If you want to strip of word of its meaning, you don’t remove or replace its meaning. You add meanings. You add so many meanings so as to make the word unintelligible and useless as a means to convey an idea.

Marriage in the civil realm is one such word. It used to be simple. Man and a woman get together with the intention of having children. Done.

But if you just check out the media in the past week you can see how meaningless it’s become.

The Federalist reported on a New York Times story celebrating polyamory.

In 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court decided the landmark case of Obergefell v. Hodges, legalizing gay marriage in all 50 states and the District of Columbia by a 5-4 vote. Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the majority opinion for the case, didn’t seem to believe that the issue of polyamory could possibly be relevant or arise due to the court’s decision. Just eight years later, The New York Times published an article last week that celebrated Somerville, Massachusetts, as a haven for legal polyamory.

A haven for academics and hippies, the Boston suburb adopted an ordinance in 2020 granting domestic partnership rights to people in polyamorous relationships. That was followed up this spring by the passage of two more laws “extending the rights of nonmonogamous residents,” banning discrimination on the basis of “family or relationship structure” in city employment and policing. The Somerville City Council is currently considering extending the reach of that law to housing. And as the Times reports, the “nonmonogamous” are no longer unusual there.

Somerville is, in the words of one of its municipal councilors, “a very queer city.” And as the Times also makes clear, “there is a significant crossover between those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and pansexual and those who practice nonmonogamy, according to multiple studies.”

I remember when Obergefell was announced we all pointed out that this paved the way for legalized polygamy. It was obvious. Predictably, we were mocked and scorned. I don’t even care about that. We were accused of being slippery slopers. I’ve got to be honest, just pointing out the consequences of an action isn’t a slippery slope argument. But let’s be clear, we’re totally on a slippery slope that’s bordering on being a cliff.

So, now marriage can mean one man and a woman, one man and a man, one woman and a woman, as well as many men with many men many women and/or many women with many men. But if that’s not enough definitions for you, we also have the solo marriage.

CNN recently reported:

Brittany Rist walked down the aisle in a dress and a white veil to the song, “Girl.”

“Girl, perfectly her, broken and hurt,” crooned artist SMYL in a falsetto. “Shake off the night and don’t hide your face.”

It was Rist’s wedding. But there was no beaming partner waiting at the altar.

Wearing a rose-colored dress, the 34-year-old read her vows alone in front of a mirror in her backyard. She’d accepted her own proposal and given herself a ring. Instead of a spouse, a red velvet cake awaited her, next to a bottle of Champagne.

Rist said “I do” to herself, and committed to loving herself for better or worse.

“I vow to never settle or abandon myself in a romantic partnership ever again,” she told her reflection in the mirror. “I vow to honor my calling and live life as a work of art.”

Rist did not have an officiant or guests at her self-wedding, and toasted herself at a solo reception.

Months before the event, which she calls a “soul commitment ceremony,” she had separated from her son’s father after nine years together. She’d started working on healing her inner self, taken a vow of celibacy and signed up for therapy.

And that afternoon in November 2021, at her home in Ozark, Missouri, she punctuated her self-love journey with a statement of self-appreciation.

“I realized (that) in love and in relationships with other people, I wasn’t fully showing up and loving myself through that process, which made it really difficult to receive love from others,” she says. “We pour all of this time and money and energy into marrying other people, and we don’t ever pour that back into ourselves.”

As part of her self discovery, she decided to commit to herself.

Sorta’ funny what makes news nowadays, huh? Churches and pro-life centers are being torched and vandalized and the media yawns. But some daft bimbo decides to doll herself up for an evening of self-affirmation and it’s instantly a national event.

Kinda’ tells you about their priorities, huh?

So marriage can now also mean self affirmation or you’re a one person member of your own cheerleading squad. Civil marriage has been made meaningless in the public sphere. And don’t think this doesn’t have an impact. It does.

The good news in this mess is that eventually people will look for meaning. They will not be able to find it in the public sphere so they will be forced to look past the civil systems and toward religion. That’s why it’s so important for the Church to stand strong against this tide of insanity. We must preserve truth for future generations so they have something to hold on to as they’re drowning in meaninglessness.

The Church must be that lifeline. Pray that she stands strong.