Why Fight For Marriage?

Public Discourse 6 February 2014
One might grant, as I argued in my last two articles, that philosophy matters in general and on marriage—and that, with the right help, it can influence culture—but still wonder whether the marriage fight is worth waging. Isn’t it lost, given political and legal trends? Isn’t it peripheral to the Christian mission anyway?

A Live Battle
The pro-life cause was doing worse in the 1970s than the marriage cause is now. We are winning the first because an earlier generation refused to give up. Why, then, give up on marriage?

Around the time of Roe v. Wade, public opinion was moving swiftly for abortion on demand. Pro-life politicians (like Ted Kennedy and Bill Clinton) were “evolving,” and pro-lifers were aging. They were accused of being anti-woman, warned of being caught on history’s bad side. And of course, the Court’s decision in Roe made substantive protections impossible for the foreseeable future.

But a few pro-life leaders were undaunted, and their intellectual and cultural work has paid off. My generation is more pro-life than my parents’, and my children’s will likely be still more.

While the spirit of the Supreme Court’s recent decision striking down DOMA’s federal definition of marriage gives liberalizing judges all the premises they need to remake state marriage laws, it doesn’t require this, as Roe required abortion on demand.
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