New York is now the fifth state in which activist judges have imposed legalized homosexual marriage. Conservatives are once again lamenting this historic “redefinition of marriage.”
But they’re wrong. The historic redefinition of marriage took place at the seventh Lambeth conference in 1930 when the Anglican Church made it licit for its members intentionally to contracept. Until then, the entire history of Christendom was uniformly against any form of interventionist contraception.
This decision of the Anglican Church established a precedent so that by the end of the 1960’s virtually every other Protestant denomination followed suit.
The Catholic Church was slow in deliberating about its position on contraceptives, but many, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, were sure that the Church would soon embrace the spirit of the times and allow interventionist contraception, too. Thus, when Paul VI in 1968 published Humanae Vitae, which prohibited the use of contraception, many were shocked and offended.
But the pope was wise to see that sex intentionally cut off from its natural end of procreation would have dire consequences. One of those consequences is that it is a small step, once you permit sex divorced from procreation, to permitting sex between people of the same sex. The logic is inescapable: If marriage is not about reproduction but only about affection, then why can’t people of the same sex marry? The MAJOR corner in redefining marriage, then, was turned in the 30’s, not in the recent “marriages” of people of the same sex.
Fortunately, a good number of Protestants have recently begun to rethink contraception. Let’s hope they continue to do so, and that they do so before irreparable damage is done to the fabric of our society.