Kulturkampf Krazy

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New at Reason: Cathy Young surveys the battle lines in the new sitzkrieg over marriage.

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  1. I DO dislike the idea of the federal government pre-empting the state’s function of defining the details civil marriage. But it is hardly likely the activist courts will allow any state to ignore the decisions of particular state’s to provide same-sex marriage. (I argue in another post, that it is bad social policy anywhere).

    Ironically, the same courts probably wouldn’t insist that other state’s honor a demented decision by some state LEGISLATURE to allow incestuous or polygamous marriage…they don’t have an axe to grind on that one (yet).

  2. Whoa! Cathy wrote so concisely, so precisely,
    that little can be debated or objected to.
    She sums it up nicely.

    Let’s bump the two well defined sides together.
    Will the moderate citizens who say civil union,
    or marriage for gays is OK by them,
    then be willing to turn to their children and say it,
    teach it to them, that they can be either way, OK,
    or will they be hypocrites who say do this, not that?
    Will it suit them to be seen by their children,
    who will be taught better in school, and by media,
    that only bigots like them and Archie Bunker
    will believe and act as the parents do?
    Culture war, if it is culture, is hell.

  3. The true issue here is simply one of power and coercion: Is it the right of the State to dictate the definitions and terms under which human relationships and families operate? I would submit that that is not what a government is for. It is for society, not government – they are NOT the same entity – to create and maintain, or to alter, such norms in the natural course of cultural and social interatctions.

    It is not the proper role of government to coerce any segment of a population into accepting social norms with which they do not agree. It IS proper for government to police social interactions between dissenting groups and individuals such that they may each live their lives with minimal interference from one another, but not to force one group to conform to the other’s norms entirely, particularly outside the public sphere.

    With regard to child rearing and safety: Does the government have a prophylactic role in forecasting the success or failure of childrearing based on circumstances, or can it merely try to ensure the wellbeing of the child in whatever situation the child finds itself? If childrearing is legally denied to a same-sex couple because they are, presumeably, in love and sleeping together, could a same-sex couple, say a man and his brother who live together for purely economic purposes, also be denied the opportunity, or responsibility, of childrearing?

    If so, then the government is limiting contingencies in case a “traditional” family arrangement is simply not possible. A widower, for example, may need the help of extended familiy members in the absense of his wife. If, on the other hand, childrearing is denied a gay couple by law, but other such “nontraditional” families are allowed to exist, then the government is making a judgement, not about the composition of a household, but on the legitimacy of individual human relationships and emotional bonds.

    This is an inappropriate role for government, in my opinion.

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