The high divorce rate in the United States has long been a source of great frustration to the church. It sees heterosexual marriage as the bedrock of society and exhorts its followers to stay married at any cost, but few seem to listen to the advice. With the recent Supreme Court ruling making same sex marriage legal nationwide, the most ironic development in history would be for the gay community - which has long waged a fierce battle for the right to marry - to finally show the heterosexual world how to do marriage right.
For centuries, marriage has been a boundless source of jokes for people everywhere and, some might say, the scourge of humanity. As long as heterosexuals have been the dominant practitioners, it has certainly never been a beautiful thing - despite what movies and books may suggest. Domestic violence, child abuse, infidelity, and endless conflicts between spouses over a wide range of issues are commonplace. Could the LGBT community finally demonstrate what "happily ever after" is really supposed to look like?
For most of human history, heterosexual marriages served as strategic alliances between families to strengthen international and tribal bonds, enlarge territories or protect family assets. The affected couples rarely had any say in the matter, as their families did all the negotiations. Only in the last century has the original intentions of this ancient and thoroughly practical practice been distorted by modern Western culture. Someone decided that men and women should marry because they liked each other, not because they had anything financial or strategic to gain from it. Today, only a few people openly observe the ancient tradition of marrying for personal gain, though society generally frowns upon them and calls them gold diggers.
Based on simple observations of same sex couples, it should please the church and Bible-thumping pastors everywhere to know that gays, rather than defiling the concept of modern marriage, are in fact treating it with greater respect than most heterosexual couples ever have. For example, few same sex couples have ever felt compelled to enter into a loveless marriage because of a partner's accidental pregnancy. It is also unlikely for same-sex couples to marry because they feel any type of social, religious or family pressure to do so. Pro-life advocates can also rejoice, because the possibility of same sex partners aborting an unwanted pregnancy is practically nonexistence. Almost every child born into a same sex marriage is born by choice.
Of course, it is unrealistic to expect the LGBT community to be any more or less flawed as human beings than their heterosexual brethren. Even so, with so many of the common issues that plague and destroy heterosexual marriages minimized, the rate of divorce among same sex couples could likely be lower than in the heterosexual community. That would certainly present a dilemma for the church, when their gay flocks set a better example on the subject of marriage than their heterosexual faithful.
Yet, as same sex marriages become commonplace, there may be an even bigger teachable moment for gay-fearing church leaders everywhere. They have spent a lifetime predicting cataclysmic consequences for the United States when same sex marriages become legal. As these couples openly begin to raise families next door to "regular" families and integrate themselves into society - raising perfectly normal children, attending school and social functions, fulfilling their civic duties, holding down regular jobs, and keeping neat front lawns like the rest of the neighbors - and society remains intact, the church will have some explaining to do.