Spring snow will always melt away. When the last thin covering of snow is pulled back, the green shoots will finally stretch a bit, rise up and lift their grateful faces toward the sun. For the skeptic who ponders the mystery of pain and suffering in the life of man, the eternal return of spring is proof that there is always more good than evil in this world.

Earlier generations spoke of the settling of America as the planting of a vine in the wilderness. Hence the first American settlement was called Plymouth Plantation. Those who made this planting understood that a democracy depends on the virtue of the people, since virtue is as essential to self-rule as water, sunlight and soil are to the life of a plant.

No one can claim that ours is a virtuous society. The public looks with suspicion at each and every presidential candidate. One candidate is seen as boastful and proud, an abuser of women. Rumors of infidelity swirl about another candidate. Yet another is distrusted for wrongdoing in an official capacity.

And if we peer into the many deep cracks and fissures that now rend the fabric of our society — the opposition of left versus right, rich versus poor, man versus woman — we will see that our society has been poisoned at the root. The life-giving root of society is of course the relationship between man and woman on which the propagation and proper ordering of society depends.

For that reason, I have spent a lifetime defending the proposition that all sex outside of marriage is immoral. I vigorously opposed and will continue to oppose such concepts as sexual liberation, gay marriage, polyamory, pansexuailty and the “hook up culture.”

I recently received a cold blast from David Farmer in the form of a commentary in opposition to my seeking to repeal the 2005 gay rights law. It was the first blast in what will be an avalanche of criticism against me. Rather than examine the complicated legal and ethical issues involved, Farmer took the easy rhetorical road. He personalized the issue and painted me as an extremist eager to rob people of their freedoms. But I am not an extremist. I am a working Mainer who drives a van for the poor and the sick. The only power I bring is the power of truth.

But far be it from me to tell the people of Maine who is really robbing them of their freedom. It is better to let the chief justice of the Supreme Court speak in this matter. Chief Justice John Roberts, in his dissenting opinion in the Obergefell case on June 26, 2015 (my 33rd wedding anniversary), which legalized homosexual marriage throughout the United States, said:

“The majority’s decision is an act of will … not legal judgment. The right it announces has no basis in the Constitution or this Court’s precedent. Those who founded our country would not recognize the majority’s conception of the judicial role. They after all risked their lives and fortunes for the precious right to govern themselves. They would never have imagined yielding that right on a question of social policy to unaccountable and unelected judges.”

The decision in the Obergefell case was not merely incoherent; it was utterly and thoroughly perverse in the original meaning of that word — “twisted.” Extending a nonexistent right for members of the same sex to marry, in combination with a so-called gay rights law, has the effect of robbing the people of the United States of the most fundamental right of all, the right to act in accordance with one’s conscience.

Depriving Christian shop owners of their livelihood for refusing to bake a rainbow-colored cake for a gay “wedding,” is simply stated, persecution. If society yields to the pressure of the homosexual rights movement and chooses to regard homosexuality not as an intrinsic evil, but as a positive good, worse persecutions are sure to follow. Corporations and celebrities boycotting a state that restricts transgender bathroom use — as is now being done in North Carolina — is more than a widening fault line in an impending social catastrophe. It is a moral sinkhole.

Life and health can still be recovered for America. It is not too late. Our society can flourish once again, but only by restoring virtue.

Michael S. Heath drives a medical van for a county agency in Maine and serves as president of the Equal Rights not Special Rights PAC.