George Weigel: "Crying 'Homophobia' [is] a Crypto-Totalitarian Bully’s Smear"


George Weigel writes about the attempt to dismiss those who believe in marriage as "homophobes" -- and proposes what is actually the heart of the matter:

The Washington Post’s culture critic, Philip Kennicott, recently took to the pages of his paper to note the “cognitive dissonance” between ingrained “habits of homophobia” in American culture, on the one hand, and a recognition that “overt bigotry is no longer acceptable in the public square,” on the other.

... Philip Kennicott’s line of attack nicely demonstrates the truth of Oscar Wilde’s famous observation that the only way to rid oneself of temptation is to yield to it. For crying “homophobia” is a cheap calumny, a crypto-totalitarian bully’s smear that impresses no serious person.

Here's what Weigel says is actually happening in the debate over marriage:

The 21st-century state’s attempt to redefine marriage is just such an attempt to redefine reality — in this case, a reality that existed before the state, for marriage as the union of a man and a woman ordered to mutual love and procreation is a human reality that existed before the state. And a just state is obliged to recognize, not redefine, it.
Moreover, marriage and the families that are built around marriage constitute one of the basic elements of civil society, that free space of free associations whose boundaries the just state must respect. If the 21st-century democratic state attempts to redefine something it has neither the capacity nor the authority to refine, it can only do so coercively. That redefinition, and its legal enforcement, is a grave encroachment into civil society.

If the state can redefine marriage and enforce that redefinition, it can do so with the doctor-patient relationship, the lawyer-client relationship, the parent-child relationship, the confessor-penitent relationship, and virtually every other relationship that is woven into the texture of civil society. In doing so, the state does serious damage to the democratic project. Concurrently, it reduces what it tries to substitute for reality to farce.