When a panel of judges from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals pulled the nation back from the brink this week, they provided a rare glimpse of common sense in the debate over ending marriage. The majority opinion asks us to:
Imagine a society without marriage. It does not take long to envision problems that might result from an absence of rules about how to handle the natural effects of male-female intercourse: children. May men and women follow their procreative urges wherever they take them? Who is responsible for the children that result? How many mates may an individual have? How does one decide which set of mates is responsible for which set of children? That we rarely think about these questions nowadays shows only how far we have come and how relatively stable our society is, not that States have no explanation for creating such rules in the first place.
We don’t have to look far to “imagine” that dystopia. International activist Masha Gessen has given us a stark vision of what such a society without marriage means. Here, thanks to National Review Online’s Ian Tuttle, is the true goal of the marriage-enders. Gessen told a panel in Australia what she and her fellow radicals seek:
I agree that we should have the right to marry, but I also think equally that it is a no-brainer that the institution of marriage should not exist. . . . Fighting for gay marriage generally involves lying about what we’re going to do with marriage when we get there, because we lie that the institution of marriage is not going to change, and that is a lie. The institution of marriage is going to change, and it should change, and again, I don’t think it should exist.
This is the inevitable result of what Masha the Marriage-ender is seeking. She goes on in this interview to describe her own situation. She had a child when she was partnered with a lesbian lover. They split up. Then Masha contracted an ensemble under Massachusetts’ counterfeit marriage law. Her partner in that relationship was pregnant, she reported in this audio. The father of the child thus conceived is Masha Gessen’s brother.
No one has asked the children in these ensembles if they are happy with being intentionally deprived of fathers (or in some cases, of mothers). And no one honestly puts any of these questions before Americans in polling.
All polling is skewed in favor of those couples claiming the civil right to marry. The mantra, endlessly repeated in a compliant media, is everyone should be able to marry “the one we love.” Or the two or three we love?
The pollsters never ask if a son should be allowed to enter into a marriage contract with his father (or his mother) to avoid inheritance taxes. Never do we hear the marriage-enders tell us whether twin brothers may marry. Or, twin brother and sister?
This will create grave harm. Who will be harmed? Those who are already being harmed by the collapse of marriage in America—the poor, women, children, minorities, and recent immigrants.
We should remember a poignant story from our own history. Civil War historian Allen Guelzo speaks of the sudden increase in legal marriages recorded by Tennessee in 1866. The reason for this unexpected jump in the statistics for marriage was that Tennessee began to recognize and solemnize marriages of Black freedmen and women. Many of these poor people were illiterate—kept so by cruel and unjust slave codes in the South.
But they knew what marriage was. Many of these poor people walked many miles barefooted to achieve a lifelong goal—legal protection for their marriages.
Masha Gessen has been very brave in standing up to Vladimir Putin’s tyrannical rule. For this she has our respect. But she is also to be thanked for being so brutally honest: the goal of the marriage-enders is to abolish marriage altogether.
Let’s ask this question in the next public opinion poll: “Do you agree marriage in America should be ended?”
Ken Blackwell is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council and the American Civil Rights Union, and on the board of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.