Health and Human Services bureaucrats have begun wielding their sweeping new powers to assault freedom of religion in the name of their preferred social order.