Eric Fromm quotation | Illustration by L.K. Hanson
by Steve Timmer
Jun 2, 2013, 3:30 PM

Sore Loser

She has her hate to keep her happy

Katherine Kersten had her first post-Love is the Law column in the Strib today, Sunday, June 2nd. You really don’t need to read it, since it is remarkably similar to virtually every other column she has written in the last couple of years. But, what the heck, let’s look at it anyway.

The subject? Well, gay marriage, of course. The entire piece is premised on this sentence:

[T]he law states that citizens must view the union of two people of the same sex — who can’t produce a child — as identical to that of a man and woman, whose sexual complementarity is the only thing that can.

We must start an examination of this beauty by looking up the word complementarity. You began to hear this word creep into the anti-gay marriage crowd’s lexicon fairly recently. Many references, including the Oxford Dictionary linked above, refer to the use of word to describe the relationship of wave theory and particle theory and that they are both needed to more completely describe the properties of light. Katie’s use of the term is a more, um, recent phenomenon.

What Katie is angling at here that “tab A fits into slot B;” by dressing it up with a term from Newtonian physics, it seems more “timeless,” another favorite attribute of hers. But only things that Katie agrees with are timeless. For Katie, that tab A fits into slot B is in the Bible, and that’s the end of it.

If we were to adopt Katie’s notion of marriage (gosh; I wonder where she got it?) though, instead of marriage licenses, the state would issue a License to Breed, but only after a couple had proven their fertility and executed an undertaking to produce children. Once the children were emancipated, the couple’s License to Breed would expire, and they would be required to divvy up the goods and go their separate ways.

So, just perhaps, there is more to marriage than producing offspring. And somehow, I doubt that the depopulation of the earth is just around the corner.

Heck, you don’t even need marriage to produce offspring; all you need is the backseat of your dad’s Ford, as many people in my generation found out.

Marriage is of course a social construct, and Kersten is correct that we recognize it in part as an institution to create, support, and raise children. And so should it be. But that doesn’t mean it’s the only thing it can be; simple observation demonstrates that it never has been the only thing. But according to Katie, we’re on the road to perdition:

But here’s a dirty little secret. No one has the remotest idea where our state officials’ decision to turn our fundamental social institution upside down will take our society in coming decades. We know the experiment is starting out badly [even though no single-sex marriages will even take place for months], because it’s based on pretending that demonstrable falsehoods are true. We have no idea what ripple effects it will have, how its redefinition of parenthood will affect children, or whether we’ll next see a push for marriage as the union of three or more loving people: the logical next step.

You would expect our legislators to wrestle with weighty questions like these before deciding to end marriage as we — and all other people on Earth — have always known it. They did not. That’s because they (at least the true believers among them) were motivated by a quasi-religious faith that “marriage equality” will inevitably lead our state to the secular equivalent of the Promised Land.

Katie is right here: there was no discussion anywhere in Minnesota or its legislature before gay marriage was literally sprung on us. [snort] And as we know, single sex marriage exists nowhere else on earth, so this is entirely uncharted territory here. [snort again]

But it is the last sentence of the quote where Kersten takes her deepest plunge into the crackpot fringe, and she’s been there before. Like the times she called out Lutherans celebrating wind power (sorry; I can’t find the link I was looking for, but she has written scoldingly about the little observance held at St. Olaf to dedicate the windmill there) and recyclers as part of the religious mysticism called “deep ecology.”

Secularism is on one hand the antithesis of religion, and on the other, it is a religion. But this is not at all confusing to Katie, though it may be to you, kids.

And for those of you who thought that Katie would find a new obsession, you have my heartiest condolences.

Thanks for your feedback. If we like what you have to say, it may appear in a future post of reader reactions.