So the particular brand of Christians who seem to dominate the public discourse on LGBT people and LGBT equality, like Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, who appears on the major networks on nearly a weekly basis; current and former government officials, and presidential candidates, like Ted Cruz and Rick Santorum; and high-ranking Catholic officials like San Francisco’s archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, have called for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution specifically to ban marriage equality.
If they succeeded, what would they have happen to those of us already married? Would they require the government to dissolve our civil marriages against our will? I imagine that it would depend largely on how the amendment was written, but I would expect those mentioned above, at least, to argue for language that would in fact void pre-existing marriages for same-sex couples as well as outlawing any future ones.
It would be ironic if not terribly shocking that evangelical and orthodox Christianity would come to that over its loathing of gay people, not just ignoring the prescriptions against divorce and remarriage–some even attributed directly to Jesus–for themselves, a ship that sailed a long time ago, but actually mandating government-enforced annulments for others against their will. When the California Supreme Court, through upholding Prop 8, shamefully legitimized the majority’s vote to strip a disfavored minority of a constitutional right, it didn’t retroactively void the marriages that already had taken place. But that part of the decision wasn’t a certain thing; many of the opponents had in fact called for those marriages to be made null and void, and legal experts were mixed on their predictions in that regard. And in 2004 the same court had in fact voided the marriages that took place, at the direction of then-mayor Gavin Newsom, in San Francisco and elsewhere that summer.
To be sure, this is largely a rhetorical question. since such an amendment is very nearly an impossibility (never say never, though), but I think it’s worth thinking about what proponents of such an amendment would do, and to what degree, if at all, it truly comports with values of equality, justice, and fairness, or even those more commonly purported to be important for Christianity, to wit, morality, love, and charity.