The past few weeks has seen a flurry of activity in the area of same-sex marriage. Specifically, the Supreme Court of California ruled that same-sex couples should have equal protection rights under the California Constitution to marry, and have instructed the state to do so starting in the middle of June.
Some Californians are seeking a stay of the ruling pending a vote on a Constitutional Amendment in November, the outcome of which would overrule the Supreme Court if it were passed. According to CBS Radio News, polls in the area support same-sex marriage 51 to 43.
Following suit, the newest announcement is that the new governor of New York has instructed its offices to recognize out of state and out of country same-sex marriages. New York’s Supreme Court stated sometime last year that while the state could not perform same sex marriages, it could recognize them.
What I believe this illustrates is a point I was trying to make some time earlier in discussions about Atheism and the need for a Moral foundation. It’s also why I don’t believe that America is truly a Christian nation any more.
What determines whether a given thing is right or wrong? In high school, if you wore green on Thursdays (I think it was green?), then it meant something about you. I’m wearing orange, is that right or wrong?
Morality is derived from a standard– fluid or fixed depends on what you believe. Same-sex marriage makes it abundantly clear that many base their morality on a fluid model.
Wind back the clock 100 years or more and homosexuality was considered a mental illness. Now, an act is considered a civil right, and given equivalence with heterosexuality. What was once wrong has become right.
What will be the next thing that goes through this transformation?
Right now, the “last frontier” seems to be when it comes to children, or polygamy– but even as we speak there are many television programs and specials highlighting polygamy, talking about its positive sides, and even doing some degree of promotion.
We know that Muslims do not have a problem with polygamy– their Koran allows up to 4 wives. Fundamental Mormonism believes it’s the pathway to God. Who are we to say that in the next 25 years that polygamy will not found to be something that people are born with, that they have a right to?
I’m not trying to scare you with a slippery slope, I’m trying to look at the philosophy and logic behind what’s going on. George Washington once said that our Constitution would only work for a moral people– he meant a fixed morality. The problem is that we no longer have a fixed morality, we have a fluid one. One that changes based on public opinion (which is malleable).
There is no philosophical or logical reason why things that we consider wrong now may not become right and vice versa. And this is the lesson to draw from what’s happening.