Well-meaning people who oppose “gay marriage” often float the compromise of “civil unions” as a way to keep everybody happy and to demonstrate their good will.

But it won’t work any better than British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s attempt to appease Adolf Hitler by handing over Czechoslovakia in 1938. Shortly after Chamberlain proclaimed that he had negotiated “peace in our time,” Hitler cut a deal with the Soviets and they jointly invaded Poland in 1939. Historians record that Hitler was utterly amazed at Chamberlain’s naivete.

Before we go further, please understand that I am not comparing homosexual activists to Nazis. I am demonstrating why appeasement doesn’t work. More often than not, it is homosexual activists and their allies who accuse opponents of being “Nazis” and “bigots,” as happened recently on the floor of the Massachusetts Legislature.

Chamberlain at least had the excuse that Hitler lied to him. But the “gay” activists themselves have told us over and over that “civil unions” are merely a steppingstone to “gay marriage.” Some observers predict that the whole idea of marriage will eventually become passe if same-sex unions gain legal status.

That is what has occurred in Scandinavia, where marriage is nearly extinct. As Stanley Kurtz of the Hoover Institution puts it, “Instead of encouraging society-wide return to marriage, Scandinavian gay marriage has driven home the message that marriage itself is outdated, and that virtually any family form, including out-of-wedlock parenthood, is acceptable.”

Cheryl Jacques, former Massachusetts legislator and now president of the homosexual activist group the Human Rights Campaign, says, “Some also feel that civil unions are a necessary compromise, given the public’s struggle with marriage. But civil unions are not the solution. Even if civil unions provided all the same legal protections of marriage – which they don’t – they would still be a separate and unequal system.”

Richard Goldstein, writing in the Village Voice, noted that the real goal of many homosexual activists is to transform marriage itself:

“Generations of radicals have imagined a world in which the norm-making rules of matrimony are suspended … Down the road, we may see groups of people sharing the custody of children.”

If there was any doubt whether “gay” activists would settle for civil unions, it has been erased by events in San Francisco, where the mayor has illegally ordered marriage licenses to be issued to same-sex couples despite California’s recently enacted “domestic partner” law, which is nearly identical to Vermont’s “civil union” law.

Not content with creating counterfeit marriage by another name, the activists are trying to seize marriage itself by whatever means. California legislators have also enacted a series of laws that:

  • deny state contracts to businesses that don’t offer benefits to homosexual couples, regardless of the business owner’s beliefs;

  • threaten businesses with a $150,000 fine if they don’t promote transsexuality as a part of diversity programs;

  • disqualify any foster parents who won’t encourage children to engage in sexual deviance;

  • force schools to promote homosexuality throughout the curriculum, beginning in elementary school.

In San Francisco itself, the state bar association has forbidden judges to associate with the Boy Scouts of America. The city also passed a law forcing businesses and charity organizations to give benefits to homosexual couples or lose city business. In 1998, city supervisors passed a resolution urging local media to reject ads from Christian groups that featured an outreach by former homosexuals. One supervisor openly blamed Christian groups for Mathew Shepherd’s murder at the hands of two thugs in Wyoming.

As with the mayor’s lawless order to issue “gay marriage” licenses, the supervisors’ resolution shows that the homosexual agenda is not about expanding tolerance but about crushing everybody else’s civil rights under the steamroller of “gay” activism.

If you want to see where this is all going, take a look at some other Western nations. In Canada, it is illegal to criticize homosexuality over the airwaves, and print media is feeling the heat as well. A Saskatchewan newspaper and a private citizen were fined in 2001 for publishing an ad listing Bible verses about homosexuality. In November 2003, police in Ontario visited the home of a pro-family Christian activist and investigated him for a “hate crime” because some homosexuals disliked his defense of marriage on his website.

In London, England, police investigated an Anglican bishop in November 2003 for his advocacy of the view that homosexuals can change. The Right Rev. Dr. Peter Forster, bishop of Chester, had said in an interview with a newspaper, “Some people who are primarily homosexual can re-orientate themselves.” Acting on a complaint, police began a formal hate-crimes inquiry. The bishop was not formally charged, but police told reporters that if they had been able to make an arrest, they would have done so.

In October 2001, Harry Hammond, an English pastor who had been beaten by a gang of homosexual thugs for carrying a sign urging homosexuals to repent, was convicted of inciting violence and disturbing the peace. He was fined 300 British pounds (about $550) and forced to pay 395 pounds ($725) in legal costs. No charges were brought against the men who physically assaulted him. A higher court recently rejected the Rev. Hammond’s appeal of this conviction.

Or how about Sweden, where “civil unions” have been a reality for several years? Last year, the Swedes passed a sweeping “hate crimes” law forbidding any criticism of homosexuality. Last summer, Pastor Ake Green was arrested at a church in Kalmar, Sweden, and charged with “hate speech against homosexuals” for a sermon about homosexuality. According to the church newspaper Kyrkans Tidning, the prosecutor, Kjell Yngvesson, justified the arrest this way: “One may have whatever religion one wishes, but this is an attack on all fronts against homosexuals. Collecting Bible cites on this topic as he (Pastor Green) does makes this hate speech.”

In the brave new world fashioned by homosexual activists, this is what passes for “tolerance.”

Yesterday, it was Czechoslovakia. Today it is San Francisco, on its way to becoming London, or Stockholm by the Bay. People who believe that all will be well if we appease homosexual activists with “civil unions” had better wake up and smell the smorgasbord.

We must defend the marriage-based moral order in more than name while we still have the freedom to do so.

Robert Knight is director of the Culture and Family Institute, an affiliate of Concerned Women for America.

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