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Defending Marriage

Over at Crisis Magazine, I've offered up some thoughts on "Taking Back Marriage" that echo a piece I wrote for Crisis in June 2013 ("Where Do We Go From Here?"), when the U.S. Supreme Court last weighed in on the subject of gay "marriage." Two years ago, my proposed solution—that the churches, led by the Catholic Church, divorce themselves from the state on the question of marriage, no longer requiring those who wish to be married in the Church to receive state licenses—was largely rejected by commenters, some quite vociferously.

Now, as the comment section at Crisis shows, the situation is different, even though nothing has actually changed. Obergefell v. Hodges is simply the logical outcome of United States v. Windsor—which is why I was able to predict at the time that this day would come.

This is, of course, just another issue on which Chronicles has alway been far ahead of the "conservative movement" (let alone the Republican Party). As far back as May 2006, when the great debate among conservatives and Republicans was whether to embrace homosexual civil unions to try to prevent the coming of gay "marriage," I commissioned a piece from Fr. Hugh Barbour to make the very argument I've made over at Crisis:

In every state where these unions are ratified, the hierarchy of those churches still professing the truth about marriage and family could voluntarily renounce the status of their ministers as officers of the state in witnessing marriages.  The faithful would still have to have their marriages blessed by the Church, but we could stop dealing in marriage licenses altogether, and tell the couple to have a civil ceremony to protect their legal rights and those of their offspring as they need to, but make it clear that the two unions are at present entirely different, because of the abdication by the state of its duty toward marriage.

As we at Chronicles have said from the beginning, there are no political solutions to cultural problems. How do we see so far ahead? We don't let ourselves get distracted by politics, but keep our eyes on the culture.

Scott P. Richert

Scott P. Richert

Scott P. Richert is editor at large for Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture, and Publisher for Our Sunday Visitor. He holds an M.A. in political theory from the Catholic University of America. He has been published in, among others, The Family in America, This World, and Humanitas. He is the Catholicism Expert for About.com.

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