A couple of years ago, almost to the day, I wrote:
Endlessly, it was repeated: if gay marriage is legalized, it will have nothing to do with you. Well, here we are. Gay marriage is legal. And it is clear that it will have everything to do with every one of us.
It was true then and it is true now—truer, even. More than a few readers took my position to mean that I am “anti-gay marriage,” which isn’t quite the right way to put it: it’s hard to be “anti” something that you believe doesn’t exist, after all. Still more assumed that I am, more broadly speaking, “anti-gay,” which is untrue. I’m not even sure what that would look like, and in any event I am not going to play the deeply stupid progressive game where a set of moving policy goalposts are used to determine, on any given day, whether or not you are a bigot.
Anyway, the truth remains: gay marriage has a lot to do with you, no matter what gay marriage partisans may insist. The folks in Malta, unfortunately, are just figuring this out for themselves:
The overwhelmingly Catholic island of Malta has voted to legalise same-sex marriage.
Parliament agreed to amend Malta’s marriage act, replacing words like “husband” and “wife” with the gender-neutral alternative “spouse”.
It also replaced “mother” and “father” with “parent who gave birth” and “parent who did not give birth”.
The change marks another major milestone for the island, which only introduced divorce in 2011.
From heterosexual divorce to homosexual matrimony in six short years: that’s progress, if you’re into that sort of thing anyway. For the rest of us it is a bit dismaying.
So “gay marriage” is legal in Malta now. And with it the entire institution has been revamped more or less beyond historical recognition. If “this has nothing to do with you” is the biggest lie of the whole debacle, then directly behind it is the lie that “gay marriage” represents an expansion of marriage instead of a redefinition. It is indisputably the latter, at least in this case: married residents of Malta are no longer “husbands” and “wives,” anymore, they are simply “spouses,” a dry, bureaucratic, bean-counting approximation of married life. Gone, too, is the notion of “mothers” and “fathers;” rather, you are both simply “parents,” one of whom “gave birth” and one of whom “did not give birth.”
The old way of looking at things, of course, held that marriage and childbirth could not be separated from their objective biological moorings: a marriage required a husband (a man) and a wife (a woman), as did giving birth. That has changed. The most telling part of Malta’s recent capitulation is the fact that, even within the context of the novelty of “gay marriage,” there is arguably no need to abolish distinctions like “husband” and “wife:” most gay couples, men and women, are happy to refer to their so-called spouses as husbands and wives, respectively, and so the language could have easily been kept on government forms and state documents. The Maltese government, however, called such language “discriminatory.” So there you have it. To all of my Maltesian readers, I want to express my heartfelt condolences that your married identities have been stolen from you by your own government.
Now, the pro-“gay marriage” counter-argument likely runs as such: it doesn’t matter what the government calls you in its official records, you’re still welcome to call yourself a husband or a wife or a spouse or nothing at all, so why bitch about it? Curiously enough, this argument was never good enough for gay people, who could have easily referred to their relationships or civil unions as “marriages” without having to re-define the institution as a whole. But gay activists instinctively understood why, for the purposes of gay marriage, this argument was and is bogus. The government’s definition of what is and isn’t marriage, after all, suggests and imparts a certain type of society and a certain way of life. The government’s recognition of “traditional marriage” as the sole type of comprehensive and permanent matrimonial union implied, in theory at the very least, a whole host of things: order, stability, continuation, civilization.
The increasing acceptance of “gay marriage” by governments around the world implies a whole host of other things, not the least of which is the abolition of marriage as we have known it, and its being replaced by a rough and uncomfortable effigy of matrimony, one in which there are no husbands and no wives, no mothers and no fathers, only “spouses” and “parents.” But hey, if Maltesians aren’t happy with their new, re-defined marriage paradigm, it should be easy enough for them to get a divorce.