A Terrible Lie about Marriage

Yesterday, Their Imperial Majesties the Omnipotent Platonic Guardians of Justice and Niceness, er, I mean the Iowa Supreme Court, legalized same-sex “marriage” in the Hawkeye State.

There are many reasons to deplore this ruling. The court basically treated the Iowa Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause as a moving target, with a meaning that changes over time, and which only judges can discern. It flouted the clearly-expressed will of the people of that state, overturning a duly-enacted law that was passed by the Iowa Legislature and signed by the Governor.

But in many ways those objections are beside the point. The real tragedy of this ruling is the terrible lie that underlies it. This lie was expressed in footnote 26 of the court’s opinion, but it’s no less important for being hidden in a footnote:

The traditional notion that children need a mother and a father to be raised into healthy, well-adjusted adults is based more on stereotype than anything else.”

Think about that for a moment, and let it sink in. The august majesties of the court are saying that everything you and I know, everything our ancestors knew, everything that every culture has ever known about marriage and parenthood and children is just a stereotype, with no basis in fact. They’re saying that it’s all a myth.

This, despite all the social science research you can find in the works of secular scholars, like David Blankenhorn, David Popenoe, Brad Wilcox, and others. For a look at this research, check out the website of the Institute for American Values or the writings of Maggie Gallagher.

You don’t even have to do that. Think of your own life, and the lives of those around you. I look back on my childhood and I can see very clearly the importance of my dad and mom in my life. They were just regular “well-adjusted” people, living ordinary lives, but they loved me and my brother and they sacrificed for us. And it made all the difference in the world. I can also recall the lives of my friends who were not so lucky with their parents, and the struggles that they all had to endure.

This is not a stereotype — it’s the clear lesson of human experience. And it’s a lie to say otherwise, a lie that will bear terrible fruit in the weakening of marriage as an institution, and in threats to the liberty of individuals and institutions that disagree.

The prophet Isaiah said,

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil,
who put darkness for light and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
and shrewd in their own sight! (5:20-21)

Too bad the Iowa Supreme Court wasn’t listening.

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