I can’t imagine what it must be like to live one’s entire life with a clear hold on the societal status quo, clearly seeing one’s will reflected in every forum, clearly belonging to and securing the rights of the group in power — only to have one’s proverbial rug swept from under them with a seemingly neverending barrage of life-changing legislation.
Today, the battleground is New York, and the battle lines have been drawn over same-sex marriage. Of course, debates like this bring out the usual suspects (the Family Research Council’s call to prayer, The American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer, National Organization for Marriage buying ad time on TV, et al.), but it seems like same-sex marriage brings the right-wing out of the woodwork like no other issue.
To wit, now we have David Tyree, former NY Giants Super Bowl star, coming out saying that same-sex marriage will lead to “anarchy”:
Tyree spoke this past Tuesday at New York City’s City Hall at a meeting of Christian clergy united to voice their opposition to same-sex marriage. Opponents of same-sex marriage in Albany said they felt “frustrated” that State Senate Republicans were not as willing to meet with them as they were with supporters of marriage equality. The sole Jewish clergymember cited by the NY Times in Albany, Rabbi Noson S. Leiter, executive director of Monsey, NY-based Torah Jews for Decency, was quoted as saying an oft-repeated Tea Party-style slogan: “ultra-liberal senators should understand that the government should have no right to impose a counter-biblical definition of marriage, family and gender.”
Anyone familiar with my work knows that I am committed to Judaism. The Talmud does teach against same-sex marriage in Chullin 92a, saying that the nations of the world have the Divine merit of never having written a ketubah (marriage contract) for two males. My opinion about this is that while the Talmud does proscribe same-sex marriage contracts, that which our governments perform today may not fall into the category of “marriage contract” to which the Talmud refers. The libertarian approach — that government should remove itself from private relationships entirely, sanctioning no marriages and only performing “civil unions” — would also work well here. In other words, it is entirely possible to achieve compliance with the words of the Talmud while achieving marriage equality under American law.
If we are to have an equal protection clause in our Constitution ensuring equal rights for all American citizens, it is going to be increasingly hard for social conservatives to emerge successful in America’s courts. As Focus on the Family already recognized, social conservatives have basically lost this battle in their cultural war already.