The defense of marriage - that is to say, the defense of marriage which is by dint of the societal context of its being assailed, intrinsically political - is not the reality of the institution of marriage itself. The defense of marriage is political not as an extension of the "project" of marriage, but only insofar as those seeking to attack it use politics (not to mention culture). Thus, defending marriage is not "putting one's hopes in politics". To say that is to place the institution of marriage into the realm of politics as its home, as though it came from there.
The very definition of marriage as articulated by our political forefathers goes to prove that marriage did not come from politics. That's precisely why they defined it - to state that this institution is not subject to politics, but that politics is subject to it; otherwise they would have no reason to define it. They were not making the measure for what marriage is; rather they were stating the timeless measure to which they aligned themselves. And that measure is self-evidently the timeless underpinning of all societies.
Yet those seeking to destroy the definition of marriage - that is to say, bring about government sanctioning according to a negation of what even gives government sanctioning a basis in the first place - are assumed into the narrative as non-political and the epitome of the natural. They are not on the offense. To say they are on the offense - which they are on - is to be "political". Thus, the cliche "gay friend". But though they use politics (and other means) to destroy marriage, their plans are not at all reducible to politics - by dint of the fact that marriage is not political, but is the underpinning of civilization.
Marriage is not a "project" of the Church. That is what is meant in saying that the defense of marriage is not the reality of marriage itself. This is not about Church and State. Those who begin with Church and State are beginning from an entirely false preposition.
And this has nothing to do with "gay rights" or "gay equality" - nothing to do with homosexuality or homosexuals, per se. Those who begin with their gay friends are beginning from an entirely false preposition.
This is precisely what the Church has been saying in defending marriage: that marriage existed before even the Church did, and certainly before any government or any society did. That is because marriage is the very underpinning of society, and its perpetuation. It is timeless. It did not just come before in some historical time-sequential way such that it would be available for accommodation or evolution: it is the one human institution that transcends all time bounds, all cultural bounds. It not only came before, in the past, but comes before, in the now. You cannot tinker, redefine, undefine or do anything to it without perverting the very basis by which you arrived to where you are and by which you are arriving.
You are sanctioning the violation of all things upon its negation. That is how fundamental and self-evident an objective truth is the institution of marriage: it gives us the very precedence to say the word "institution" at all. Indeed, it gives one the very precedence to be a destroyer of definitions - if that is what one chooses. One man and one woman, to the exclusion of anyone else, and this gives way to procreation; and procreation to child-rearing, child-rearing to understanding of right relationships, right relationships to the ordering of society. These things are all born out of each other. The very fact that they are born out of each other - something we are literally born into and which is born out of us - is self-evident inviolable ground. Some would call it inviolable mystery - the negation of which intrinsically means the sanctioning of the violation of everything. That which is perpetuated from marriage, that which is preserved by marriage, cannot be replicated.
It does not matter that you are caring and kind and smile at puppies. We did not bring it about ourselves. It is not our pet neo-gnostic project.
All the divorce rates and all the broken homes and all the childlessness do not disprove the concrete timelessness of marriage and its preserving and fundamental ordering virtues (which are impossible to replicate) one iota. Rather they actually go to show that in spite of all the destruction and brokenness, marriage still manages even as an apparent "vestige" to keep things from entire and utter chaos. Indeed, recognizing broken homes is to implicitly give voice to the reality of marriage, to its fundamental goodness. It is simply that in our cynical culture we take all that for granted - a mark of people who are not intellectual but who are sophists and have some kind of stake in novel acclimation and compromise.
By having the government deny the definition to make accommodation for a minority does not merely mean saying that it is denied - in which case it would be the state merely stating a denial, or stating a redefinition (and letting people then have their little ceremonies accordingly). This is what they would like us to think, mainly because they want to think that themselves.
What it actually means is bringing about a sanctioning according to the definition's negation. The sanctioning and the negation inherent in that sanctioning are forever bound together, such that the sanctioning must always work according to how it negates what it negated in the first place.
In other words, that which they sanction is sanctioned according to the denial of the definition of marriage. To put it more simply, the redefinition of marriage is not "pluralistic": it is a forceful denial which must consequently afterwards be forever re-confirmed. How will it be forever re-confirmed? Exactly according to the force (and deception) with which the definition was denied in the first place.
For an institution that is timeless and transcendent, that is going to be one hell of a lot of denial to keep up, via a very fast progression into the violation of all things - literally, all things. The "pluralism" of one man and one woman is impossible to "add to". It is the one human institution of creative ground - the institution that gives birth to humans. We did not bring it about ourselves.
The actual purposeful end of "same-sex marriage" is not happy gay couples being equally free in some pluralistic society where there is always a magical public square available and unassailable for the re-enchantment of the world.
Are you people stupid?
This end, and no other end, is that to which "same-sex marriage" is aimed: state-sanctioned pedophilia.
I do not mean that as a possible "wild synopsis". I do not mean that as some vague doom-saying prophecy thirty or sixty years into the future. I do not mean it in some hysterical fit, like I was saying, "Oh! So you remove the traditional definition of marriage and then what?! Huh! What then! Next there's going to be bestiality! and incest! and yadda yadda!" I do not mean it as making a correlation between homosexuals and pedophilia, as though state-sanctioned pedophilia were to be a result of practicing homosexuals.
That is not what I am saying - none of those things.
What I am saying is just this: the direct next step, which will not actually be a "step" but the goal to which same-sex marriage is just the preceding step, the actual end which is the concrete incarnation of same-sex marriage legislation, beside which there are no other ends - no "unforeseen ways the project could possibly go" - the end of same-sex marriage, the aim which has all the narrowing purpose of a telescopic sniper rifle, is state-sanctioned pedophilia.
How is that, you ask.
Well, let's talk about this: the initiation of children into adulthood by adults.
This is where we come to the meat of the matter. Again, when you hear "same-sex marriage", understand that it has nothing to do with "gay equality" or any other synonymous mixture of nice sounding words you may hear.
This is the one constant that remains to prove the timelessness of the institution of marriage after it has been "redefined": the initiation of children into adulthood by adults.
Recall how the ordering virtues of the institution of marriage are self-evident: in that they are born out of each other, such that we see it is inviolable ground which cannot be replicated.
The initiation of children into adulthood by adults has been one of non-sexual protectiveness by virtue of the existence of marriage. The initiation of children into adulthood by adults in the context of marriage is born out of procreation, which is born out of the conjugal union, which is born out of committed matrimony which requires one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others. And the adulthood into which they are being initiated is likewise born out of the inviolable ground of marriage.
But now you have just "redefined" that: just as being married is now an arbitrary "right", so it goes for everything that marriage engenders, for everything that is born out of marriage. You have a "right" to have children. It is not something born out of an inviolable precedence. It is merely a "right". So the initiation of children into adulthood by adults will be a "right".
But who are these adults, and what is this adulthood? As mentioned, that too has always had its precedence in marriage.
Whoops, you just "redefined" that. What is our cultural climate today? Well, for one, people are identified according to their "sexual orientation". What happens when this "adulthood" is known and related to in sexual terms? This isn't even hitting the tip of the tip of the iceberg.
So then, what is the nature of the initiation when what they are being initiated into is devoted to, and known by, the sexual - across the entire spectrum?
Oh yeah, those laws that protect children from sexual predation. Yeah, that too has its precedence in marriage, because it is in marriage that the non-sexual relationships of father and mother to their children are the primary home from which originates the sense of the protection of the innocent. When you remove mother and father you remove the innocence of children as something to be protected and turn it into something merely waiting to be broken in. If "mother" and "father" are the ends to which the understanding and incorporation of sex and sexuality leads, then initiation by mother and father is also protection from violation.
Oh, but mother and father - whoops, you "redefined" that. And numbers of children of the age of ten, eleven, twelve are accessing porn on the internet. Children are becoming educated about sex at earlier and earlier ages - thanks to our wonderful public school system. If children are going to be experimenting then they need a "safe environment" where they won't be exploited. They need "initiators". The initiation of children into "adulthood" by adults is now a "right".
Recall how in ancient Greece and in ancient Rome they called it "initiation rites".
Yeah, so what do you neo-cons think of that? How's that "pluralistic" society looking for you now?
Remember this quote from Cardinal Bergoglio?
“Let’s not be naïve, we’re not talking about a simple political battle; it is a destructive pretension against the plan of God. We are not talking about a mere bill, but rather a machination of the Father of Lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.”
Yeah, guess he actually knew what he was saying, didn't he.
He's not stupid. He knows exactly what's going on.
UPDATE: Bat writes lucidly about what it is we are actually defending in "defending marriage", HERE.