The
legalisation of same-sex marriage in the state of New York is not altogether
bad news. It could wake up voters in other states – and other countries – to
the strengths of the push for “marriage equality” and to the weaknesses of the
defence of traditional marriage.

The first
strength of the gay marriage campaign in New York, according to the New
York Times
, was money. Lots of money.

“The story of how same-sex marriage
became legal in New York is about shifting public sentiment and individual
lawmakers moved by emotional appeals from gay couples who wish to be wed. But,
behind the scenes, it was really about a Republican Party reckoning with a
profoundly changing power dynamic, where Wall Street donors and gay-rights
advocates demonstrated more might and muscle than a Roman Catholic hierarchy
and an ineffective opposition.”

Governor
Andrew Cuomo sought the help of the guys who brought you the global financial
crisis – hedge funds managers.
He persuaded Paul E. Singer, the founder of Elliott Management, a Republican
whose son is gay; Clifford S. Asness, of the quant fund AQR Capital; and Daniel
S. Loeb, of Third Point, to donate US$1 million to the campaign.

The
second strength was confusion about marriage amongst both politicians and
voters. For many the magic has evaporated from marriage. They have lost sight
of what it is all about. Not surprisingly for the Governor of a state which has
just lost two seats in the House of Representatives because of its declining
population, Cuomo neglected to explain how same-sex marriage was going to
benefit the most defenceless group of all – children.

His impassioned speech behind
closed doors to the Republican delegation
at the governor’s mansion
treated marriage merely as a sentimental partnership. Gay couples wanted
recognition, he told them. “Their love is worth the same as your love. Their
partnership is worth the same as your partnership. And they are equal in your
eyes to you. That is the driving issue.”

Which
leads us to the weakness of the defenders.

As figures
from the Census Bureau reveal, married couples now form less than half (45
percent) of all US households. Married couples with children account for only
20 percent of all households – down from 43 percent in 1950. With so many
children witnessing divorce and growing up in broken homes, marriage has become
just a trinket, not a jewel to be prized. Native Indians sold priceless Manhattan
real estate for $24 worth of cloth, beads and buttons. New York legislators
done one better by selling the farm on marriage.

Human
nature, logic, economics, and history all support traditional marriage – but
too many people simply don’t know how precious that is.

Furthermore,
the logic of same-sex marriage is the logic of contraception: that sex and
children have no necessary connection to each other. That being the case,
marriage is nothing more than a companionate relationship, with children an optional
adornment to the partners’ mutual affection. Since about three-quarters of
women between 15 and 49 use some form of contraception, it’s not surprising
that voters and legislators believe that “love” is enough to create a marriage.
Ultimately the levee against the rising tide of gay marriage has to be a change
of heart on contraception.

How
can that be done?

First
of all, by the example of loving couples and their children. Every successful
family is an argument against the self-centred egotism of people who care
nothing about the next generation.

Second,
by demonstrating more convincingly that same-sex marriage undermines traditional
marriage. Many supporters find it hard to articulate why the publicly
recognised union of a man and a woman with their children is the only model
which works. Defeat in New York is discouraging, but it concentrates the mind
on how to frame convincing arguments for future battles.

The
battle is joined between those who believe that marriage is for present
fellowship and those who believe that marriage is for future generations. But
it will be important to remember that boodles of cash and backroom deals will
not deliver victory. What is needed is a cultural change of heart. Nothing
less.


Michael
Cook is editor of MercatorNet.

Michael Cook

Michael Cook is the editor of MercatorNet.