Some years ago, I worked on a program special for PBS, entitled “God and Country,” hosted by Gwen Ifill and Bryant Gumbel. It was about the often troubled relationship between religion and the American Constitution, so naturally, the subject of gay rights and same-sex marriage was central to the discussion.
In the course of my producing responsibilities, I interviewed a number of people – mostly men, as it turned out – who could be considered members of the “religious right.” Black or white, clergy or layman, political operative or uninvolved politically, there was an interesting consistency to their responses.
And now, with last week’s Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage, we’re going to have the opportunity to see if they were correct.
First of all, I was somewhat surprised, though in retrospect I shouldn’t have been, that so many African American preachers and ministers were so against gay marriage. Isn’t this a civil rights issue? I asked, and they each said No.
But aren’t the religious arguments you’re bringing up similar to the ones that were once used to justify slavery? No, this is different, they said. This is a moral issue.
Aren’t you afraid of being on the wrong side of history? I asked one prominent and in-the-news former Republican Presidential candidate. A simple No was the response.
Anyway, what just about all of these gentlemen offered was a version of the slippery-slope, camel’s-nose-under-the-tent argument, to wit:
Okay, now it’s two homosexual men or two lesbians who want to get married. So what’s next: three men, or three men and a dog?
I pointed out that amidst the yearnings for same-sex rights, I had heard of no groundswell for polygamy and/or bestiality or to change the laws regarding same.
But “Three men and a dog” kept coming up in my interviews, almost as if they had each been briefed by the same PR consultant.
So anyway, thanks to a majority of the Supremes, that old camel’s nose has poked under the tent, and now I want to see how long it is before three men, or three men and a dog becomes an accepted social standard and that camel has borne us on the societal road to hell.
And if it happens, like the honest journalist I try to be, I will be the first to admit that my “God and Country” interviewees were right.