A bit of background on Evans' ideas: abuse and control stem from a refusal to recognize another person as separate from oneself. She uses an example of a husband who, when out to dinner with his wife, flew into a rage and yelled at her when she ordered linguine. This is, clearly, irrational. But his perception of reality was that this woman ought to know what he was thinking- in this case, that he wanted to order a pizza for them to split. He hadn't said anything, but rather assumed that she agreed with him. Evans describes controlling people as needing to feel that the people closest to them- whether that be their spouse, their best friend, employees, or childhood imaginary friend- share all of their thoughts, feelings, opinions and preferences. This one-mindedness is a basis for their security, and allows them to anchor their sense of personal safety in the agreement of the other. They define that person, and decide what that person's inner reality is like. As long as that other person is just there to validate their experience of the world, everything is okay. Acts of independence, on the other hand, are disruptive to that sense of security, because they don't reinforce that person's expectations of the nature of their external world (or even their internal world, as the controller sees the other as an extension of themselves). So, even something as innocuous as ordering linguine can prompt fear and rage in the one attempting to control.
(That's my best shot at a one-paragraph summary of a complex and insightful book. I recommend reading it yourself.)
It's easy to see how this applies to the ruling on gay marriage. Cracked.com weighed in on how the ruling affected various groups of people, going over how it affected various homosexual marriages of different status in different states, then proceeded with a long list of people it did not affect ("If you are currently in a heterosexual marriage" "If you are a member of a church that performs marriage ceremonies but does not believe in gay marriage" "If you are an individual who believes gay marriage or homosexuality in general is wrong for non-religious reasons, and wish to continue expressing those beliefs" etc.), and then concluded with this:
If You Are a Heterosexual Who Suffers Anger or Anxiety at the Thought of Gay Couples Getting Married as an Abstract Concept, and Believes the Only Cure Is to Legally Prevent Gay Marriage:
This decision will cause you some degree of anger or anxiety. Otherwise, this decision does not affect you in any way
I think that really cuts to the heart of the matter. Why is it that half the country gets so worked up over something that really does not materially affect them? Why do we feel the need to dictate what they can and cannot do? It seems so strange to take a step back and look at it like that, and it doesn't really make sense.
I think Evans describes the dynamic at play here perfectly, though. We in the church (or elsewhere) grew up knowing that homosexuality was wrong, that it was a sin, and that marriage was meant to be between a man and a woman only. The very idea that there were gay people getting married, then, was a threat to that worldview, and if that was okay, then it was destabilizing to our very being. We defined ourselves by what we knew about how people should and should not behave, and when others began to behave or demand the right to behave differently, we had to fight back or risk losing a part of ourselves. It's not an excuse for the extreme anger and vitriol that has flowed from right to left on this issue. But maybe it's the beginning of a satisfying answer to the question that so often gets asked: "Why do you care so much about what other people do with their lives?"
I'm not writing this to change anyone's mind; rather, it's a reflection that allows me to sort out my own thoughts on these matters. I'm also not willing to make a call on whether homosexuality is right or wrong; rather, I'm saying that it's for each person to decide for themselves. Much like a parent cannot make a teenager share their beliefs by forcing them to go to church, the government cannot be used to change people's declared or experienced sexuality by outlawing gay marriage. These decisions are between a person and God, and trying to interfere with that only causes bitterness, resentment and division. Like many Biblical truths, allowing for free will is not something to believe 'just because'; in a practical sense, it's what gives us the best chance at a fulfilling, healing, and loving existence.