One of the most insistent demands made upon the opponents of homosexual marriage is that we should spell out "what can go wrong" as a result. A National Party Member of Parliament has challenged us, saying "What can possibly go wrong? The sky won't fall in". Another National Party MP asked rhetorically "How can this have any affect upon me and my marriage?"
For good reasons, we are reluctant to answer the challenge. Firstly because we know that in matters such as homosexual marriage, which is part of a whole raft of changes in social mores that goes by the name of the "sexual revolution", it is virtually impossible to assign broad social effects to narrow specific causes. We know that society has changed in the past half-century, and is grappling with problems such as solo parenthood, a high divorce rate, sexually transmitted diseases, drug use, youth suicide and so on, but it is very difficult, indeed impossible, to prove that these phenomena can be attributed to pre-marital or extra-marital sex, prostitution, no-fault divorce and other such changes in law and social mores. Impossible to prove, but, on the other hand, most reasonable people will see connections.
Before the event, it is difficult to persuade people of the probability of adverse consequences. A young woman falls pregnant because she is convinced that the father of her child loves her and will care for her and their child. A young man goes street racing because he is confident of his driving abilities, and of the performance of his vehicle. A gambler puts his wages on the pokie machine because he is sure that Lady Luck is with him on the night. A burglar commits a break-in because he knows (or thinks) he won't get caught. Human beings, especially the young and less experienced, are optimists. When the rules - common morality, the rules of the road, or the criminal law - are put aside as an impediment to freedom, we tend to think that by making our own decisions in the particular circumstances we will secure good outcomes. The young woman is a sentimental optimist, the boy racer a rational optimist, but what they all have in common is the conviction that they are different, and what has happened to others will not happen to them.
Often they are right. The sky does not fall in. At least not right away. But eventually things come unstuck. For every two young men who supports their lovers, there will be one who absconds. After 5 or 10 or 20 street races tragedy strikes. Inveterate gamblers may win on occasion, but in the long run they lose everything. Burglars get caught. Homosexual marriage is a change in the rules which experience should tell us will have adverse consequences. The trouble is that the experience is historical, and people are loath to go by the experience of others, let alone the lessons of history. It has been nearly two thousand years since homosexual marriage was last sanctified by a state authority in the form of imperial Rome. There, homosexual marriage was associated with debauchery, sexual mutilation, religious oppression, wars, drug use, prostitution and social collapse. New Zealand politicians are confident that the same will not happen here, because they are "better drivers". I am not so sure.
When a politician has decided that he is not required to follow the rules of two millennia, arguing otherwise is like trying to persuade a seventeen year old boy with a high performance car that he should observe the speed limit. When the politician asks "What can possibly go wrong" it is our moral duty to tell him, even if we do not expect him to listen. There will be some disagreement over whether some of the ten consequences I have listed below should be categorised as adverse or beneficial, and people are free to make up their own minds on that matter.
The key to understanding the consequences of homosexual marriage is recognition that the homosexual relationship is distinctly different from the husband and wife relationship, and that when homosexual relationships and husband and wife relationships are combined into the same institution, homosexual relationships will influence the character of the husband and wife relationship. There can be little influence in the opposite direction because homosexual relationships do not involve sexual intercourse and cannot produce offspring, in contrast with the two distinguishing characteristics of the traditional marriage relationship.
1. While sexual intercourse can only take place between a man and woman, gay sexual practices are not necessarily restricted to homosexual relationships and the institution of “gay marriage” will encourage the adoption of such practices by heterosexual couples. One Christian supporter of homosexual marriage in New Zealand, Mark Jessum, has written "Anal sex is normal behaviour and was created by God. Anal sex, oral sex and the full gamut of other sexual behaviours are all just sex. These 'redefinitions' only serve to cause confusion for people trapped in the past who don't want to accept that the world has changed since 1950. Anal sex is practised by men and women, gay and straight alike". There will be more efforts to encourage "the full gamut of other sexual behaviours" within heterosexual marriages in order to fully normalise homosexual practices, either by direct advocacy, or by the explicit depiction of such practices in the press and on television.
2. The "gay model" of childless marriage provides greater freedom for the pursuit of pleasure. It will influence heterosexual couples to forgo children and to adopt a similar lifestyle, and will give rise to discontent within traditional marriages in which the presence of children imposes a financial burden upon husband and wife and restricts their freedom of movement and association.
3. As marriages on the gay model become fully accepted by the state and society, it will be argued that it is unfair to tax homosexuals and couples in gay model marriages to pay for the health and education of children of heterosexual marriages. Traditional husband, wife and child marriages will be put under greater financial pressure.
4. Marriage on the gay model provides greater tax revenue (women not leaving the labour force to raise families) and reduced costs of housing (small apartment dwellings in place of family homes) health (no pre- and ante-natal care, child and adolescent health care) and education. Governments will promote the gay marriage model for both homosexual and heterosexual couples for fiscal reasons, and will rely on immigration to replenish the population.
5. Some homosexual marriage ceremonies will parody traditional husband and wife marriages, with one man wearing make-up, high heeled shoes and a wedding gown, carrying a bouquet and so on. Such parodies of the traditional marriage ceremony will cause distress to some young brides who take their marriage celebration seriously.
6. Adopted children growing up with same sex parents may have difficulty following normal patterns of development. Homosexuality may be "natural", but nature cannot provide a child with two fathers, or two mothers, in place of a father and mother. The norm is a mother and a father. Solo parenthood is not uncommon, but neither is it ideal, as most solo parents would acknowledge. Parenting by homosexual couples is relatively uncharted territory, and although very few children may be adopted into homosexual marriage relationships, there is no evidence to show that bringing up children in such circumstances is as beneficial to the child as a having a mother and father.
7. The normal relations between men who are not homosexual will be influenced by the institution of homosexual marriage. Religious and humanist ideals are based on the notion that “all men are brothers”, and in an ideal society men relate to each other as brothers. Universal brotherhood is essentially incompatible with homosexual attachments, which produce particular affections (and for that matter enmities) based on carnal desire in place of universal respect, friendship and goodwill based on ethical norms. Homosexuality destabilises the male collective which is the foundation of human society.
8. Religious conservatives will become disaffected with and alienated from the state. Even though secularism is on the rise, and traditional religion on the decline in New Zealand, religion and religious values remain important to the stability of the state and the social order. When brought into conflict with the social order, religion becomes a revolutionary rather than a stabilizing force.
9. Conservative institutions of the state, most particularly the monarchy, which is traditionally associated with marriage and family, will lose standing with social conservatives when homosexual marriage receives the royal assent.
10. A society which institutes homosexual marriage will not necessarily be a society of universal love. Critics of homosexual marriage have been subjected to ridicule. sarcasm, name calling and abuse, and they have been made the object of black propaganda. Sadly, homosexual activists such as Stephen Rainbow have sought to raise their own relative esteem by defaming solo mothers. We can have no confidence that a society which chooses to solemnise homosexual marriage will be governed by compassion and understanding.
No man is an island, and every stone thrown sends out ripples across the entire surface of a pond.
Politicians have lost sight of those two truths, because of their adherence to a liberal secular ideology which fails to recognise the interconnectedness of all things, and which makes unwarranted assumptions about the human ability to predict the personal and social consequences of any action or administrative measure. This false assumption has given rise to an economic crisis for the western world, and it is in the process of creating a social catastrophe.
In society, as in the economy, every problem eventually creates its own solution. Homosexual marriage will provoke a reaction which will bring an end to the reign of liberal ideology, the Anglican church, the British monarchy and the parliamentary system of government. In the process, however, the nation will have to endure moral decline, social conflict, and personal suffering.
Politicians are fond of saying "Hindsight is a great thing". Hindsight
is not a great thing. Foresight is a great thing, and insight is
also a great thing, but to our cost New Zealand politicians have
little of either.