By Tom Quiner
Pope Benedict XVI made his annual “State of the Church” address.
He spoke briefly about gay marriage, characterizing it as destroying the very “essence of the human creature.”
The media exploded.
Although the subject of gay marriage was a small part of his speech, that is all the media reported. The headline for the article in the Des Moines Register was:
“Pope attacks gay marriage in annual address.”
The Catholic Church is under attack for standing by Christian principle that defines marriage as being between one man and one woman.
A practical question comes to mind. What are the long term effects of gay marriage on a culture?
We can look to Canada to get a feel. There, gay marriage has been legal for a decade.
Canada has similarities to the United States as well as differences. What happens in Canada may not happen here. Nonetheless, let’s take a look at the Canadian experience with so-called gay marriage.
Here’s what did not happen: polygamy. The concern was that if marriage is defined by feelings rather than function, polygamy would be the next natural step in the restructuring of marriage.
One attempt was made in Canada, and it failed.
However, gay marriage has had a significant impact in other areas. Dissent is viewed as bigotry. Government commissioners who protested and refused to issue marriage licenses were fired.
Catholic organizations, such as the Knights of Columbus (of which I am a member), were fined when they refused to rent their facilities for same-sex wedding receptions.
Clergy now have to be careful what they say from the pulpit regarding human sexuality, or face the risk of censure or worse from human rights tribunals. People who speak out against the new orthodoxy have this speech defined as “hate speech” and have been fined, forced by government officials to make public apologies, and coerced into never speaking out again against so-called same sex marriage.
The financial cost is staggering if you run afoul of Canada’s Human Rights Commission. The cost to defend yourself for alleged “hate speech” is simply too much for most ordinary folks, who are beaten into compliance through sheer financial intimidation.
Associations, such as bar associations, have the power to censure and discipline members who disagree with gay marriage laws.
Teachers, in particular, put themselves at risk if they are critical of gay marriage, even if their remarks are made outside of the classroom. This kind of talk “creates a hostile environment for gay and lesbian students,” and is not tolerated.
Parents in Canada have long had a right to veto contentious educational practices. They no longer do on the contentious subject of gay marriage, which must be portrayed in a positive light and as natural and normal.
Will any of this happen in the United States? It’s hard to imagine that it won’t.
Free speech will surely be affected.
With this administration’s disdain for religious liberty, it’s hard to imagine that religious freedom doesn’t take a major hit.
And, of course, public education will be transformed even more by the leftists who dominate the teacher’s union.
How will America look if gay marriage continues to spread? Simply look to Canada.