As America moves closer to embracing same-sex "marriage," one can almost picture people in the wedding industry rubbing their hands in delight. After all, if we legalize gay "marriage," we'll have more weddings than ever, right?
Wrong. We will end up having fewer marriages, not more. Just ask the citizens of Holland, where marriage is going the way of typewriters and buggy whips.
In the Weekly Standard, Stanley Kurtz, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, points out that in recent decades -- a time when parental cohabitation was sweeping across Northern Europe -- the Dutch clung to the last, ragged remains of their religious traditions. Yes, they engaged in cohabitation -- but when Dutch couples had children, they usually got married.
Not anymore. During the mid-1990s, the rate of out-of-wedlock births began to shoot up. By 2003, the rate of increase nearly doubled to 31 percent of all Dutch births.
What accounts for this phenomenon? Gay "marriage." These were the years, Kurtz notes, "when the debate over the legal recognition of gay relationships came to the fore in the Netherlands." The debate came to an end when Holland legalized full same-sex "marriage" in the year 2000.
The conjunction of these two social phenomena, says Kurtz, is no coincidence. During Holland's decade-long drive to legalize same-sex "marriage," gay advocates openly scorned the idea that marriage ought to be defined by the possibility of childbearing. Love between two partners -- any two partners -- was the real basis of marriage. Thus, as one gay "marriage" advocate told the Dutch Parliament, "there is absolutely no reason, objectively, to distinguish between heterosexual and homosexual love." Dutch leaders bought this argument. Marriage would be reduced to -- as Kurtz put it -- "just one choice on a menu of relationship options." In marriage, as with cheeseburgers, you could have it your way.
Then a funny thing happened on the road to redefining marriage: Dutch people simply stopped getting married -- even when they had children. This really ought to come as no surprise. After all, Kurtz writes, "Spend a decade telling people that marriage is not about parenthood, and they just might begin to believe you. Make relationship equality a rallying cry, and people might decide that all forms of relationships are equal."
The ease with which the Dutch jettisoned marriage happened in large part because the Dutch had already abandoned their Judeo-Christian heritage. The few religious voices raised in defense of traditional marriage were drowned out. And as a result Holland is now going the way of Scandinavia -- where acceptance of gay "marriage" has led to the continued deterioration of marriage.
What's happening in the Netherlands gives us clear evidence of what gay "marriage" does: People stop getting married, and children suffer. Let this serve as a warning to Americans. Marriage between one man and one woman must be protected and strengthened. If it isn't, then American families -- already deeply damaged by divorce and illegitimacy -- will be destroyed.
Copyright © 2004 Prison Fellowship
BreakPoint with Chuck Colson is a daily commentary on news and trends from a Christian perspective. Heard on more than 1000 radio outlets nationwide, BreakPoint transcripts are also available on the Internet. BreakPoint is a production of The Wilberforce Forum, a division of Prison Fellowship: 1856 Old Reston Avenue, Reston, VA 20190.