Thoroughly Modern Marriage

Conservative Evangelicals, myself included, were shocked and scandalized when so-called gay marriage was legitimized by the Supreme Court in the 2015 Obergefellv. Hodges case. We should not have been. The unstoppable process leading to that case was set in motion 45 years earlier when we in the church allowed no-fault divorce to redefine the nature and purpose of marriage.

Worse yet, that terrible, sacrament-shattering act was signed into law by the California governor who would, a decade later, be elected as our favorite conservative president: Ronald Reagan. Where was the outcry when the California Family Law Act of 1969 ruled that divorce could be granted on the grounds of “irreconcilable differences”?

While some Catholics, Orthodox, and high Episcopalians resisted no-fault divorce, most Evangelicals quickly acquiesced to the new normal. No longer did a husband or wife who was feeling “unfulfilled” in his or her marriage have to prove adultery or abuse to purchase a get-out-of-jail-free card. One needed only to claim an inability to live with his spouse any longer, and the court would let him go. The abandoned spouse could complain, but in the end, he or she could do nothing to prevent the divorce.


Louis Markos , Professor in English and Scholar in Residence at Houston Baptist University, holds the Robert H. Ray Chair in Humanities. His 19 books include Lewis Agonistes; Restoring Beauty: The Good, the True, and the Beautiful in the Writings of C. S. Lewis; On the Shoulders of Hobbits: The Road to Virtue with Tolkien and Lewis; and From A to Z to Narnia with C. S. Lewis.

Print &
Online Subscription

Get six issues (one year) of Touchstone PLUS full online access including pdf downloads for only $39.95. That's only $3.34 per month!


Get a one-year full-access subscription to the Touchstone online archives for only $19.95. That's only $1.66 per month!

bulk subscriptions

Order Touchstone subscriptions in bulk and save $10 per sub! Each subscription includes 6 issues of Touchstone plus full online access to—including archives, videos, and pdf downloads of recent issues for only $29.95 each! Great for churches or study groups.

Transactions will be processed on a secure server.

more on culture from the online archives

18.2—March 2005

Long Shadows of Eden

On Conservatism as Vexation, Vanity & Near Impossibility by Graeme Hunter

32.4—July/August 2019

Malaise in Malaysia

Will Islamicization Become Its New Future by Peter Riddell

35.2—Mar/Apr 2022

Say Something

on Fatigued Christians Deciding to Engage the Culture by Keith Lowery

more from the online archives

24.1—January/February 2011

Secular Grendel

Ruminations on the Monstrous Envy of the Soul-Devouring State by Anthony Esolen

27.4—July/August 2014

The Things Freely Given

The Bible, Sacred Theology & the Mind of Christ by Patrick Henry Reardon

19.5—June 2006

The Creed We Need

On the Picture of God We Draw with Words by David Mills

calling all readers

Please Donate

"There are magazines worth reading but few worth saving . . . Touchstone is just such a magazine."
—Alice von Hildebrand

"Here we do not concede one square millimeter of territory to falsehood, folly, contemporary sentimentality, or fashion. We speak the truth, and let God be our judge. . . . Touchstone is the one committedly Christian conservative journal."
—Anthony Esolen, Touchstone senior editor

Support Touchstone