If you’re reading this column you likely don’t reside in the State of Denial. Nor do you expect intellectual junk food from me.
You also know that I contend that good sense isn’t common anymore. So when thinking, writing, or acting on behalf of the common good, we should think in terms of what makes good sense, not the mythical common variety.
Toward that end, I propose that the only rationale way to address the issue of ”same-sex marriage” is to define the term “marriage” using an amendment to the Constitution of the United States. I’m not proposing the language; that’s up to the lawmakers and lobbyists who prefer one definition over the other.
It’s a gross understatement to say that the same-sex marriage issue has become a major national distraction. Only enemies of state could take delight in seeing how much time, energy, and money is being spent on debating, legislating, and adjudicating it. It has divided states, communities, churches, and families. While dissension and debate is normal and generally healthy for society, on such a fundamental issue as the definition of marriage, it is neither wise or healthy to leave it unsettled longer than necessary.
Virtually every leader and every company and organization has been negatively impacted by the controversy that is now spanning generations. Since the number of people with same-sex attraction only represent an estimated 2 to 3% of the population, the degree to which this issue has been disruptive and contentious is grossly disproportionate. This is especially so since the basic human rights of same-sex couples are recognized and protected by everyone except the narrow-minded. Even the most vocal and influential moral objector to same-sex marriage, the Catholic Church of which I am a member, teaches that “persons with a homosexual inclination ‘must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.'”
Currently there are several initiatives to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, but I don’t know of a single one from those who believe it should be defined more broadly. The “progressives” should demonstrate the courage of their convictions and produce a proposed definition just as “conservative” movements have done.
The various versions should be presented to Congress under an established deadline set by the Speaker of the House and in accordance with applicable Congressional rules. Congress then could debate the merits of each before taking an up and down vote. The version that garners the most support should then be enacted into law and submitted to the states for ratification. This would be in keeping with the Constitution, and our rich and exceptional national heritage.
This approach not only makes good sense, it would also allow Congress, and by extension the entire nation, to demonstrate constitutional stewardship.
Perhaps President Obama will make this one of the topics of his Saturday radio talks, or better yet, call a joint session of Congress to implore them to take definitive action. Certainly our Noble Peace Prize winning president can see that the battle over so-called same-sex marriage has already claimed many casualties, and is causing great stress and anxiety among people of all races, creeds, and political persuasions.
Assuming you believe in the Constitution as the supreme law of the land, and society under and through the law, and are aware of how contentious the debate has been over this issue, you surely must agree that it is time to resolve this issue outside of the courts. For those on either side of the debate who are hesitant to settle the matter with an amendment, they should keep in mind that an amendment may be repealed. The 18th amendment, was repealed in just 13 years by the 21st amendment. While the subject matter is certainly different, due process transcends all of them.
Settling the matter with a Constitutional amendment would also negate the extra-constitutional role the U.S. Supreme Court has assumed. Recall that in a 5-4 decision it struck down the federal law known as the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 2013 using a highly controversial claim that it violated the Fifth Amendment’s “due process” clause. Unless they want to create a constitutional crisis, the justices are unlikely to take such action against a duly enacted amendment to the Constitution.
I recognize that some people prefer that the issue be settled in each state. They point out, correctly so, the subject is not specifically addressed in the U.S. Constitution.
The problem with this argument is that in California, our most populous state, the will of the voters was overturned by judicial activists who don’t really care about law and order if it impedes progress as they define it. Keep in mind that the voters in the Golden State did not outlaw homosexuality and other unconventional sexual lifestyles. Rather, they simply said “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”
Moreover, the same U.S. Supreme Court who struck down DOMA has refused to rule on appeals from various states who have taken steps to govern themselves on the issue. Instead of declaring all extra-constitutional federal intervention on the matter illegitimate, as they should have, the current Court decided to take the low road and dodge the issue.
We owe it to society and in particular young people to more clearly define such an important term as marriage. America, it’s time.
In his classic best-seller and thought-provoking book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, author Stephen Covey wrote, “As I conclude this book, I would like to share my personal conviction concerning what I believe to be the source of correct principles. I believe that correct principles are natural laws, and that God, the Creator and Father of us all, is the source of them, and also the source of our conscience. I believe that to the degree people live by this inspired conscience, they will grow to fulfill their natures; to the degree that they do not, they will not rise above the animal plane.” Earlier in the book, he also pointed out that “correct principles do not change… they don’t react to anything.”
Covey later referred to these as “natural principles” in another best-selling book of his, Principle-Centered Leadership. Of course, there are other types of principles, and not everyone accepts all of them. But that doesn’t change the ones rooted in natural law even if you’re an adherent to the religion of Dogmatic Deniers who believe that there is no such thing as natural law, or are an atheist who zealously contends that there is no God and all belief in Him is superstition even though you can offer no proof of this doctrine of denial.
Regardless of your religious convictions, as a matter of principle I hope we can agree that we should not waste significant amounts of time or money needlessly. Likewise I hope we can agree that protecting children from harm is praiseworthy. Having agreed on that, why not support resolving the matter of what constitutes marriage sooner than later?
As a leader in the public or private sector, expressing your personal views on this matter can help move the national dialogue forward and inspire Congress to take action. While you may become a target of those who choose to demonize people with a different opinions or principles, your courage would be admirable.
Whether you believe that marriage is the lawful union of one and one woman, or something else, I urge you to demonstrate the courage of your convictions in support of the initiative of your choice. Frankly, without such support, your personal regard for marriage and the good of society is in question.
To paraphrase Peter Drucker, management is doing things right, and leadership is doing the right things. At this pivotal point in the development of our society, let’s do the right thing and define what we mean by marriage.
Perhaps now that Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, one of the most admired companies in the world, has publicly acknowledged that he is a homosexual and “proud to be gay,” other leaders will demonstrate the courage of their convictions. This country and our noble heritage deserve nothing less than an honest, frank, and reasoned debate at the Congressional level, and prompt enactment of a law that settles the matter by the most civil and definitive means yet devised by mere mortals, the Constitutional amendment process. However, leaders who speak up and express their personal opinions and convictions should not be shown the door as was former Mozilla CEO Brandon Eich.
Tolerance should cut both ways, like a two-edged sword. When used as a butcher knife in search of justice and equality, it reveals much about those who wield it. This is to say nothing about the free speech concerns arising from such situations. People who show selective disdain for witch hunts also reveal a great deal about their character.
As for my personal view on the matter, I know and love some people who happen to be drawn to an unconventional lifestyle. However, no matter if its a homosexual or heterosexual couple who cohabitate, I do not socialize in their home. This is my way of trying not to show implicit support for the lifestyle choice, even though as a young adults I saw nothing wrong with it. This is not an act of condemnation, simply my way of avoiding uncomfortable situations based on principle. This is a good and healthy practice for anyone no matter what the situation is in which you find yourself uncomfortable based on your principles.
For that matter, sexuality should be a private matter, just as it should be for heterosexuals. There is a good and decent way to act in public and mixed company especially with young people present. This was once commonly accepted and observed. Today, it seems that some are so bored with their lives they want others to be as well. This, too, reveals alot about the revealer. This is different from matters pertaining to the sexes. For instance, having different public restrooms for Women and Men based on the biological differences between the sexes makes good sense even though their have been a few high profile cases in which it appears some people are in denial about the sagicity of such a public policy.
Nevertheless, it is clear throughout most if not all of human history that the sciences and our reasoning abilities prove that there is no more fitting union for the common good than the marriage of a man and a woman.
In light of this, and as a member of the media, I have been greatly dismayed by the inordinate and disproportionate amount of coverage afforded pro-homosexual content by the media. Seemingly, this is eclipsed only by its appetite for using click bait to capture attention when a story otherwise is without merit at the national level. As influential as the media is in our culture and society, there is little doubt in my mind as to why public opinion on so-called “gay marriage” has changed so much and so fast over the last decade across virtually every demographic.
The same holds true for the unduly favorable treatment by the education and entertainment industries toward homosexuality. Simply put, many within these industries have become advocates for homosexual rights while heedlessly denigrating and disparaging world religions. Impressionable souls, ignorant of science and the research findings of competent health professionals, are their victims —and will likely to be so for generations.
This too, reveals alot about media and entertainment professionals. It seems that the endless pursuit of novelty, as Pope Benedict XVI referred to it, regularly impairs the judgment of many within our ranks.
As a Christian, I know our Creator, through His revealed Word in the Bible, informs us that living a homosexual lifestyle is not in keeping with His grand design. Through the exercise of our free will with which He blessed us, we can either choose to believe this or not. Just like any other Revelation; the sum of which is sufficient for us to realize our full potential here on Earth, and our destiny with Him in Heaven, the Lord’s Word can be accepted or rejected.
Nevertheless, I also firmly believe that we should lovingly treat those with an unconventional sexual inclination with dignity and respect. However, society should not make accommodations that are at the expense of the common good, especially the physical, emotional, and spiritual health of young people whose present state of confusion on the matter of sexuality and marriage is a public scandal of the highest order.
— GCF —
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