Today same-sex marriage becomes the law of the land in Minnesota. Over the past few months, in particular, I’ve heard a number of people try to shame opponents of this legislation by comparing it to overturning Jim Crow laws and other important civil rights actions of the past. They say that those of us who believe marriage is a real and particular thing that cannot be redefined will wake on morning forty years from now to find we were on “the wrong side of history.”
Archbishop Cordileone of San Francisco shared a different take with USA Today earlier this year — the conclusion of his remarks (below) seem particularly relevant today, with the redefinition afoot here in Minnesota and with the details of the Gosnell abortion murders fresh in our minds:
The natural law has a power written on the human heart that doesn’t go away.
Notice how there is no controversy in this country now over the evil of Jim Crow laws. Shortly after the Civil Rights Act the cultural change was complete. This is because it was the right thing to do. The truth cannot be suppressed indefinitely.
Draw a contrast here with the pro-life movement: After the Roe decision, it was commonly thought that our society would soon easily accept the legitimacy of abortion. But what has happened? The pro-life movement is stronger now, 40 years later, than it ever has been. This is because of the truth: Abortion is the killing of an innocent human life. That is not a matter of opinion or religious belief; it is a simple fact that cannot be denied.
The same principle applies with marriage: It is simply a natural fact that you need a man and a woman to make a marriage and that a child’s heart longs for the love of both his or her mother and father. Even if the Supreme Court rules against this truth, the controversy will not die out, as it hasn’t on the abortion issue.
The problem is, the longer a society operates in denial of the truth, the greater is the harm that will be done.
Minnesota law is changing today, but the natural law is as it ever was and always will be. As a result, while we may find ourselves on the wrong side of history, we should persevere in the hope of being found on the right side of eternity.