But what’s going on in the Eich and Portland cases isn’t about law. It’s about social mores and the insistence on the part of a loud, influential faction of so-called liberals that every single American not only tolerate gay marriages, but also recognize and positively affirm the legitimacy and goodness of gay marriages. The punishment for refusing to give in to this non-negotiable demand won’t be jail time or other legal punishment — so again, the issue isn’t the law. Rather, the punishment will be a social media–fueled witch hunt, ritual humiliation, excommunication from civilized life, and exclusion from prominent positions of power in leading industries.
The most common — and laziest — response by those leading the charge (or cheering it on from the sidelines) is to say: But these opponents of gay marriage are just like opponents of interracial marriage! No one throws a pity party for these and other racists when they’re marginalized, so why should it be different with those who reject gay marriage for religious or other conservative reasons?
For the umpteenth time: Our response should be different because the issues are different. Yes, it’spossible to find justification for racism in the Bible — as it’s possible to find justification for nearly anything in its many hundreds of pages. But racism — along with opposition to interracial marriage — received its primary historical validation from ideas, prejudices, and economic circumstances that have nothing directly to do with the message of Judeo-Christian scripture.
The same cannot be said about Judeo-Christianity’s normative teaching on sexuality, which is rooted in both the Hebrew Bible and New Testament.
Along these lines, Ryan T. Anderson says that opposing same-sex marriage is rather unlike opposing interracial marriage. Excerpt:
Great thinkers throughout human history—and from every political community up until the year 2000—thought it reasonable to view marriage as the union of male and female, husband and wife, mother and father. Indeed, support for marriage as the union of man and woman has been a near human universal. The argument over redefining marriage to include same-sex relationships is one over the nature of marriage. Same-sex marriage is the result of revisionism in historical reasoning about marriage.
Bans on interracial marriage and Jim Crow laws, by contrast, were aspects of a much larger insidious movement that denied the fundamental equality and dignity of all human beings and forcibly segregated citizens. When these interracial marriage bans first arose in the American colonies, they were inconsistent not only with the common law inherited from England, but also with the customs of prior world history, which had not banned interracial marriage. These bans were based not on reason, but on prejudiced ideas about race that emerged in the modern period and that refused to regard all human beings as equal. This led to revisionist, unreasonable conclusions about marriage policy. Thinking that marriage has anything at all to do with race is unreasonable, and as a historical matter, few great thinkers ever suggested that it did.
Unfortunately for traditionalists, the US Supreme Court disagreed, finding in its Windsor ruling that maintaining the traditional standard for marriage in federal law is motivated by bigotry (“animus”), and therefore unconstitutional. Still, as Damon Linker points out, the Eich and Portland situations are not matters of law, but of culture. Pro-gay liberals are demanding that Americans who dissent from the affirmation of homosexuality for whatever reason recant or be driven from the public square.