Editorial in the Las Cruces Sun-News entitled, "FREEDOM AND SUPREME COURT RULINGS ON SAME-SEX MARRIAGE"

July 18, 2013

6/26/13 is a day that same-sex marriage advocates will never forget. Rulings by the United States Supreme Court on Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) have essentially opened the door for the inevitable nationalized legalization of gay marriage; prompting some headlines to refer to the day as “Gay Day”.

Many see the Supreme Court decisions against these legislative statutes as an advancement of freedom; specifically, freedom from the chains of heterosexual marriage that has defined our society since its inception. One could argue that since our great country is the “land of the free” we should be thankful for this development. After all, more freedom is better…right?

The truth is there are two kinds of freedom at play in our society today. Webster defines one as, “the power to determine action without restraint”. This type of ‘Hedonistic Freedom’ comes with no strings attached such as morality or responsibility, and is becoming the more demanded form of freedom in our country today.

The second kind of freedom I’ll refer to as ‘Constitutional Freedom’; and it involves the same basic definition but with an added ingredient of morality. Specifically, it is freedom accompanied by responsible boundaries and the power to do what you know is right; rather than simply doing what you desire.

Therefore, constitutional freedom is actually true freedom; because hedonistic freedom is the result of being a slave to either your own desires or the world’s demands.

Our Founding Fathers believed Constitutional Freedom was critical to the success of our country. This is why Benjamin Franklin said, “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom.”

Unfortunately, we are becoming more hedonistic than virtuous; and this is translating into demands for more Hedonistic Freedom. Our desire for the legitimization of same-sex marriage is another manifestation of this. But changing the definition of marriage will only lead to a further re-definition of marriage “that has been unquestioned in our society for most of its existence—indeed, has been unquestioned in virtually all societies for virtually all of human history” (Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia).

Sadly, this redefinition of marriage will most likely have its consequences. My previous article on the subject made the case that homosexuality is immoral (based on Biblical and natural law). Assuming this is true, it could lead to serious consequences because history shows us immoral decisions are as dangerous a threat to society as any physical threat. Let me illustrate with another example.

The anti-authority movement of the 1960s ushered in the so-called ‘sexual revolution’. Since then, out-of-wedlock birth rates have “soared” according to the Brookings Institute. In 1965, 3.1% of infants were born to single mothers. By 1990 that rate had risen by a factor of six. Today, according to Single Mother Guide, almost two-thirds of all births to American women under 30 are born out of wedlock.

So the question becomes: Did the sexual revolution and its lack of moral boundaries have a positive or negative effect on our society?

Brookings found that increased out-of-wedlock births lead to increased poverty rates, and concluded with this remarkable statement: “The policy implications of the increase in out-of-wedlock births are staggering.” In fact, we spend over a trillion dollars annually on welfare today, according to the Congressional Research Service; and according to the West Coast Poverty Center, two-thirds of poor families are headed by a single-parent.

I don’t mean to pick on single-parents due to out-of-wedlock births, but the sad conclusion is that immoral choices can reap devastating effects on our society. By the way, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, states with a higher percentage of out-of-wedlock births in 2011 tended to have a higher incidence of poverty. The District of Columbia had the highest rate at 50.8%, but New Mexico was not far behind at 47.6%. I don’t think it is a coincidence that New Mexico is also one of the poorest states in the country.

Thomas Jefferson declared, “And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.”

For decades, conservatives have been trying to convince the American public of the benefits of ‘Constitutional Freedom’. This form of freedom that embraces morality and individual responsibility has brought opportunity, success and blessings to countless millions. I firmly believe it has also made the United States of America the greatest country ever and a beacon of hope to all. With much to brag about you might think constitutional freedom would be an easy sell. But more and more we seem to be opting for the hedonistic form instead.

During his final speech to the U.S. Congress, former Representative Ron Paul remarked about how difficult it is to “sell freedom”. But in reality it is easy to sell freedom; it just depends on what kind you are selling.

Neal Hooks