Cheat-Seeking Missles

Sunday, November 14, 2004

No Divorce-Gay Marriage Connection

The New York Times, on a crusade to discredit the intelligence of red state residents, dug around to find studies, some dating back to 2001, showing that divorce rates are higher in many red states than in some prominent blue states, and played the story prominently in its well-read "Week In Review" section.

A bit of glee is evident in the first quote, attributed to Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, co-director of the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University: "Some people are saying, 'The Bible Belt is so pro-marriage, but gee, they have the highest divorce rates in the country.' " That little "gee" is the codeword for, "Here's another story about the mental inferiority of the red states."

And that's just where the story goes, discussing such keys as younger marriage age, less education, greater poverty and less social structure in states like Kentucky, Mississippi and Arkansas, which have high divorce rates. It ignores blue states with high divorce rates, like Maine and Washington, focusing instead on Kerry's own Massachusetts as the low-divorce ideal, quoting one resident: "People stay here, their families stay here, and there's more social and family support for people, more communal vs. individualistic culture in New England compared to" ... get this ... "the cowboy states." Gee (there's that word again), I don't remember ever seeing any cowboys in Mississippi.

Nor were there cowboys in Kentucky, where I lived for five years and witnessed intense family support and deep family roots, with the now famous Scotch/Irish independence, not the New England "it takes a village" view.

This is another of the flailing, failing articles of the "liberals trying to understand morals" genre. The point the author, Pam Belluck, and her editors seek to make -- and this may sound familiar by now -- is that those people out there are yahoos, and we're much more sophisticated here on the coast. If you can believe that, you can believe that the election was about smarts, not morality.

But, as usual, they miss the point entirely because they don't understand morality. A failed heterosexual marriage was still a heterosexual marriage, a part of an institution that every society for thousands of years has honored and made superior because of the institution's unique responsibility to create, nurture and educate the next generation. States with high and low divorce rates can honor marriage between a man and a woman equally.

And there is no hypocracy for a divorced person, Christian or not, to oppose gay marriage. They want their children to enter heterosexual marriages, even though theirs failed.

The backlash against gay marriage is so volatile, and so overwhelming, because it is about much more than the question of whether gays should marry. Certainly, those who vote against gay marriage say no to that proposition, but they also say no to the arrogance of judges who go against the will of the people, no to mandated homosexual curricula in schools, no to Gavin Newsom's undemocratic defiancy of the vote of Californians, and the Democratic Party's pandering to gays who think all of the above is just fine.

While divorce and homosexuality may equally sadden God, the answer to divorce is to provide better foundations and fight harder to save it. The answer to gay marriage is to just vote no, as so many voters in high and low divorce states alike have done.