Culture,  Politics

Robert George on NY Gay Marriage

Robert George had a big hand in the paper I posted earlier this week from The Witherspoon Institute, and he has some pointed words today about the gay marriage decision in New York. You need to read the whole thing, but I thought his remarks about the worldviews of the two most significant political players in New York (Cuomo and Bloomberg) were spot-on. He writes:

New York is obviously one of the most socially liberal states in the Union. There are, to be sure, many New Yorkers who reject sexual-liberationist ideology and believe in true marriage, which is why pro-marriage forces in the state were able to put up quite a fight, but they are not well-represented in the elite sector of society and at the moment they lack the powerful political leadership one finds on the other side. There is no Chris Christie at the helm in New York. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the state’s two most powerful and influential politicians, plainly buy much, if not all, of the ideology of sexual liberalism and publicly lead their lives in accordance with it. Although they claim to be supporters of marriage who merely want to “expand” the institution (or expand “access” to the institution) out of respect for what they regard as the civil rights of people to have their romantic partnerships (whatever their shape) recognized and legitimated by the state, both are reported by New York media to openly cohabit with women with whom they are not married. They do this not in defiance of their stated beliefs about sexual morality and marriage, but in line with those beliefs. Neither supposes that he and his mistress are setting a bad example for children or undermining the public’s faith in important marital norms. As orthodox sexual liberals, neither the governor nor the mayor believes in a conception of marriage in which marriage is normative for sexual partnering; indeed, neither believes in norms of sexual morality as traditionally conceived, even apart from any question about same-sex partnerships. Both regard “civil marriage” as nothing more than the legal blessing of romantic partnerships, and neither gives any indication of ever having remotely considered an alternative view. Both have so thoroughly absorbed the premises of sexual liberal ideology that the possibility of an alternative doesn’t cross their minds. For them, it is all a matter of “us urbane, sophisticated, tolerant, open-minded, defenders of civil rights, against those ignorant, intolerant, hateful homophobes.”

Robert George is a professor of jurisprudence at Princeton University. He formerly served on the President’s Council on Bioethics and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Read the rest here.

George directs readers to an important article that he co-wrote defining marriage. Here’s the full bibliographic info with a link to the article.

Sherif Girgis, Robert P. George, and Ryan T. Anderson, “What Is Marriage?,” Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy 34 (2010): 245-87.

(HT: Owen Strachan)


  • Paula

    This is excellent. It explains so much about the left’s view of the gay agenda. To them, the notion of sexual morality of any kind is antiquated and backward. To condemn homosexual behavior would require an examination of their own behavior.

  • Christianes

    “To condemn homosexual behavior would require an examination of their own behavior.”

    This applies to the ‘right’ as well as ‘the left’.

    I’m not sure that we can accuse any group of people of attacking ‘marriage’ when our own divorce stats are indicators of our own poor defense of it.

    The argument that the ‘left’ finds it easier to cave in and the ‘right’ holds the prize for affirming marriage runs up against reality in divorce statistics among Christian people. And there, the hypocrisy of ‘the beam in our own eye’ stands for all to see.

    Support ‘marriage’? Then we have some work to do of our own.
    Is ‘pointing the finger’ easier than to take care of our own mess ?

    I ask this honestly, because people in our Christian communities need refocusing on the importance of commitment if they are ‘called’ to the marital state.

  • Paula

    I hear what you’re saying, however, to paint Christians with such a broad brush because a certain percentage of those who claim the title of Christianity end up in divorce, is unfair. First, there is widespread “cultural Christianity” in the U.S. – those who claim be Christians because they’re not Jewish, Muslim or atheist.Or those who claim the title but are not truly regenerate.

    Note that Catholics and Mormons also claim they’re Christians, so before we talk about “divorce statistics among Christian people” we must first determine which Christian people we’re talking about.

    Certainly, there are plenty of genuine Christian churches whose hands are not clean, that turn a blind eye to the sin of divorce. We’ve all seen it.

    However, there are churches that do take a more serious approach to it and stand as a witness to the sanctity of marriage in a culture that treats it like a hobby. In our church, divorcees are not allowed to serve in leadership positions. It’s a very hard line to draw, and I’ve seen some dear, godly men wrestle with the issue. But in the end, it comes down to the glory of God and the reputation of the church.

    My son (age 19) shared with a co-worker yesterday that he planned to marry young. He might as well have said he was having a sex change operation – the guy thought he had lost his mind! Why waste his youth on one girl when he could play the field before settling down? The concept that one man/one woman for life can start from your first/only relationship is a completely foreign concept to most people.

    Maybe some churches/Christians are failing in the message of the sanctity of marriage, but maybe one marriage at a time, we can each do our part.

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