As a rule, I don’t sound off on issues without first thinking them through carefully. I have my snap-judgments on issues, but I try to ponder the sides of any argument before sounding off on it. Yes, this means that many times the news and novelty of the issue have faded by the time I type up anything about it, but it also means that I’m rarely stung by jumping on an unsubstantiated urban legend.

With that said, I’m going to do what I rarely do: discuss a breaking issue. Today Chief Judge Vaughn Walker of the Northern District of California ruled that Prop. 8 violates the U.S. Constitution.

Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.

The judge is saying that California, and all the U.S. by extension, has the constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis to all people. So does this “obligation” include allowing a brother and sister to marry? How about someone marrying a minor? How about Mike and Mark marrying Mary, Marcy, and Maggie? How about Matt and Spot? And if marriage has become a right, could Moe sue Mindy for turning down his proposal?

And if this ruling is upheld by the Supreme Court, how long do you think it will take for a gay couple to sue some church that teaches homosexuality is morally wrong, and therefore refuses to solemnize gay marriages?

The controversy over same-sex marriage is over! And the solution has come from an unexpected source: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

Brad Pitt, ever the social activist, says he won’t be marrying Angelina Jolie until the restrictions on who can marry whom are dropped.

“Angie and I will consider tying the knot when everyone else in the country who wants to be married is legally able,” the 42-year-old actor reveals in Esquire magazine’s October issue, on newsstands Sept. 19.

With this statement, Pitt and Jolie have shown that they are not just shacking up — they are doing something noble. How could they be involved in something as restrictive and discriminatory as marriage until everyone “who wants to be married is legally able”?

If you have ever wondered whether Pitt and Jolie are in favor of polygamy, you now know that they are. If you have ever wondered if they are in favor of removing restrictions like close blood ties and age as impediments to marriage, you now know. And if you have ever wondered whether they are in favor of clearing marriage limitations related to being alive or a different species, now you know. Oh, and I guess they are against laws prohibiting same-sex marriages, too.

In related news, a couple of USC researchers say, “Celebrities have more narcissistic personality traits than the general population, and people with narcissistic tendencies seem to be attracted to the entertainment industry rather than the industry creating narcissists.” I guess you could say that narcissistic people are the types who crave attention and make grandstanding gestures. Normal people would either get married or shack up without needing to make a public statement about it, but I guess it takes the unbridled narcissism of a “celebrity” to turn shacking up into a matter of principle.

For several years now the tiny minority of homosexuals in this country has been clamoring for marriage. They line up outside of state capitals and shout that their right to marry whom they choose has been denied. So far, 38 states and the Federal government have passed Defense of Marriage acts (DOMA) that prohibit gay marriage and refuse to recognize it if other states or countries pass homosexual marriage laws. This issue has been clouded by harsh words on both sides, and it is often misunderstood. Senator John Edwards spouted the following in one of his debates: “But as I understand the Defense of Marriage Act, it would take away the power of some states to choose whether they would recognize or not recognize gay marriages. That’s my understanding of it.” Too bad his understanding is incorrect. The Defense of Marriage Act, as signed into law by President Clinton and passed by 76% of the states, says that the individual states are free to recognize or refuse to recognize gay marriage as they see fit. It is interesting to note that if the DOMA had been proposed as a Constitutional amendment, it would be ratified based on the number of states that have passed such laws. This would make heterosexual marriage the law of the land, and unless the Supreme Court proceeded to pull another ruling out of its collective behinds, homosexual marriage would not be allowed.

It is clear that the vast majority of this nation is against gay marriage, but this does not stop a tiny yet very vocal minority from trying to sway the rest of the nation despite its resistance. This is like the tail wagging the dog, and makes as much sense. Even though proponents of gay marriage are in the minority, they use very effective language to defend their views. For example, gays claim that marriage is their “right.” But since when did our government grant rights to the people? Rights are already vested in the people, and their free exercise is protected by government. Yet the institution of marriage is recognized and affirmed by government. Marriage is different from a right, because it requires someone with authority to ratify it. Can you think of any other right that requires some power or organization to authorize it?

One of the other problems with this issue is the name. Calling it “gay marriage” is to cast it as a concept that makes logical sense, but it does not. Since marriage is, by definition, the union of a man and a woman, “gay marriage” makes no sense. It is an oxymoron like “jumbo shrimp” or “airline food.” Some people argue that the legalization of gay marriage is equivalent to the abolishment of miscegenation laws. But this argument is disingenuous. Race has no bearing on the issue of marriage–it is irrelevant to the very nature of marriage. But both the sex and sexuality of the participants certainly has bearing on marriage. For centuries marriage has provided the societally-acceptable outlet for sex between two people. This is why marriage has been called a sexual union.

“But this is only your definition! You are so narrow-minded!” When confronted with the accusation that they want to change the definition of marriage, many gay marriage spokesmen claim they do not. They want to “broaden” or “expand” the definition, not change it. But as I see it, the goal is to destroy the very meaning of marriage and make it apply to anything they choose. Once they have changed the definition of “marriage” so it no longer refers only to the union between one man and one woman, what is there to stop other groups from further tinkering with the definition? It is a very valid question, one that is often dodged by defenders of gay marriage. On the Sean Hannity radio show, one spokeswoman dismissed this question outright. She refused to answer it, saying that she was only there to talk about gay marriage and nothing more.

But this is a valid concern. If the fundamental definition of a word has been altered once, who or what will stop it from being changed again–say, from the union of two people to the union of three or more? This would open the way for polygamists hiding out in Utah, Colorado, and other states to proclaim their marriages openly to multiple wives. And what would stop a woman from marrying multiple husbands? The North American Man/Boy Love Association is already championing the cause of breaking down the societal barriers to male-on-male pedophilia; surely some men would petition to “marry” underage boys. And if age, sex, and number no longer have a bearing on the definition of marriage, how long before a human being tries to effect a union with another species?

Marriage is far from meaningless. J. D. Unwin’s 1934 book Sex and Culture outlines 86 different cultures and their historical decline. None of these cultures lasted more than three generations after marriage fell out of favor with the people. Unwin wasn’t the only person to come up with this idea. Giambattista Vico concluded the same thing in 1725. He saw that marriage between a man and a woman was critical for the growth of civilization. It is the “seedbed” of society, and marriage between a man and a woman is the best environment for raising children. Anything that departs from this damages men, women, and most of all children.

Finally, I am against gay marriage because God has stated it is not acceptable to Him. Homosexuality, along with all other acts of sex outside the bonds of marriage, is forbidden in the Bible. In addition to ancient scriptures, modern prophets and men of God have affirmed the sanctity of marriage in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World”:

“We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.”

I do not hate homosexuals, nor do I wish them ill. But I recognize that the current push for gay marriage is only a means to an end. The ultimate goal is not just tolerance of homosexuality as a valid alternative lifestyle, but full acceptance and societal support of it. And this I cannot accept.

Addendum: My sister-in-law got a free subscription to YM magazine shortly after she applied to university. Most of this magazine is girly fluff-stuff, but in the June issue there’s a four-page propaganda piece titled “my parents are gay.” While the article is mostly politically low-key, things really get blatant on the last page. Here, under the title of “help stop the hate,” the liberal political agenda rears its ugly head.

“Being gay isn’t a choice — being homophobic is.” This trite and untrue stinger appears right under the main title. The problem? Being actively gay is a choice because it involves choosing how to act. While a person may not be able to help having same-sex attraction, acting on that attraction is a choice. Now to be really nit-picky, if being gay means having feelings for the same sex, and being homophobic means having feelings about people who are gay, why is one set of feelings controllable while the other is not? After all, a phobia is an irrational fear of something. A phobic person doesn’t rationally choose to be afraid, so how can he or she choose to stop feeling a particular way? Our society values being able to keep one’s feelings under control — unless, of course, one happens to be gay.

This section has a picture of two lesbians kissing while holding up a sign saying, “We all deserve the freedom to marry.” The sign is disingenuous since these two people already have the freedom to marry. All they need do is find a willing man and propose. What they really want is marriage redefined on their own terms. But I have already written about why this isn’t a good idea.

One paragraph starts “President Bush is pushing for a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. It would be the first time the Constitution has been amended in order to restrict civil rights rather than expand them.” I guess the writer forgot the 18th Amendment, which banned the manufacture, sale, or transportation of alcohol, or the 22nd Amendment limiting the number of times an individual can be elected President. Both amendments restrict civil rights, rather than expanding them. But I’m not all that surprised that the writer of this article was unfamiliar with the U.S. Constitution.

Finally comes the inevitable poll. The summarized question is: “Do you think gay couples should be allowed to marry?” The numbers break down as follows:

  • 44% say “Yes, I do.”
  • 27% say “No, I don’t.”
  • 21% say “No, I don’t, but civil unions are OK.”
  • 8% have no interest in the subject.

At first glance, you’d probably assume the largest percentage of respondents support same-sex marriage. But the second and third responses are both against gay marriage. When combined, they total 48% — a larger percentage of respondents against gay marriage than those in favor of it. But the raw data doesn’t fit the agenda, so the pollsters split up the negative responses to minimize their impact. All this is targeted to shape the future political responses of a specific market — teenage girls who are too unsophisticated to notice the way the data is being spun, and whose obsession with conformity is currently at its peak.

Once again proving there are lies, damned lies, and push polls.