Dr. Stephen Baskerville makes the case that the current push for gay marriage is really just the result of a long push against families that started in the past, especially with no-fault divorce, as that fundamentally altered and degraded the role of fathers in society, and expanded the power of the state as a result.
G. K. Chesterton once suggested that the family was the main check on state power and that weakening it would destroy freedom. Chesterton was writing about divorce, and here another critical difference emerges between today’s debates and the way the issue was framed by Dawson and Zimmerman and theorists they cite. While homosexuality, abortion, pornography, and other cultural issues on today’s family-values agenda do appear in their writings, they are not central. The recurring issue throughout Western history that seems to be the most direct cause of marriage and family breakdown is divorce.
Given that 80 percent of divorces are unilateral, divorce today seldom involves two people simply parting ways. Under “no-fault” rules divorce often becomes a power grab by one spouse, assisted by people who profit from the ensuing litigation: judges, lawyers, psychotherapists, counselors, mediators, and social workers.
The most serious consequences involve children. The first action in a divorce is typically to separate the children from one parent, usually the father. Even if he is innocent of any legal wrongdoing and did not agree to the divorce, the state seizes his children with no burden of proof to justify its action. The burden of proof (and the financial burden) to demonstrate that they should be returned falls on him.
The reason for this is that intact families, and especially fathers that are present in the lives of the children, are one of the greatest checks on the power of the state.