A Conservative Case for Gay Marriage

How banning gay marriage encourages big-government thinking.

Theodore Olson has entered the fray over Virginia’s ban on gay marriage. Olson, a powerhouse Republican lawyer who helped keep Al Gore out of the White House, is joining forces with the ACLU (which is challenging the ban in a separate suit) and what those on the right like to call the “homosexual lobby.” This adds a big wrinkle to the standard left/right narrative, and raises a question: Is there a conservative case for gay marriage?

There certainly is a liberal one: Diversity is great, which means gay people are great – so if they want to marry, that’s great too! Besides, you’re not supposed to discriminate against anybody. (Except conservative Christians, because they’re so judgmental and icky.)

There is also a libertarian argument for gay marriage, which is equally straightforward: Short of actually shooting somebody in the face, individuals should be able to do pretty much whatever they want (except criticize the novels of Ayn Rand, no matter how hilariously bad her prose). If that means two burly lumberjacks get to pick out china patterns together – hey, go for it.

Most everyone also knows the conservative argument against gay marriage: God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. Plus, look at these pictures from the San Francisco gay-pride parade we found on the Internet. Dude, are you seriously gonna stand up for those freaks?

Olson has. With Democratic lawyer David Boies, he successfully challenged California’s ban on gay marriage. In 2010, Olson penned a piece for Newsweek explaining his version of “The Conservative Case for Gay Marriage.” He pointed out that “same-sex unions promote the values conservatives prize” – such as commitment, stable families, and “thinking beyond one’s own needs.” Moreover, gay marriage follows from the “bedrock American principle of equality.” If you believe in the values of the Declaration and the Constitution, then you believe in equal rights, and “marriage is one of the most fundamental rights that we have as Americans.”

Those are good reasons. But they are not the only reasons conservatives might accept gay marriage. Here are five more.

(1) Gay marriage is good for “the institution of marriage.”

If you think marriage is a valuable cultural institution, and you worry about its decline in contemporary America, then you should welcome a reform that would shore up that institution against erosion. Just as the institution of banking is stronger with many participants rather than few, having more marriages rather than fewer is better for the institution of marriage.

Granted, you can push this argument too far. The institution of marriage would not be strengthened by “marriages” joining, say, cats and mice in holy matrimony. But those unions do not entail any intent to participate in the institution; cats and mice are not buying in to any set of values when people pretend to marry them off. When gay people seek to marry, however, they do intend to participate in marriage, and they do buy in to a (conservative) value set.

(2) Gay marriage fosters virtue.

Social conservatives believe sexual promiscuity is bad for the body and corrosive to the soul – that the sexual revolution’s encouragement of licentiousness has degraded social norms and debased our common virtue. If they are right about that, then allowing  homosexuals to enter lifetime monogamy ought to be altogether desirable – just as it is desirable for heterosexuals, and for the same reasons.

(3) Gay marriage benefits children.

In his 2012 book A Fundamental Freedom: Why Republicans, Conservatives, and Libertarians Should Support Gay Rights, David Lampo notes that “over a quarter of a million children are living with same-sex couples.” Forbidding those couples to marry does not spirit their children away from them into the arms of straight couples (which likely would be awful for those children anyway). All it does, as the ACLU points out, is deny those children “the protection and stability of having parents who are married.”

But how do those children fare compared with children raised by straight couples? “There is no evidence that gay parents are any less effective or loving than heterosexual ones,” Lampo writes. In fact, some studies (such as one conducted by the University of Melbourne) show children raised by gay couples are better off by some measures (e.g., family cohesion) and no worse off in others (e.g., self-esteem). According to the Supreme Court, voluminous research indicates that children raised by gay or lesbian couples “are as likely as children raised by heterosexual parents to be healthy, successful and well-adjusted.”

(4) Banning gay marriage injects government where it doesn’t belong.

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  • mr simple||

    Government shutdown means everyone's gettin gay married. Is there no harm the teastructionist ratpublicans won't visit on us to serve their Koch masters?

  • anon||

    The sad part is that someone out there believes this shit.

  • sarcasmic||

    Until you can show me some same sex couple who is jailed for the crime of gay marriage, STFU about it being "banned" or something to "legalize."

  • anon||

    Why do you teathuglicans hate fags so much!?

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    What utter dreck. Seriously, you have been engaging in this sophistry on the subject for months now despite the fact that what is being discussed has been more than adequately explained to you. You're just being willfully ignorant.

    In States where gay marriage is illegal, the clerks of counties and those who solemnize illegal marriages face fines and jail time. These are facts.

  • sarcasmic||

    Show me an example, Randian.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

  • sarcasmic||

    A 1997 state law declares it a Class D felony to submit false information on a marriage license

    That's not what I asked for.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    The law also penalizes a clergyman, judge, mayor, city clerk or town clerk-treasurer who solemnizes a marriage between two people of the same gender. Those who conduct a gay marriage ceremony can be charged with a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
  • anon||

    Until you can show me some same sex couple who is jailed for the crime of gay marriage,

    I'm betting Sarcasmic is still waiting. Or probably not, he's probably looking at pron.

  • Loki||

    he's probably looking at pron.

    NTTAWWT, right? I mean, this is still H&R, I haven't accidentally wondered into some wierd Bizarro world, have I?

  • sarcasmic||

    For submitting fraudulent paperwork, not for getting married. And you accuse me of sophistry? Fucking derp!

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    I said:

    In States where gay marriage is illegal, the clerks of counties and those who solemnize illegal marriages face fines and jail time. These are facts.

    And you asked for an example. I provided you with an example. What's the problem here?

  • sarcasmic||

    In States where gay marriage is illegal not legally recognized, the clerks of counties and those who solemnize illegal marriages fill out fraudulent paperwork face fines and jail time. These are facts.

    There. I made it honest for you.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    The law also penalizes a clergyman, judge, mayor, city clerk or town clerk-treasurer who solemnizes a marriage between two people of the same gender.
  • sarcasmic||

    The penalty is for signing and submitting fraudulent paperwork, not performing the ceremony.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Your argument is like saying, "you can contract to buy and sell slaves, it's just the government won't recognize your contract!"

    Uhh, for most people, when the government refuses to enforce your contract, that makes the contract "illegal".

  • sarcasmic||

    I gave you a chance to be honest. You blew it. Toodles!

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Uh...ok.

  • Calidissident||

    Not to mention any foreign same-sex spouse will not be allowed in, or get throw out of the country if they do come, because their marriage isn't recognized by the government.

  • Thomas O.||

    We almost had this in Texas. Not too long ago Governor Rick Roosevelt wanted to lock up JOP's for performing gay marriages, which would be a felony.

  • Square||

    People can have ceremonies and refer to each other as being "married."

    This used to be the way it worked for everyone, but now this has no meaning - a marriage has to be legally recognized by the state in order to "count."

    Gay marriages don't count. The issue is not that gay people are being thrown in jail - it's that they don't have the right to have the same legally recognized marriages as other people.

  • sarcasmic||

    Legally recognized! Woo hoo! Someone is honest!

  • Old Dave||

    "Gay marriages don't count. The issue is not that gay people are being thrown in jail - it's that they don't have the right to have the same legally recognized marriages as other people."

    Well, gay marriages do indeed "count". They just don't "count" in the eyes of the government.

    I've been married to my partner since 1989. In our eyes, we're just as married as the other people on our street. The problem is that the government doesn't recognize the marriage and we, hence, don't benefit from all the questionable privileges that straight couples enjoy based on the government's largess.

    For years now, I've begged other gay couples to adopt that attitude. Quit BEGGING for the right to get married like a dog begging for a cookie. We already have the right. Instead, demand that the fucking government recognize our rights.

  • Square||

    Yes - or stop granting special privileges to heterosexual married couples.

  • ||

    Yes - or stop granting special privileges to heterosexual married couples.

    That's so crazy it just might work...

  • sarcasmic||

    Quit BEGGING for the right to get married like a dog begging for a cookie. We already have the right. Instead, demand that the fucking government recognize our rights.

    Well put.

  • Austrian Anarchy||


    Until you can show me some same sex couple who is jailed for the crime of gay marriage, STFU about it being "banned" or something to "legalize."

    You will be waiting a long time for any evidence, or for the chatterboxes to STFU. Truth is, the only people who get arrested for being married in the US now are Fundamentalist Mormons. No other types of spouses are arrested for any sort of illicit marriage.

    Communal gays go unmolested by the state, just as monogamous heterosexuals and monogamous gays are left alone by the state.

    The so-called "Conservative" version of gay marriage requires government approval for the relationship. Unfortunately, many a libertarian has fallen for this version too.

  • Paul.||

    But is there a gay case for conservatism?

  • Square||

    I know lots of gay Republicans. It's not widely advertised, because it plays against the national images of both parties.

  • sarcasmic||

    I have gay friends who believe marriage is between one man and one woman! I've been told that that's unpossible, but I can assure you that it's true!

  • Square||

    Very true - I also know gay guys who are insulted by the whole gay marriage thing. In their opinion, marriage goes against the whole point.

    I suppose in the end you have to do what oppresses the fewest people.

  • Killazontherun||

    Is there a conservative case for gay marriage?

    I remember an Andrew Sullivan essay in the New Republic back when he was running that outfit in the early 90s likely with this same title. His argument was filled with so much priss pot sanctimony it almost turned me against gay marriage as I was reading it. Then I remembered to ask myself, 'how does this harm me?' which settled the matter much more satisfyingly than the Byzantine qualifiers painted up so prettily in his essay.

  • ||

    Then I remembered to ask myself, 'how does this harm me?'

    At which point you realized the entire institution of civil marriage was a gossamer veil for transferring wealth from people of one lifestyle to people of another lifestyle, recognized the entire construct as the horrifying fraud that it is, and wondered who in the hell ever decided this was a legitimate function of any government, right?

  • Square||

    Greetings, friend.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Yes, a former lawyer for - wait for it - George W. Bush supports SSM! And he's a Republican! What are you conservatives waiting for - get on the bandwagon!

    "Most everyone also knows the conservative argument against gay marriage: God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. Plus, look at these pictures from the San Francisco gay-pride parade we found on the Internet. Dude, are you seriously gonna stand up for those freaks?"

    Really? In other words, you're going to mock and misrepresent the conservative argument against SSM in the course of an article asking conservatives to support your cause? Seriously? Yeah, you've sure made an accurate summary of the arguments of (say) Robert George! You know who he is, I suppose?

    Oh, and I missed the part where you give assurances to conservatives that supporting SSM won't mean violating the rights of florists, photographers, and other businesses? I mean, I know there's arguments that it won't have this effect - the H&R commenters have made such arguments - but shouldn't you yourself tackle the subject in an article supposedly aimed at conservatives?

    I think this article doesn't really seem to even attempt to engage conservatives - it's more like an onanistic "you conservatives are so dumb for not agreeing with me" kind of article.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    I am just going to make this copypasta for these articles from here forward:

    "Libertarians who support gay marriage would ultimately like to see the state get out of marriage entirely. That said, if the state is going administer licensure and benefits, it ought to administer them equally. Moreover, endorsement of gay marriage does not mean libertarians endorse violations of freedom of association."

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Uh, this is an article aimed at conservatives, not libertarians. It asks conservatives to jump on the SSM bandwagon, and tries to use what the author sincerely believes to be conservative principles to make his case.

    In those terms, the article fails.

  • sarcasmic||

    endorsement of gay marriage does not mean libertarians endorse violations of freedom of association

    Talk about sophistry.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    So yes you're just going to be willfully ignorant.

  • sarcasmic||

    Willfully ignorant that the case for redefining marriage was built on civil rights, on violating freedom of association. Sure, Randian. Whatever you say.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    "Libertarians who support gay marriage would ultimately like to see the state get out of marriage entirely. That said, if the state is going administer licensure and benefits, it ought to administer them equally. Moreover, endorsement of gay marriage does not mean libertarians endorse violations of freedom of association."

  • sarcasmic||

    endorsement of gay marriage does not mean libertarians endorse violations of freedom of association

    Do you know what "de facto" means?

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    You can use that argument against anything libertarians favor. Literally anything.

    "Drug legalization will de facto result in a swelling of the welfare rolls"

    "Immigration will de facto result in an increased burden on public services"

    It's a nonsense argument that holds one freedom hostage because of the existence of an injustice somewhere else.

    What rankles is that a lot of people have told you this literally hundreds of times now, but you just keep going on being ignorant by choice.

  • sarcasmic||

    "Immigration will de facto result in an increased burden on public services"

    I happen to agree with Milton Friedman on that one, even if you think he was an ignorant dufus for holding that opinion.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    It doesn't matter whether it will or it won't. Using the existence of an Injustice Over There to justify the existence of an Injustice Right Here isn't a fair form of argumentation.

    I support those parts of the 1964 CRA that demand governments treat their citizens equally. I understand the 1964 CRA also violates freedom of association. I can believe in the former and eschew the latter and be totally consistent (and correct).

  • sarcasmic||

    Support and eschew what you will. The CRA here to stay, regardless. So supporting SSM in the name of Civil Rights supports violating freedom of association. Whether you mean to or not. That funny thing about intentions and results...

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Only if you dishonestly conflate the two, which i see you're going to persist in doing so you can "win" or something.

  • sarcasmic||

    They're part of the same piece of legislation, and neither is going away. You're trying to have your cake and eat it too.

  • Square||

    Just to inject my two cents here, I think what is getting under sarcasmic's skin is the implication that, for example, Catholic priests will be forced to perform marriages for gay people even though they believe that doing so would be a direct violation of their vows.

    I personally support the rights of gay people to marry, but I also support the right of a Catholic priest to not perform the ceremony.

    It would be naive to think that this is not going to be the next step in the debate once gay marriage is nationally recognized, and I think sarcasmic's concerns this way are absolutely legitimate.

    I do also agree with NL, though, that this fear, while legitimate, is not sufficient to avoid addressing the problem of one group not being granted the same rights as another.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    It's fine to conjecture that may be the next step, but I don't think that means (as you say) that conjecture can be used to indirectly accuse gay-marriage-supporting libertarians of violating freedom of association. They're explicitly advocating no such thing.

  • Square||

    I never directly or indirectly accused gay-marriage supporting libertarians of violating freedom of association.

    I said it would be naive to ignore the fact that this is going to be an issue.

  • sarcasmic||

    I said it would be naive to ignore the fact that this is going to be an issue.

    Shhhhhhhhhh! When you criticize the results you are questioning the intentions! The intentions are pure! Pure I tell you! Puuuuuurrrrreeeee!

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    sarcasmic, you seem to have missed something:

    I do also agree with NL, though, that this fear, while legitimate, is not sufficient to avoid addressing the problem of one group not being granted the same rights as another.
  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    I agree with you, Square.

  • Square||

    Thanks.

    I actually think you and sarcasmic agree with each other in the end. It seems mostly like a disagreement over which path to take and where it leads over any fundamental disgreement on the principles involved, but I may be misinterpreting.

  • Calidissident||

    sarcasmic, whatever accusations you can make against libertarians who prefer gay marriage to the status quo can just as easily be made against libertarians like yourself that prefer limiting marriage licenses to straight people.

  • sarcasmic||

    Thing is, whatever Randian says, I left the SSM bandwagon when the legal argument took a Civil Rights turn, and the proponents got all giddy about who they were going to sue. I don't give a shit if Randian doesn't want to sue anyone. Fact of the matter is that the proponents have explicitly said that they want to use the courts to punish those who do not agree with them.

    I can't support that.

  • Calidissident||

    Define "proponents" - as you can see from this thread, clearly not every proponent favors what you describe. Furthermore, I don't see how opposing anti-discrimination laws requires opposing gay marriage. That's like saying that opposing racial anti-discrimination laws in the 60s required supporting Jim Crow.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Thank you, Calidissident.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    don't give a shit if Randian doesn't want to sue anyone. Fact of the matter is that the proponents have explicitly said that they want to use the courts to punish those who do not agree with them.

    I'm a proponent and I don't want to use the courts to punish anybody. This is why having to repeat this 1,000 times is so annoying: you know this and you say it anyway.

  • sarcasmic||

    Reason commentariat is not exactly a representative sample of general opinion.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    So then why were you accusing me of "sophistry" earlier when I stated an easily-understood and oft-repeated point of view?

  • sarcasmic||

    Regardless of your intentions, you are enabling those who want to use the courts to punish those who disagree with them.

    I refuse to do that.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    en·a·ble
    enˈābəl/
    verb
    1.
    give (someone or something) the authority or means to do something.

    I am giving no one means nor authority to do anything. I am explicitly denying them the moral authority to do so.

  • sarcasmic||

    I am explicitly denying them the moral authority to do so.

    The CRA trumps your good intentions.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    There's only so many ways I can repeat myself until I decide you're being willfully obtuse.

    Like Cali said, you're doing the same thing you accuse everyone else of doing. By advocating in favor of opposite-sex marriage only, you're enabling the preservation of discrimination and special favors to a chosen elite.

  • sarcasmic||

    And by using force of government to redefine marriage, you are not only shitting on something that many consider to be sacred, you're adding injury to insult by allowing them to be sued for those same beliefs.
    If it was really about equality under the law, then perhaps some compromise could have been reached that gave equivalent legal protections while preserving the meaning of marriage. Oh yeah. We're talking about lefttards here. Compromise means they get everything that they want and fuck everyone else. That's one of the many reasons as to why I have nothing but contempt lefttards, and very little respect for their supporters.

  • Square||

    If you have religious / spiritual beliefs about marriage, why would you let a government definition of marriage influence your opinion?

  • sarcasmic||

    Government definitions are backed up with force. There is no choice in the matter.

  • Calidissident||

    "And by using force of government to redefine marriage,"

    You're the one using force to define marriage in the first place. Do you not understand what we mean when we say that all of your arguments apply just as easily to yourself?

  • Calidissident||

    Why does that matter? The fact that many gay marriage supporters have unlibertarian views on anti-discrimination laws doesn't mean it's unlibertarian to support gay marriage. That's an ad hominem

  • Square||

    I can't support that either, but there is still the matter of a significant percentage of the population that is not being granted the same rights as another portion of the population.

    It seems like either the privileges associated with heterosexual marriage need to be eliminated, or those privileges need to be extended to any "marriage contract" regardless of who the people involved are.

    I actually see polygamy as a related issue. Viewed in terms of contract law, what right does the government have to tell me who I can and can't contract with and what word I'm allowed to apply to describe that contract?

  • sarcasmic||

    I wouldn't go so far as to say a "significant percentage," because not all homosexuals even want it.

  • Calidissident||

    Define "significant." Is it ok if the government screws over 0.1% of the population (300,000 people), because they're not a "significant percentage?"

  • Square||

    True - perhaps a less significant percentage, but isn't the whole point of the Bill of Rights that groups aren't to have their rights violated just because the group is small?

  • Marshall Gill||

    I am convinced. Expansion of government for "fairness" is good. Excluding people from benefits that others receive is anti-Libertarian.

    Food stamps for all!! Medicare and Social Security checks for everyone! Since neither of these unlibertarian programs will ever go away, I support "fairness" for everyone. It isn't fair to discriminate against some people based upon their sexual orientation age or income.

  • Calidissident||

    Marriage licenses may confer positive rights in some instances, and I oppose those, and support eliminating marriage licenses, but comparing to SS or Medicare or food stamps is stupid. There are times where marriage licenses secure negative rights.

    Fairness in how the government operates is a libertarian value. Discriminating on income in a social welfare program, or by age in a retirement program that everyone will be eligible for (notwithstanding the assumption that the money is there) when they reach that age, is not the same thing as discriminating on far more arbitrary characteristics like gender configuration of people applying for a license.

    Just how far does this logic go? Is it preferable to limit marriage licenses just to intraracial couples? Or couples where the age gap is less than 10 years? Is it preferable to make it so only Asians (or any other racial or ethnic group) are eligible for welfare benefits?

  • Marshall Gill||

    There are times where marriage licenses secure negative rights.

    Name one.

  • Marshall Gill||

    Discriminating on income in a social welfare program, or by age in a retirement program that everyone will be eligible for (notwithstanding the assumption that the money is there) when they reach that age, is not the same thing as discriminating on far more arbitrary characteristics like gender configuration of people applying for a license.

    Age discrimination and wealth discrimination are, like, totally different from sexual orientation discrimination? They don't apply some arbitrary number to either age or income, oh, yes they do. How is it different, again?

    Is it preferable to limit marriage licenses just to intraracial couples?

    Science you have a large supply of strawmen. Don't you get the idea that it is preferable for the government to not be issuing licenses for personal relationships? Should "libertarians" favor an increase in the subsidy for Obamacarousel because it also excludes people based upon some arbitrary number?

    Should we expand SS to include those under 62? What about all of those people who are really tired and hurting and want to retire but are only 60? IT'S NOT FAIR!

  • Square||

    I think you're missing the point almost everyone here is making.

    It's not about government handouts. It's about basic family rights.

    The fact is that federal and state law treats married people differently than non-married people in all kinds of ways. Refusing to recognize marriage when the people involved in the marriage are gay just doesn't make any legal sense under the Constitution.

    Maybe the government needs to just stop recognizing marriage as a legal status - would that be "libertarian" enough for you?

  • Marshall Gill||

    the government needs to just stop recognizing marriage as a legal status - would that be "libertarian" enough for you?

    There is no other "libertarian" position. The government adjudicating the terms of individual contracts is libertarian. The government recognizing personal relationships isn't libertarian. The government writing vast contracts for classes of people isn't libertarian, either. Pretty sure that the governments ability to change those same "contracts" without the consent or even knowledge of those involved in the "contract" isn't libertarian either.

  • Square||

    I think we all agree, then.

  • elfprince13||

    The only case that's needed: C.S. Lewis on "Christian Marriage" in Mere Christianity. """Before leaving the question of divorce, I should like to distinguish two things which are very often confused. The Christian conception of marriage is one: the other is the quite different question — how far Christians, if they are voters or Members of Parliament, ought to try to force their views of marriage on the rest of the community by embodying them in the divorce laws. A great many people seem to think that if you are a Christian yourself you should try to make divorce difficult for every one. I do not think that. At least I know I should be very angry if the Mahommedans tried to prevent the rest of us from drinking wine. My own view is that the Churches should frankly recognise that the majority of the British people are not Christians and, therefore, cannot be expected to live Christian lives. There ought to be two distinct kinds of marriage: one governed by the State with rules enforced on all citizens, the other governed by the Church with rules enforced by her on her own members. The distinction ought to be quite sharp, so that a man knows which couples are married in a Christian sense and which are not."""

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    In Lewis's defense, he was an Anglican.

  • Square||

    In defense of Lewis and Anglicanism, they both recognize the crucial importance of separating church and state - even when you have a state church.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Indeed, I think that certain religious doctrines as to marriage should be disregarded by the government of a country with a strict official policy of religious neutrality.

    For instances, Catholic canon law recognizes certain divorces for religious reasons.* I would say that the secular government should *not* recognize divorce in these situations, and should continue to define the couple in question as still married.

    In other words, countries like the U.S. should be *less* tolerant of divorce than the Catholic Church.

    *If two non-Christians get married, and one spouse becomes Christian, and the other spouse responds by deserting or oppressing the Christian spouse, the Christian spouse can get a divorce.

  • Brett L||

    I'm sorry, did you just suggest that abusive relationships should be enforced by the state when one party wishes to end it? Because if not, you'll need to clarify your footnote.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    No, to paraphrase G K Chesterton, I'm not saying that the state would (in practice) meddle with adults who discreetly move out of the marital home to get another "relationship" that's more fulfilling, I'm simply saying that the govt shouldn't recognize the new relationship until your old spouse is dead.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Why should this be the state of the law? I see no good reason for it.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    And if one spouse mistreats the other, the government can address the situation without granting a divorce - eg, a decree of separation from bread and board, requiring the guilty spouse to support the other, letting the innocent spouse have the children, etc.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Again, I ask you, "why?"

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Hi, there, NK! Good to see ya!

  • Marshall Gill||

    If the government has the power to decide who is married, don't they also have the power to decide who is divorced?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I was trying to show that the "don't impose your religion on me, man" argument isn't necessarily an argument for more "liberalized" divorce laws.

  • Square||

    I think I get it - sort of like how supposedly in Islam all you have to do is say "we're divorced" three times in order to be divorced.

    With total church-state separation, the "religious" marriage may be nullifed by this ritual, but the "legal" marriage is unaffected - i.e. the state may impose more rigorous requirements for divorce than the religion, if it wants to.

  • Marshall Gill||

    sort of like how supposedly in Islam all you have to do is say "we're divorced" three times in order to be divorced

    Look at the tiny requirements necessary for "common law" marriage. You do not have to show any real intent for a lifetime contract except for a joint checking account and calling yourself Mr. & Mrs. I know a couple of people who had to go to divorce court for "common law marriages". One won but the other lost, leaving him to pay alimony to a woman who he had lived with but never married.

  • elfprince13||

    Wait, what exactly are we defending him from? He's a theological role-model for most conservative evangelicals who also gave a phenomenal defense for the separation of church and state in his book (which is one of the de facto handbooks for lay apologetics among at least 3 generations of evangelical Christians).

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "You conservatives like George W. Bush, right? Well, Bush (or one of his former lawyers, or a former member of his administration) wants to (pick one) (a) recognize SSM, (b) expand Medicare, (c) challenge the Tea Party candidates in primaries, so you conservatives should get on board!"

  • Square||

    Just to support a comment you made above without getting buried in the NL-sarcasmic feud going on:

    Yes, this article presents itself as trying to appeal to conservatives at the same time that it takes such a self-satisfied liberal finger-wagging tone.

    Yet, he doesn't pause to consider that if you think homosexuality is wrong, every single one of his points sucks.

    So, what is the intent here?

  • Drake||

    Here's my case for gay marriage: Who gives a shit?

    And if you hate them, the massive tax hikes and higher health insurance premiums should warm your heart.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    My hypothesis is that a lot of this "hate" talk goes back to bad parenting.

    Many people grew up with parents who tried to prove their love by giving their children whatever they demanded. If at first the children's demands were not met, then the children just had to scream louder and the parents would finally give in.

    If you grow up equating "love" with "doing what I want, as long as I scream loudly enough," then conversely, anyone who *doesn't* give you what you want must hate you! OMG, I screamed at the top of my lungs and these haters still won't give in!

  • sarcasmic||

    The ascribing of hate to those who disagree is textbook ad hominem.

    Now the argument is no longer about how marriage should be defined, but about how you are a bad person who is motivated by hatred.
    The only way to prove otherwise is to agree.

  • Killazontherun||

    I was probably about four when my parents cured me of that. Embarrassing them in public by begging and throwing a fit always had consequences, involving everyone else getting ice cream, but me. Even if there were no plans to get ice cream before the incident.

  • Calidissident||

    I won't play the semantics of what exactly "hate" and "love" mean - but I will say this: The latest Gallup polling indicates that 31% of Americans still think consensual relations between gay adults should be illegal. 38% view homosexuality as morally wrong, and 43% oppose gay marriage. Assuming that everyone who thinks it should be illegal also thinks its morally wrong and opposes gay marriage, and that everyone who thinks its morally wrong is against gay marriage (there are surely exceptions here or there, but generally speaking I think these are pretty solid assumptions), close to 75% of people against gay marriage think gay relations should be illegal, and the vast majority view homosexuality as wrong.

    Given these facts, is it not surprising that many gay people might associate opposition with gay marriage to opposition to homosexuality itself, or even hatred against gay people, even if there are many people against gay marriage who don't hate gay people?

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/165.....ights.aspx

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "I won't play the semantics of what exactly "hate" and "love" mean"

    I wish there were more SSM advocates like you! Alas, the casual throwing around of terms like "hate" sees to make up at least half of the SSM argument.

    "is it not surprising that many gay people might associate opposition with gay marriage to opposition to homosexuality itself"

    I'd like to see how the poll is phrased. Do they mean the homosexual *inclination,* whether or not acted on, or the actual practice of sodomy?

  • Calidissident||

    The questions are all in the link. I would copy and paste them, but it's an image, so I can't copy the text

  • Killazontherun||

    BTW, so long as we are doing the conservative case for gay marriage, what would the liberal case against it? As an intellectual exercise that is. The closest I can really conceive is the old communist argument that homosexuality occurs as a predation of elite classes on the working and the poor with classical Athens being an obvious example thrown in. I don't think you even heard much of that from Stalinist Post Stonewall.

  • sarcasmic||

    If homosexuals tended as a group to be politically conservative or libertarian, then liberals would no doubt oppose redefining marriage. With liberal arguments, who is always more important than what.

  • Killazontherun||

    Good point.

  • Calidissident||

    Likely true for many hardcore political progressives - but let's not pretend that the reason gays aren't politically conservative is just some coincidence that has nothing to do with the attitudes, present and historical, that conservatives have held towards gays. As for why they're not libertarian, I think the answer is pretty much the same as the answer to why the general population isn't libertarian

  • sarcasmic||

    I've known plenty of conservative gays. They generally kept it to themselves though. If they come out as conservative to their gay friends, then they needed to find new gay friends. Not so much fear about coming out as gay to conservative friends. Liberals would like you to believe it's the other way around, but they're lying. Remember that liberal tolerance means being hostile to anyone who disagrees with you.

  • Square||

    Definitely true that "coming out" as conservative in a liberal crowd is possibly more socially dangerous than coming out as gay in a conservative crowd.

    On the other hand, it is not at all uncommon for gay men, in particular, to be strongly libertarian in their actual economic views, but the topic of discussion is invariably "can I support the Republican party given their attitude towards gays?"

    Some decide "yes," some decide "no," but it is a real question that all fiscally conservative gay men struggle with.

  • Tony||

    You're absolutely right that gays can be just as "fiscally conservative" as anyone else. Same with Latinos, black people, and women for that matter. But the Republican party insists on alienating them all. It's bizarre.

  • Calidissident||

    Sarc, that may be true where you live (Maine), but that's not true everywhere. As I posted above, over 30% of the country still thinks gay acts should be illegal, and close to 40% think homosexuality is morally wrong. In some areas of the country, those percentages are probably much higher. Most of those people are conservative. Obviously not all conservatives hate gay people, but to pretend that they don't exist or that the ones who ostracize gays are some fringe group is just delusional.

    As as a libertarian in a very liberal state, I'm well aware that some progressives have no tolerance for people of different political persuasion, but those kinds of people aren't the ones I'd be friends with anyways, and most people here don't really care as long as you're not offensive or in your face about it (which is pretty much my view as well).

  • Square||

    It does seem like there's a certain regional difference going on here - I live in the SF Bay Area, and I'm guessing Calidissident doesn't live far away.

    Gay issues are big deal here. Unavoidable. I would argue we have a much more significant gay population here raising a stink about this, and this makes it harder for us here to just tell the gay population to stop making such a big deal about it.

  • sarcasmic||

    but to pretend that they don't exist or that the ones who ostracize gays are some fringe group is just delusional.

    You're right. Which is why I never made that argument.

    But you'd be surprised at how many conservatives can be softened up when someone close to them comes out. It's happening more and more. The arch-conservatives who disown gay family members are few and far between, because often they are the ones who end up disowned.

    I'm well aware that some progressives have no tolerance for people of different political persuasion, but those kinds of people aren't the ones I'd be friends with anyways

    I would think that they would be impossible to avoid in the homosexual community. At least from what I gathered from the (granted limited) social interaction I've had with my gay friends and their peers.

  • Square||

    I think it really is a context thing - in the SF Bay Area homosexuality is so common and so tolerated that I feel like there is actually less militancy than there is other places.

    Also, as a lot of gay people I've known have pointed out, it's the people who wear it on themselves like a flag who are going to be most apt to yell and scream and make a spectacle of themselves.

    I'll bet cash money that there all kinds of people you know who are gay, but you don't know it because they don't flaunt it. They tend to be as annoyed by the screamers as anyone.

  • Killazontherun||

    I think you underestimate the malleability of proglodyte tolerance; the position you take for granted that they hold as compared to conservatives wasn't always the one they shared with libertarians, not even in my lifetime. In the early seventies the majority of the same class of people who commonly advocate for it now would have seen gay rights as a libertine distraction. To focus on conservative hostility serves the purpose of whiting that out.

  • Calidissident||

    Killaz, I'm talking more about the average progressive, who isn't a hardcore political activist. I know reading leftist blogs on the Internet can distort that, but most people that identify as liberal or vote Democrat aren't nearly as dedicated to politics as they are. I'm not saying that progressive tolerance of gays could never change - but I think it would take a radical change that would take a long time and IMO be a generational shift.

  • Square||

    Homosexuality leads to greater concentration of wealth. Homosexual male couples are the highest-earning households - no glass ceiling, no kids.

    Lesbians are more likely to have children from a previous marriage, and thus two people prevented from earning their full potential by the glass ceiling are also saddled with child care responsibilities.

    Therefore, gay marriage promotes unequal social outcomes and violates principles of social justice.

  • Killazontherun||

    I have read somewhere that life long lesbians tend to be of a higher income strata than those who come out later in life. Lesson to college lesbians, avoid the dick if you care about your long term economic prospects.

  • sarcasmic||

    Income inequality is OK if the right people have the money. Remember that with liberals, who is more important than what.

    So if homosexual couples earned higher incomes, that would be a good thing because they're a protected class.

  • Square||

    I was just trying to rise to the challenge of making a leftist argument against gay marriage.

    Income inequality seemed to me the obvious way to go. But I also like NLK's angle on imposing a heterosexual power paradigm on people who have freed themselves of it. Very Andrea Dworkin.

  • Tony||

    No liberal has the problem with anyone earning money.

    It's the wholesale looting of national wealth by a small number of wealthy interests they have a problem with.

    Or what you define as "economic freedom" no matter how de facto corrupt or de jure illegal their actions. A trillion dollars is being sheltered from taxation by wealthy interests.

    In your bizarre, propagandized, idiotic way of seeing the world, that is a win for the little guy.

  • KPres||

    ""A trillion dollars is being sheltered from taxation by wealthy interests.""

    It's being "sheltered" because the US has the world's highest corporate tax rate you moron. Avoiding being looted isn't looting. Jesus fucking Christ you're psychotic.

  • Tony||

    At what rate will they not take advantage of tax shelters out of sheer patriotism?

  • ||

    If they're economically rational, the rate at which it becomes financially optimal. If every country in the world had a 95% tax rate and some cheeky non-conformist lowered it to 94%, it would be economically rational to take the 1% break.

    I understand the liberal arts departments don't get much intrusion by way of mathematics or economics, but if you've ever gone shopping or created a household budget this shouldn't be too terribly difficult to comprehend.

  • Tony||

    What is more financially optimal than 0%?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    With the authxample in mind, I can give the liberal argument as follows

    You liberals are retarded and shit and its disgusting that Im wasting time arguing with you because your stupid. But since I have to pretend to respect your position...um, sodomy is more fun when its illicit, and you liberal weirdos love illicit sex, right? Have I persuaded you morons yet, or do I have to use shorter words?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    With the authors example in mind etc

  • ||

    I've known a few who advance a rather bizarre conspiracy theory that the Democratic Party is controlled by wealthy [gay] donors who are focusing the party on bourgeois non-issues like gay marriage at the expense of the Class Struggle.

  • Killazontherun||

    From our libertarian mindset it is a bit of a twist but think of it this way: we support it because of the NAP, but it also comports with a bourgeoisie concept of happiness. The more resources that Democrats expend to back gay marriage the less they have at their disposal to destroy the economy.

  • ||

    I sort of understand it, but 1. most Democratic politicians didn't endorse SSM until about a decade after it became an active issue (and supported by the majority of self-described party supporters all the while), 2. their record in government is all Class Struggle and no action on SSM (not even a repeal of DOMA when they had the trifecta/Senate supermajority), 3. why wouldn't our bourgeois donors simply donate to the GOP and get them to change their position on SSM (they only do the bidding of the rich, so they obviously would!), 4. the false consciousness here seems to work in reverse; many wealthy people vote for the Dems because of SSM, or more accurately because they don't want to be associated with the sorts of people who would oppose SSM.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    The liberal case might say that by pushing a heteronormative institution like marriage onto gays and lesbians, the mainstream is deliberately attempting to eliminate differences and ensure we all become Stepford spouses.

  • Killazontherun||

    I like this one as an example as it differentiates a liberal case from the class based one that traditional Marxist make. I could see a liberal with no background in the later actually taking this route.

  • Marshall Gill||

    what would the liberal case against it. As an intellectual exercise that is?

    Hmmm, there don't seem to be many substantive answers. I wonder why that is? Could it be that there is nothing the Leftist wants more than the government in charge of Every. Fucking. Thing? You can not build Utopia until the entire old order is destroyed.

    So SSM must be one of those times when Libertarians, Leftists, and according to this article, conservatives agree. Yea!

  • thom||

    It's kind of surprising that the Christian Right didn't respond to the gay rights movement by saying, "fine, if you want to be gay then get married and start families."

  • sarcasmic||

    Lots of people have pointed out that nothing is stopping homosexuals from marrying someone of the opposite sex.

  • Calidissident||

    Unlike straight people, the government doesn't recognize such unions. That's the whole point.

  • Killazontherun||

    I read their argument mean that the Christian Right is now going to back open marriages, where there is the contracted heteronormative practice that is recognized for the familial purpose while at the same time granting that sexual satiation is not the same thing as marriage. If previous socon trends are any indication this means a subsidized gay bath house in every neighborhood.

  • ||

    He said "marrying someone of the opposite sex. Which would be recognized anywhere opposite-gender (straight) marriage is allowed. IOW, if a gay man wants to get married and start a family, he can always get married to a woman and do so. If a gay woman wants to get married and start a family, she can always get married to a man and do so, etc.

  • thom||

    nothing is stopping homosexuals from marrying someone of the opposite sex

    Sure there is. They don't want to do it.

    Social conservatives, like progressives, want to use the law to create outcomes. If they want people to get married, and gays won't get married to opposite sex partners, then change the law to get them to marry each other.

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  • Killazontherun||

    Conservatives probably will respond to the previous point by contending that while letting single-gender couples raise children might not be profoundly harmful, it certainly is not optimal. The optimal family, they will say, consists of children raised by two parents of the opposite sex.

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  • Marshall Gill||

    Where did you get my fucking picture?!

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  • Kurbster||

    “Upholding tradition” doesn’t appear anywhere in the Constitution, either.

    no, but allowing gay marriage will infringe on the choice of people who want to uphold traditional values. It's already happening with the baker in Oregon. If you don't think government will step in on a wide scale and make sure that such "diversity" is accepted by everyone, then you are seriously mistaken.

    Anything short of getting government out of marriage isn't a libertarian position, period.

  • Tony||

    infringe on the choice of people who want to uphold traditional values

    Pure euphemism.

  • Tony||

    There certainly is a liberal one: Diversity is great, which means gay people are great – so if they want to marry, that’s great too! Besides, you’re not supposed to discriminate against anybody. (Except conservative Christians, because they’re so judgmental and icky.)

    No, that's really not it at all. Let me help you: gay people have a constitutional right to equal treatment under the law because there is no compelling reason to deny it to them.

    Also, no liberal is arguing that conservative Christians be denied the right to marry.

  • Skip||

    The Gay Marriage Movement was going nowhere as long as the San Francisco Gay Pride March freaks like Dan Savage's crowd were the spokesmen for it. As soon as the country saw harmless gays like Ellen and the Will and Grace guy etc., things started to change.

  • Tony||

    Which is illogical, of course, and recalls the conservative argument represented here--isn't marriage the cure for too much promiscuity in a community?

  • ||

    He pointed out that “same-sex unions promote the values conservatives prize” – such as commitment, stable families, and “thinking beyond one’s own needs.”

    Wonderful, as long as you accept the premise that the government's job is to promote conservative values.

    If they are right about that, then allowing homosexuals to enter lifetime monogamy ought to be altogether desirable – just as it is desirable for heterosexuals, and for the same reasons.

    Let us not conflate getting legal status from the government with the actual ability to enter lifetime monogamy. Lifetime monogamy is available to anyone who wants it regardless of their sexuality or any other arbitrary attribute. That's a lifestyle choice, not a government privilege.

    Show me where the Constitution says that is any part of government’s job. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

    Lol. So in complete contradiction to the previous 2 points on the 5 point agenda, you have now come around to the plain fact that there is no constitutional justification for civil marriage? With that in mind, what's the point of this apologia again?

  • Tony||

    Wonderful, as long as you accept the premise that the government's job is to promote conservative values.

    Which conservatives do, which is why this is called a conservative case.

    there is no constitutional justification for civil marriage

    One wonders why the framers didn't deal with the rampant existence of civil marriage at the time of the framing, not to mention the long-existing notion that marriage is by definition the recognition of a monogamous union by some authority.

    That marriage shouldn't exist is a fine radical libertarian position. Just don't pretend, given the real state of this tradition now and for a very long time, that you're not advocating the radical socially engineering of society. The radical changes you would make to society are not some kind of default.

  • Square||

    "marriage is by definition the recognition of a monogamous union by some authority."

    No.

    Marriage is two (or more) people committing to living their lives together.

    No authorities need be involved. Marriage did not used to be something the state ever involved itself in - this is a recent historical phenomenon.

    Believing that marriage exists separately from government licensing programs does not mean marriage doesn't exist or shouldn't.

  • SatiresofJuvenal||

    Many of the arguments offered by Mr. Hinkle are questionable at best, but the real kicker is the idea that the government is "banning" gay marriage. Any homosexual couple can hold a ceremony to celebrate their love, and consider themselves a life-long pair. What the government is doing is not recognizing homosexual couples as being married.
    The institution of marriage is historically designed for heterosexual unions to grant protections and privileges unique to their relationship. It is a contract between a man, women, and the state to foster children and the continuation of family.
    Attempts to institute gay marriage are actually the reverse of libertarianism. It is social engineering;an attempt to force on the populace the idea that a homosexual relationship is morally and socially equivalent to heterosexual relationships, and thus are responsible to provide them the same privileges historically offered.

  • Square||

    By the power invested in me I hereby declare you husband, wife and State.

    You may kiss the Code.

  • Aleph Null||

    Marriage should be privatized. Period.

    Frankly, the situation is little better now than it was when gay marriage had little acceptance. I don't care if it's Nancy Pelosi, Jerry Fallwell, Pat Buchanan, or Gloria Allred; none of them should have a stake in determining whether or not I can be married, and what the nature of that relationship should be.

    Ditto for the IRS. What business do they have in requiring me to divulge my marital status? Here's my marital status so far as the government is concerned: none of your business.

    On the bright side, once same-sex marriage gains full legal status, there will be a window period where dad and I can be married (and he gets to pass on his inheritance without the government getting its grubbing hands on it). For those who find this behavior morally appalling, who are you to judge, really? Hopefully, before long, people will begin to see how stupid this all is.

  • Square||

    I'm not sure I see how recognizing gay marriage would carry a side consequence of recognizing incestuous unions.

    Is there something that makes you believe it would?

  • ||

    All my gay friends on facebook are libertarians.

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