June 17, 2008
Same-sex marriage and the fabric of society: What does it all mean?
Web extra video: Rabbi Denise Eger officiates at a gay wedding ceremony
(Page 2 - Previous Page)The End of Morality
While the advent of legal marriage for same-sex couples in California seems heaven-sent for some, for others it is yet another signal that earth is moving further away from heaven.
Without a religious basis for defining marriage, they argue, the term marriage loses its relevance.
"Whether we like to admit or not, the United States is founded on Judeo-Christian religious values. If we don't acknowledge that the institution of marriage was founded on these values, then we are opening up a Pandora's box," said Rabbi Daniel Korobkin, an Orthodox rabbi in Hancock Park. "Not only should gay marriage be allowed, but polygamy should be allowed, incest should be allowed."
He argues that broadening the definition of this societal institution actually weakens it, just as broadening the definition of homicide to include animals would weaken the crime of murder.
At the same time, some Orthodox rabbis, including Korobkin, have opened up tentative conversations about how to include the gays and lesbians who are invariably a part of any community, even while not upholding their lifestyle as an ideal.
Conservative radio host and social commentator Dennis Prager warns that redefining marriage will change society.
"Outside of the privacy of their homes, young girls will be discouraged from imagining one day marrying their prince charming — to do so would be declared 'heterosexist,' morally equivalent to racist. Rather, they will be told to imagine a prince or a princess. Schoolbooks will not be allowed to describe marriage in male-female ways alone. Little girls will be asked by other girls and by teachers if they want one day to marry a man or a woman," Prager wrote in an article on his Web site soon after the decision was handed down.
He predicts heterosexism will go from being merely socially reprehensible to criminal, and that eventually even the terms male and female will be undercut.
But gay activists say they aren't trying to force this on anyone.
Attorney Pizer said that in Massachusetts, where gay marriage has been legal since 2004, not much has changed for people who aren't gay.
"What people will see in the coming months is that life continues just the same for just about everyone in California." she said. "The sky will not fall and the earth will not crumble. Nothing will change for most people, except for some couples who will be happier, and some wedding-related businesses who will be doing well. Life will continue as people know it."