Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church


George Weigel on SSM as a Civil Right

June 28th, 2011, Promulgated by Mike

One of our readers today lamented the way homosexual advocates frequently present SSM as a civil right …

It makes me absolutely ill to hear SSM being equated/part of/a continuation of the Civil Rights movement. But that is the result of our oversexualized culture – having sex with something/someone you love is your civil right?

Readers, especially Irondequoit Mom, might be interested to know that George Weigel very ably dismantled that contention yesterday …

New York State notwithstanding, the argument over marriage will and must continue, because it touches first principles of democratic governance — and because resistance to the agenda of the gay-marriage lobby is a necessary act of resistance against the dictatorship of relativism, in which coercive state power is used to impose on all of society a relativistic ethic of personal willfulness. In conducting that argument in the months and years ahead, it would be helpful if the proponents of marriage rightly understood would challenge the usurpation by the proponents of gay marriage of the civil-rights trump card.

That usurpation is at the heart of the gay lobby’s emotional, cultural, and political success — the moral mantle of those Freedom Riders whose golden anniversary we mark this year has, so to speak, been successfully claimed by the Stonewall Democratic Club and its epigones. And because the classic civil-rights movement and its righteous demand for equality before the law remains one of the few agreed-upon moral touchstones in 21st-century American culture (another being the Holocaust as an icon of evil), to seize that mantle and wear it is to have won a large part of the battle — as one sees when trying to discuss these questions with otherwise sensible young people.

But the analogy simply doesn’t work. Legally enforced segregation involved the same kind of coercive state power that the proponents of gay marriage now wish to deploy on behalf of their cause. Something natural and obvious — “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal” — was being denied by the state in its efforts to maintain segregated public facilities and to deny full citizenship rights to African Americans. Once the American people came to see that these arrangements, however hallowed by custom (and prejudice), were, in fact, unnatural and not obvious, the law was changed.

What the gay lobby proposes in the matter of marriage is precisely the opposite of this. Marriage, as both religious and secular thinkers have acknowledged for millennia, is a social institution that is older than the state and that precedes the state. The task of a just state is to recognize and support this older, prior social institution; it is not to attempt its redefinition. To do the latter involves indulging the totalitarian temptation that lurks within all modern states: the temptation to remanufacture reality. The American civil-rights movement was a call to recognize moral reality; the call for gay marriage is a call to reinvent reality to fit an agenda of personal willfulness. The gay-marriage movement is thus not the heir of the civil-rights movement; it is the heir of Bull Connor and others who tried to impose their false idea of moral reality on others by coercive state power.

More here.




6 Responses to “George Weigel on SSM as a Civil Right”

  1. avatar Nerina says:

    The Robert George interview is fantastic.

  2. avatar Hopefull says:

    I am APPALLED by the crude, contrived picture on the front page of this week’s Diocesan Courier of the apparently two gay men almost skipping through the halls (in Albany?) . Is anyone else bothered? They are in black suits, with their backs to the camera. Are they wearing Roman collars too? Sorry, I don’t know how to upload it into a comment. To be on the front page of the (electronic) Diocesan Courier is absurd and almost a gleeful expression of triumph by diocesan leadership. At least that’s how it strikes me.

  3. avatar Hopefull says:

    Sorry, there was no caption on the front page of my issue, but opening up the article has the following caption:

    Mark Cadena and Stuart Hata walk hand in hand through a hallway in City Hall after their wedding ceremony in San Francisco in November 2008. On June 24, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the Marriage Equality Act into law.

    Why oh why would an old picture from California be front page of a diocesan newspaper in NY, uncaptioned?

  4. avatar Mike says:


    Some of the comments on the Courier article agree with you (as do I).

    Also, note the CC’s less-than-convincing justification for the photo among the comments. At least one reader doesn’t seem to be buying it.

  5. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    I agree with you, Hopefull, that it is totally uncalled for. Perhaps they’ll win another award for it? Does anyone remember a few years back when they put a shot of protesters on the front page? One of the protesters had a picture that made the pope look like a troll, or shrek, or something. I was furious when they did that.

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