Virtual Voices

When to take half a loaf

Marriage

The next issue of WORLD will have a Q&A with Maggie Gallagher, founding president of the National Organization for Marriage (see Les Sillars' interview with the current president Brian Brown), current president of the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy, and author or co-author of several books, including Debating Same-Sex Marriage, published last month by Oxford University Press.

I had to cut some incisive remarks to fit the Q&A into two magazine pages, and one of the cuts eliminated some discussion of last month's North Carolina vote that ended the prospect of same-sex marriage in the Tar Heel State (unless the U.S. Supreme Court overrides state constitutions and laws).

I told Maggie about one young North Carolina evangelical who voted last month against banning same-sex marriage. The young evangelical said he is for lifelong biblical marriage and opposed to homosexuality, but he voted as he did because the amendment seemed like bigotry: It specified homosexuality but did not deal with a bigger assault on marriage, our tendency to have short-term marriages with easy divorce-in other words, sequential adultery.

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He said that if the amendment had tried to deal with both aspects of the problem by doing away with no-fault divorce along with stopping same-sex marriage, he would have been more likely to vote for it. He did not want to single out the homosexual aspect without noting heterosexual problems: That seemed to him like bigotry.

Maggie initially responded, "People make up a lot of reasons for not getting into the terrible position of being described as a hater and a bigot." Then she added, "I have a lot of sympathy for that point of view," but could not sidestep the immediate concern: "Gay couples right now in North Carolina courts [were] trying to get gay marriage recognized." So, voting against same-sex marriage was right, even if no-fault divorce remained.

Maggie concluded with an analogy: "People who say they would not vote in favor of [banning] partial-birth abortion because it doesn't do everything we need to do on the abortion issue. I don't see how you refuse to do one good because you can't do all good at the same moment."

To take what we can get at a particular time or wait to do more: That is the question. I tend to be a half-a-loaf person, but I suspect some of our readers see things differently.

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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