Finding hope beyond the media and the Supreme Court
by Cordell Asbenson
Posted on Tuesday, April 9, 2013, at 2:48 pm
WASHINGTON, D.C.—I got in line at the U.S. Supreme Court at 10 p.m. on Saturday, March 23, and settled in for a long, cold, and overall unpleasant night of sleep. I was waiting to be one of the 70 members of the general public allowed in to hear oral arguments on Hollingsworth v. Perry regarding California’s Proposition 8—a state constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. I knew it would be historic for America. I didn’t know it would also change my life.
I’m an intern at the Family Research Council (FRC), but even so, I am usually uncomfortable discussing same-sex marriage with people who disagree with Scripture. I worry about getting shot down because my arguments, while true, would seem foolish. I often feel like speaking out is pointless.
So the next morning I watched as Lance, my roommate, began discussing the issue with several homosexual men and activists in line with us. When they mentioned Scripture, he asked, “Where in the Bible does God talk about gay marriage in a positive light?” That defused their arguments and they quickly changed the subject.
Later that day reporters besieged Lance and me and our fellow FRC interns, wanting interviews. It wasn’t hard to figure out why—we were the only ones in line willing to talk about our support of biblical marriage. We gave 50 interviews to, among others, Fox News, CNN, NPR, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and even the BBC.
It was not easy. In front of cameras, with lights shining in our faces, we said we were Christians, that same-sex marriage is morally wrong, and that socially, gay marriage would destroy the institution of marriage.
On Tuesday, when we got up to finally go in to the Supreme Court to hear the arguments, I walked past the rows of cameras and the crowd calling for “equality.”
Once inside, the court’s audience was mostly gay rights activists, and when the arguments began they looked excited and hopeful. Our side was feeling unsure and apprehensive. But when the arguments ended, those supporting marriage “equality” were downcast and uncomfortable, while those in favor of traditional marriage were smiling, laughing, and optimistic.
Justice Anthony Kennedy, widely regarded as the swing vote on the issue, had seemed to agree with the lawyer arguing in favor Proposition 8’s constitutionality, while the more liberal justices asked few difficult questions.
On the other hand, conservative Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Antonin Scalia seemed displeased with the answers they received from the lawyers arguing against Proposition 8. Near the end Scalia leaned back in his chair with a look that seemed to say, “This is pointless.” Justice Samuel Alito Jr. noted that traditional marriage has been around for thousands of years while gay marriage is younger than cell phones. Our prospects seemed pretty good.
But when the arguments concluded and I left the courtroom, I felt again like a sheep among wolves. Hundreds of people outside held signs and screamed for “equality.” One sign, carried by an individual dressed in pink netting, wearing horns, and holding a cross, said, “I bet hell is fabulous.”
I couldn’t help feeling sad and disappointed. It seemed like the forces of truth had given up, that the media had declared victory and our troops had gone home.
But as I walked down the steps of the Supreme Court I realized the battle is not over.
I had watched the court ask questions and respond to arguments in such a way that gave me more hope than I have had since 2008. The March for Marriage that happened during the arguments had more participants in it than those screaming in front of the Supreme Court.
Many in the media continue to tell us we have no hope, but we do have hope.
I’ve been learning the last few months that the reactions I usually fear are exactly what I ought to expect from the world. Think of Noah, or the prophets, or the disciples. They spoke the truth and the world hated them for it, and God blessed them. “If the world hates you,” said Jesus, “keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own.”
Our job is to be bold, to not be afraid of what others might say. God is with us and, no matter what the Supreme Court decides, in the end we know who wins.
Cordell is an intern at the Family Research Council.