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What Gay Marriage Proponents Want June 21, 2008

Posted by federalist in Social Politics, Uncategorized.

Why did the WSJ see fit to print Jonathan Rauch’s incoherent arguments in favor of gay marriage? He asks readers to imagine a world without marriage as he begins a thousand-word shell game, shuffling our attention between three aspects of marriage too fast to critically conclude that “Gay Marriage Is Good for America.”

At first “marriage” is nothing but a public commitment between two people in love. But of course homosexuals are as capable of public commitment as any heterosexual adult, so it’s on to the second aspect of “marriage:” The legal contract. This is a substantive issue since our governments restrict a number of legal rights and benefits to the contract of marriage. Why should only heterosexual couples enjoy conjugal social security benefits, immigration privileges, tax exemptions, or immunity from testifying against their spouse in court? It is an excellent question, but it is not a grievance unique to homosexual couples. After all, a heterosexual man may want to extend those legal benefits not only to his wife, but also to his mother, daughter, and another close female friend. He may love them all equally, he could have a sexual relationship with any of them, and they may all be involved in raising a family, but the law does not allow him to maintain a marriage contract with any but the first unrelated adult female.

A cynic would stop here, assuming that Rauch’s colorful professions of love and commitment are nothing but a disguise for the motives of material gain bound up in government sanctions of marriage. Nevertheless, he does shuffle in a third aspect of “marriage” worthy of consideration: Acceptance. There is no question that it is better for everyone when a community gives a person (or a couple) acceptance instead of intolerance. Is marriage required for acceptance of a couple? He admits that homosexual behavior has already obtained mainstream acceptance, and confidently states, “This will not change, ever.” This acceptance occurred before any legal recognition of gay marriage.

Rauch leaves us to conclude that gay marriage proponents are really just after legal and financial benefits. Perhaps government should not offer such benefits, or perhaps it should offer them with no restrictions. In either case, gay marriage is an obtuse pretense for such policy questions.



1. federalist - July 21, 2009

Here come David Boies and Ted Olson to fight the California constitutional amendment against gay marriage. But they do not answer the first question I have for all proponents of gay marriage: Do you also support the right of adult relatives to marry?

2. federalist - August 2, 2009

Charles Cooper rebuts David Boies, noting:

The overriding purpose of marriage, in nearly every civilization throughout history, has always been to channel potentially procreative sexual relationships into stable and binding unions that will provide for the care and upbringing of the offspring of those unions.

It is an undeniable biological fact that only opposite sex relationships naturally, and often inadvertently, produce children.

3. federalist - August 3, 2009

Robert George notes:

If marriage is redefined, [it] will increasingly be understood as an emotional union for the sake of adult satisfaction that is served by mutually agreeable sexual play. But there is no reason that primarily emotional unions like friendships should be permanent, exclusive, limited to two, or legally regulated at all. Thus, there will remain no principled basis for upholding marital norms like monogamy.

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