Minnesota is now the 12th state to repeal its prohibition against same-sex marriages. Needless to say some of my friends, specifically my deeply religious friends who believe its the state’s duty of uphold their religion’s definition of morality, are a bit upset. As you will soon learn I have no sympathy for them. The religious organizations that told them to oppose the repealing of the prohibition on same-sex marriages are the same organizations that made this outcome possible. Although I touched briefly on the subject I feel it’s important to drive home this fact.
Back in the day the stated told various religious organizations, “Hey guys, we’re going to define marriage.” Most of the religious organizations at that time were perfectly fine with that news because the state said it was going to define marriage as being between one man and one woman. The Mormons weren’t overly enthusiastic about the news but they were a small enough minority that nobody cared what they thought. Likewise, homosexuality was stigmatized so great in those days that few would dare admit they were gay and therefore no opposition was raised against prohibition same-sex marriages. In other words statism worked exactly as it always does, the politically influential were able to wield the state’s capacity for violence against those who weren’t politically influential. What those short-sighted fools failed to realize is that things change.
Fast forward to modern times. Religious organizations have lost a great deal of their influence over the state. They can no longer wield the state’s capacity for violent reliably. The tables have turned and the same religious organizations that enjoyed the state’s power in the days of yore now lack a great deal of political influence. Now that the state isn’t favoring their definition of morality those religious organizations are pissed. Boo-fucking-hoo.
Those organizations made their bed when they agreed to ceded the power to define marriage to the state. Once the state declares a power for itself and remains mostly unchallenged it is practically impossible to rip that power from its hands. To make matters worse the longer the state holds power the more difficult it becomes to take it back. People living today never knew a time when marriage didn’t require some kind of permission slip from the state. Since things appear to be working and they know no alternative they’re unlikely to challenge the state’s declared power to define marriage. It really sucks to be one of those religious organizations that wants the power to define marriage back because, in all likelihood, they’re not getting it. The state didn’t just declare the power to define marriage, it sunk its claws deep into that declaration by tying anything and everything to its stupid permission slips.
Like it or not, marriage is no longer a religious institution, it’s a state-defined relationship used to determine who can have special privileges. Had those fools resisted the state’s power grab this entire fight probably wouldn’t have happened. The religious organizations could still choose to recognize only marriages between one man and one woman and everybody ignore those organizations. But those fools didn’t resist, they accepted the state’s power grab with open arms, and allowed marriage to become more than a religious institution. Why do you think homosexuals give a shit about marriage? It’s because they are relegated to being second-class citizens without having the ability to enter marriages. When you have a man getting arrested because he refused to leave his partner’s side at a hospital and he knows his arrest could have been avoided if the state recognized same-sex marriages you can damn well bet that he will fight for state-recognized same-sex marriage. When the state tells same-sex couples that they can’t adopt children [PDF] because their relationship lacks the state’s seal of approval you can damn well bet those couples are going to fight for a state-recognized seal of approval. And guess what, they and their allies (which I am) have the political influence and therefore can wield the state’s power.
If you oppose same-sex marriages for religious reasons let this lesson sink in. The next time the state tries to grab additional power, even if the power grab stands to directly benefit you, oppose it. Fight that power grab with every fiber of your being. Because once the state has that power it will keep that power, it will tie that power into its political machinery so tightly that it can’t be removed, and eventually that power will change hands and you’ll no longer receive the special privileges you once did.