Free Markets, Free People

Why Conservatives Should Embrace Gay Marriage

I already mentioned that marriage, kids, and a mortgage are very strong indicators of conservatism.  Here’s a straightforward causal explanation: when you’re invested in something, you don’t want it to be taken from you, and you’re skeptical of starry-eyed meddlers doing anything that might threaten it.  Probably the best thing done for the cause against gun control was teaching others how to use and maintain a firearm: once people own one, it sharpens the mind to cut through any argument for taking it away.

But a gun is a small investment compared to a committed and intimate relationship, custody of children, and homeownership.  A dollar taxed is one that you can’t spend on your family when they want something, a dollar borrowed is one that your kids will pay back, and that meddler on TV is rolling the dice with a major part of your life.

In the case of immigration, Hispanics are already primed to be conservative because they’re already invested.  With gay marriage, you have a group trying awfully hard to get more invested.

The conservative argument for embracing gay marriage is that marriage seems to be a fine institution that benefits even people who can’t have children together, and that it may strengthen the institution and the country to expand the institution so that a nontrivial minority of the population is on the inside trying to protect it rather than on the outside where their exclusion leads to thorny political issues of respect and tribalism.

Another conservative argument is that if gay marriage is politically inevitable, conservatives should proactively move through legislation to ensure that it goes smoothly without infringing on other freedoms (like those of association and contract), rather than allow this to play out entirely in the courts or in a referendum.  If conservatives keep trying to board the windows, more stuff is going to end up broken than if they just opened the door.

As with immigration and Hispanics, marriage may not be gays’ top priority, but it matters, and the way Republicans approach and discuss the issue can signal that “you’re not one of us,” which is poison for coalition-building.

The flip side of that coin doesn’t have to be pandering; given the consciousness of gay communities about targeted violence and bullying, it’d be awesome if conservatives taught more gays how to use and maintain firearms.

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120 Responses to Why Conservatives Should Embrace Gay Marriage

  • Shorter Pick: To beat the Collectivist, become Collectivists.
    Gay people are free to associate with whom they may.  They are not free to corrupt a cultural norm, or redefine the language.

    • But they’re doing no such thing.  Gays have been around for ever so they are part of the cultural norm.  They’re not hurting me by their actions so leave them alone.  For me, that is best conservative argument.  If you don’t like government coming around telling you what you can and can’t do in your personal life, where the government has no business, then don’t justify doing it to someone else.
      The government’s fiscal mismanagement is a far bigger danger to our culture than gays getting married.  The looming fiscal crisis won’t matter if your gay or straight when it destroys your way of life.  So at the very least, conservatives should pick the way more important fight.
       
       

      • The cultural norm is a man and a woman, has been for centuries.  Marriage is a religious ceremony in which a man and a woman are joined together.
         
        You can’t get around the religious aspects, or the fact that ‘all the books’ say man and woman or it’s evil damnation brimstone offensive in the eyes of the whatever flavor of the God of Abraham you worship.
         
        I don’t give a flip what people are doing in their bedrooms, I don’t spend a lot of time wondering about my opposite sex neighbors and the ones I suspect are same sex are low key and inoffensive and I don’t wonder what they’re doing either.
        But the fact remains ‘marriage’ is a special word, with a special religious meaning to a very large segment of the population.  Some are probably using the word to stop those evil same sex people from practicing stuff that isn’t, as George Carlin would say “man on top get it over with quick”, but I can’t guarantee that’s what it’s all about.
         
        They should seek civil union if what they are after is legal rights with their partners.
        So, in this squabble you have to ask, are they after the legal rights, or after the warm fuzzy feeling that the word ‘married’ is allegedly going to give them?
        Or do some of them like the idea of sticking it to the conservative religious right wing breeders?  If you think the prejudice and dislike is all on the side of the hetero’s, you need to think again.

        • Marriage may have a special religious meaning but this is not a theocracy and I don’t want it to be one.  I don’t see the Catholic church ever marrying a gay couple and that is up to them.  It is their club and they can invite who they want.
          But such a personal and/or religious matter as marriage is one that the government should not be concerned with.

          • I agree, we are NOT a theocracy, and I don’t want to be one either.  But we have to be realistic.
            Marriage, like it else, is a word both the government, and religion, use in common.   To the government it can mean a couple because that’s the way the law can define it, to a religion, it means a man and a woman.
             
            I think the government should get out of the marriage business.   Why is it the government is IN the business in the first place?  Because of the legal ramifications of property, inheritance, guardianship and decisions about partners in life or death medical situations.  Every one of those is a civil, legal concern, NOT a religious concern.
            Again, what are we after, equal recognition in the eyes of the law? or the warm fuzzy feeling that a license that has the word ‘marriage’ on it brings one?

          • “I think the government should get out of the marriage business.   Why is it the government is IN the business in the first place?  Because of the legal ramifications of property, inheritance, guardianship and decisions about partners in life or death medical situations.  Every one of those is a civil, legal concern, NOT a religious concern.”
            There ya go!  This should be true for straight and gay people.  So why bother with carving out an exception to this for gays?  Individual rights should apply to men, women, blacks, whites, hispanics, asians, straight people, but not gay people?  No.  Gay people should have all the individual rights of anyone else and that includes getting married in fashion they see fit.

          • TK – only because marriage is a dual religious and civil institution.
             
             
            When I suggest ‘civil unions’ it’s for EVERYONE.  Government out of marriage.   The rights a civil union would afford would be to any couple.
             
            If homosexuals can then find a religious institution that will marry them they can feel free to do so, but legally the state will acknowledge they have rights even if they don’t take that step..
            That’s what this is about, or so I thought.

        • Gays have been around for ever so they are part of the cultural norm.

          REALLY…???  THAT is what you are going with???!!!
          Siblings have been around forever, too.  Should they marry?
          Sheep have been domesticated for centuries.  Marriage to a sheep is not something even Pick would suggest.  I hope…

          • Yes, that is what I’m going with regardless of your bait and switch.

          • “regardless of your bait and switch.”
             
            Jeez. I suggest that while you are looking up the definition of ‘norm’ you also look up the definition of ‘bait and switch’.

        • Marriage is a religious ceremony in which a man and a woman are joined together.

          There is nothing about a lifelong commitment which requires belief in supernatural things.  All arguments based upon this falsehood are thus useless.

          • Heh, it’s a widely accepted falsehood then, now, convince those that accept it, because they’re going to be the ones voting.
             
             

          • Heh, it’s a widely accepted falsehood then, now, convince those that accept it, because they’re going to be the ones voting.

            Belief in supernatural things is “widely accepted”.  No matter what I say, I can never change the mind of a certain percentage of people who were inculcated with such beliefs from a young age.  Thus, I would be unable to convince people to act according to my values.  Likewise, I insist that believers not demand that I live according to their religious values.  We are at an impasse, unless we respect each other to choose our own values.
            In the US, it now seems to be “widely accepted” that government should be Santa Claus and screw tomorrow.  Convincing those people to vote for someone requires compromising on principles, to act like Democrats more and more.
            I simply reject the premise that ethical matters be decided by popularity contests.
            Just because I can’t convince a mob doesn’t mean I’m obligated to concede the argument to them.

          • “I simply reject the premise that ethical matters be decided by popularity contests.”

            Evidently you reject civilization and any form of government, from family to nation. What do you think law is?

          • Evidently you reject civilization and any form of government, from family to nation.

            What is your evidence for this assertion?
            Civilized people don’t stick guns in the faces of others and justify it because they won a popularity contest.  I don’t harbor any illusions that the predators will ever permit people to live in free market anarchy involve a major calamity.  I don’t expect the status quo to change, but I nevertheless have a sense of patriotism for America, because it is my homeland.
            And, I am deeply devoted to my family.  What on Earth gave you the notion that I opposed anything about family?
            Incidentally, in my wife’s extended family, there is a couple who married in California before Prop 8.  They’re doing just fine and are welcome at family reunions, even by those who are religious.  That is decent family values.

          • Looks like a line got dropped there.  I wrote something like: “I don’t even see a path to a decentralized free society (minarchy) which doesn’t involve a major calamity.”

        • But the fact remains ‘marriage’ is a special word, with a special religious meaning to a very large segment of the population.

          Marriage is a special word to me, but for me the special nature does not include anything which would exclude a same-sex couple having the same sort of relationship.
          I could care less whether “a very large segment of the population” thinks differently.  They’re wrong.  And, I would appreciate that all of them stop trying to speak or act as though I’m part of some collective that includes them.

      • “they are part of the cultural norm.”
         
        I suggest you look up the definition of ‘norm’.

        • I suggest you look up the definition of ‘norm’.

          Yeah, because behavior which exists in all cultures can’t be a “norm” if lots of people hate them queers.
          It’s pathetic how much time people waste in their finite lifetime to obsessing over other people “getting away with” being different without being made to suffer for their “sin”.  As an ex-conservative, I can say that choose to let go of such concerns as a result of enlightenment definitely is  an unburdening.  Just don’t worry about people who do things you consider “icky” and you’ll be much happier.

          • I strive to be helpful;

            “Definition of NORM

            1
            : an authoritative standard : model

            2
            : a principle of right action binding upon the members of a group and serving to guide, control, or regulate proper and acceptable behavior

            3
            : average: as

            a : a set standard of development or achievement usually derived from the average or median achievement of a large group

            b : a pattern or trait taken to be typical in the behavior of a social group

            c : a widespread or usual practice, procedure, or custom <standing ovations became the norm> ”
            http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/norm

            There are words that recur in just about every definition of ‘norm'; average, typical, standard, etc.
            None of these apply to homosexuality, even though the behavior may have existed in all times in all places, since the dawn of man. That is why such behavior cannot be a norm. Whether the behavior is hated or loved is  irrelevant.

            On the other hand, is the presence of abnormal behavior in a society the norm? Yep.

          • None of these apply to homosexuality, even though the behavior may have existed in all times in all places, since the dawn of man. That is why such behavior cannot be a norm.

            Strawman, on two fronts. First, you’re pulling a bait-and-switch between same-sex behavior and tolerance of such behavior.  Tolerance waxes and wanes.  In most Muslim countries, for example, they execute them.  In enlightened countries, such hateful bigotry is confined to criminals.
            Second, my primary argument is that some convention being a “norm” is irrelevant when it is a moral wrong.  Limiting the freedom of others who have hurt no one else is wrong.

            Whether the behavior is hated or loved is  irrelevant.

            I could care less what someone feels about something which is not their business.  I happen to think prostitutes and johns engage in disgusting behavior–but it’s not my business, nor sufficient cause to charge them with a crime.

    • Rags, I endorsed the opposite of collectivism, and you’re making yourself look like a fool when you suggest that expanding the institution of marriage – not only protecting but promoting the freedom of association and freedom of religion – is like socialism.

      • Calling me a fool is the level of argument I expect from you.
        Stupidly trying to associate “socialism” with a cultural norm is more of it.

        • What, it’s name-calling to say that getting it 180 degrees wrong is foolish?  You accused me of writing the opposite of what I wrote, and you just did it again!  I didn’t say marriage was socialism, I derided your “Collectivist” label for my suggestion that we should expand marriage so that more people are suspicious of state meddling.

          Read for comprehension.

          • I’ve read your nonsense.  It is incomprehensible.
            Essentially, you have printed a series of unsupported bullshit that calls on Conservatives to become what they oppose, and abandon their reasons for their opposition.
            I’ve seen this all before.  You and Andrew Sullivan need to have a nice drink together.

          • Rags, Mr. Pick is getting it right, you are 180 degrees out.  You asserted “Shorter Pick: To beat the Collectivist, become Collectivists.”
            There is not one thing about supporting gay marriage which is collectivist.  I think that given the whole reason for marriage licenses in this country–which began in the 1800’s and are not an old cultural norm–was to keep blacks and whites from marrying–the better option would be to end the practice altogether.
            Really, how sad is it if you need a piece of paper from the government to know you’re married?  Such a tack also prohibits the progressive activists from doing with it what they really want to, which is to force the government to be a cattle prod and truncheon on the people who oppose them.
            “I’ve read your nonsense.  It is incomprehensible.”
            Lately, reading you is like reading the descent of Chuckles Johnson.  Like everyone else who goes far “wrong” enough, you’ll end up on the other side.
            “you have printed a series of unsupported bullshit that calls on Conservatives to become what they oppose.”
            There’s nothing conservative about not using the “fairness” attack on entitlements, and there’s nothing conservative about preserving the intrusion into civil society that the current marriage laws represent.  I don’t agree we should extend it to the gays, I think we should repeal the lot of them.  Also, as written and as yet unamended, the Constitution demands each state recognize the other’s instruments of law, such as marriage licenses; so once one state permits them by act of the legislature, then it is actually conservative to recognize them.  Not “Socially Conservativs” but none of those people are relaly conservative, they are Progressive Good Government types stuck in amber from the turn of the past century.  The same sort of idiots who brought us the Prohibition of alcohol.
            What’s unfair about the entitlement programs is the theft they represent, the confiscatory, paternalistic crime of it.  Why not let people know they are being thieves?  You haven’t made a counter argument yet, you’ve just frothed at the mouth!

      • Could be because socialism works to crush cultural norms to accomplish it’s goals.

        • Capitalism crushes cultural norms that are anti-capitalist.  What’s your point?

          • Really?  Why don’t you expand on that, because I call bullshit on you.

          • Capitalism has been pounding on the politics and other institutions of the world ever since the Industrial Revolution gave it steam, cutting ties of dependence and allegiance and expanding the sphere of the individual.  This isn’t a novel observation on my part.  If you want an example specific to marriage, it used to be that women weren’t allowed to own property.

          • Geeze man, you’re kinda prickly…would it be better if we just all agreed you’re right?
             
            Marriage is a cultural norm, live with it.  The religious right, and the religious left is NOT going to change their view.  IMNHO the only hope you have is to call it something other than marriage and then maybe they won’t get all bent out of shape, or they’ll have less grounds to get bent out of shape.   You take the argument AWAY from one they can rightfully make, because you take the WORD away from them.  The Left does this constantly be redefining terms out from under us.
            People can’t pretend they are against gay marriage ONLY because their God tells them to be against marriage between other than a man and a woman if you aren’t calling it MARRIAGE.    THAT SIMPLE.
            Then they have to admit that what they REALLY don’t want is to give those weirdo queers equal rights under the law.  Because they are doing weird stuff in their bedrooms where no one is supposed to be poking their noses even though it’s highly likely that they are doing essentially some of the exact same things with their spouses.
             
            But some of your readers may have a religious concern about it, and may view marriage from a culturally important perspective.
            If you can’t convince the small group who comments here, good look with the larger group.

          • looker, I am pretty prickly today.  I’m working while I respond, so some impatience is probably coming through.  Perhaps you’re right about wording, but my larger point isn’t even about marriage vs. civil unions, but about proactive use of legislation being better than defensively hoping you don’t get beat up in court or in a referendum, especially if the tide of public opinion seems to be moving against one’s position.

          • Capitalism has been pounding on the politics and other institutions of the world ever since the Industrial Revolution gave it steam

            A system of voluntary exchange “crushes”, huh?  Bullshit.  It certainly INCENTIVIZES, because it works so well.
            But a person or group…within a capitalist system…CAN opt out (c.f., collective, tribe, etc.).  Even people VOLUNTARILY wishing to be Socialists CAN be in a capitalist system.

          • I see what the goal is, the object to me would be two fold here – steal the “Defenders of Same-sex!” flag from the Democrats AND make sure that everyone has the same rights.   The later seems more important, but if achieving it sticks a finger in the eye of the Democratic party at the same time, so much the better.
             
            Also, it’s an issue that further divides the country, and we have too damn many of them.  One less about now would be a blessing.
             
             

          • “Capitalism crushes cultural norms that are anti-capitalist.”
             
            And you think there is no difference between  the behaviors of capitalism and socialism as practiced?

          • And you think there is no difference between  the behaviors of capitalism and socialism as practiced?”

            I said that welcoming more couples into a conservatism-promoting institution is unlike socialism.  That was in response to Rags absurdly arguing that conservatives would become collectivists if they did so – as if I was suggesting some giant extension of state power at the expense of individual freedom.

            The fact is, there are certain relationships you can’t have in a capitalist society, because many of our individualist norms have the power of law.  Contrary to Rags’s protestations, it’s not just a nifty incentive system that women now have the legal right to property; if a man infringes on that right, she can call law enforcement and press charges.  That pretty quickly dispensed with some old cultural norms about the proper place of women in society.  Slavery was for thousands of years a powerful cultural institution with many associated norms, but if you tried practicing them on US soil today you’d be risking the wrath of the state, and the state might not get to you before an angry mob did.

             

          • Capitalism crushes cultural norms that are anti-capitalist.

            Say what?
            A quote popularly misattributed to Stalin goes, “We will hang the capitalists with the rope that they sell us.”  It is plainly evident that the “progressives” and other collectivists are using the rules that capitalists wrote for themselves to undermine capitalism.
            Or, I might rephrase it as: Democracy is the weapon by which capitalists commit suicide.  (A variation on the people voting themselves a piece of the public coffers.)

          • “Capitalism crushes cultural norms that are anti-capitalist.”
            “there are certain relationships you can’t have in a capitalist society,”

            You are going to have define Capitalism, and give examples of what cultural norms have been crushed by Capitalism, and how. And how such action is specifically Capitalist. Otherwise, not convincing at all.

          • timactual, you’re getting to the point where you’re trying to shift all the burden of evidence onto me, which is a bad sign for you.  But I’ll bite on this:

            You are going to have define Capitalism, and give examples of what cultural norms have been crushed by Capitalism, and how. And how such action is specifically Capitalist. Otherwise, not convincing at all.

            Capitalism is respect for property, and property is the exclusive right to use and dispose of things.  A state is capitalist to the extent that it maximizes said respect for property.

            The extension of property rights to women, then, is a specifically capitalist act.  Once women acquired property rights, that fundamentally altered old norms about the place of women in society.  And it probably altered them forever, because hardly anybody in this society thinks it would be a good idea to go back and re-establish those norms, either on a moral or practical level — and it can’t be done privately, because the state recognizes those rights and actually does not allow any competent woman to waive all property rights and become, say, a slave or a serf.  Consider the old norms well and truly crushed.

    • To beat the Collectivist, become Collectivists.

      Funny how the arguments against legal same-sex marriage are all based upon collectivist logic.  Keeping it just a man and a woman serves the interest of the nation, the community, ….
      You want an anti-collectivist argument on the topic of legal same-sex marriage?  Remove the power of government to grant marriage licenses.

      • Families are kinda important as a means of expressing individual rights.  Yes?

      • Hey, did you guys know we’re supposed to be plotting a shooting war over the election?
        Just a reminder that we’re failing to meet expectations.
         

  • Dude, you’re talking like gays don’t grow up in the same country we do.  I know a couple who are proficient with weapons, and didn’t have ‘conservatives’ train them.
    Being homosexual doesn’t mean they were all raised in a different universe where there were no guns.
     
    As far as marriage, you have a religion problem to overcome that I just don’t see you overcoming as long as the word “marriage” is special to a significant number of people for religious reasons.
    I’d be happy if the conservative community would embrace civil union between same sex couples.  It’s unfair to say conservatives don’t like Gays and Lesbians and don’t want them to enjoy the same civil liberties others do and unfair to say only Liberals do.
    Heck we’re engaging in a conversation that benefits progressives right now in fact, and have allowed them to define the topic and the sides and who’s good and who’s evil when they’re not even here to do it.
    There are liberals who don’t like the idea of ‘marriage’ between same sex couples, they just won’t say it because that would make them ‘bad people’, but in the voting booth, they’ll vote against it.

    • I’m totally not implying that no gays know how to use firearms.  Read what I said: it would be awesome if, in a bit of cultural diplomacy, gun-toting conservatives actively tried to teach more gays how to use them.

      I don’t see religion as a problem here, but part of what conservatives should address through legislation: actively propose legislation that welcomes gay marriage (or civil unions) with strong provisions protecting religious freedoms.  Don’t wait for it to get into the courts or put on a referendum written by Democrats.

      This is not a conversation the Left wants conservatives to have; they’re happy to see this issue gradually turn more and more against the GOP and for the GOP to keep on sitting in a defensive crouch on it.  The last thing they want is for Republicans to go on a charm offensive and get gays on the inside of the institution of marriage, which is a conservatism-promoting force.

      • heh, back at you, read what I wrote – your premise is a lot of them don’t know how to use guns ONLY because they’re “gay”.   Why not train more of everybody, why just gays?  You see what I mean?   Being gay didn’t preclude some childhood where they learned to use firearms, so I don’t see them as being any less likely to know how to use a gun than any person I might bump into on the street.  Perhaps that didn’t come across.  What I’m saying is I view the idea that they don’t already know how to use guns as a gay stereotype.  That’s part of what I mean when I say we’re discussing this in a way the opposition has defined for us.
         
        ” don’t see religion as a problem here, but part of what conservatives should address through legislation: actively propose legislation that welcomes gay marriage (or civil unions) with strong provisions protecting religious freedoms.  Don’t wait for it to get into the courts or put on a referendum written by Democrats.”
        we agree, except for religion IS the problem here.  Call it civil unions, get ahead of it, disarm the Democrat argument.   I’ve been for civil union since it came up in the 90’s when homosexual couples weren’t allowed to benefit from their partner’s health benefits just like any common law married couples were.  But you aren’t going to be able to call it “Marriage”.  To me it’s semantic, for while I believe in a creator, I don’t believe He/She/Giant Elephant was so narrow minded as to create something and then decide they hated it  and left it around to hate on (I may found out later how wrong I was I suppose).   However, there are a whole lot more people who won’t be happy if the definition changes from man and woman to person a and person b because they will see that as sacrilege.  We can’t change that, we shouldn’t bother to try, swim with the current.

        • Whether being gay precludes having learned to use a gun is entirely beside the point.  The fact is that there are gays who don’t know how to use them, and that’s all that’s relevant to my point.

          If Republicans are really just hung up on the word, they should indeed get ahead of it and be the ones proactively proposing those civil unions in legislation.  I’m trying to convince conservatives to start thinking that way with this post.

          • Okay, I’m just suggesting it was a stereotype.  I’m essentially behind you on your intent, with the warning that you aren’t going to be able to call it ‘gay marriage’ and pull it off.
             
            And that’s my other point  when I say they’ve framed the, discussion, not argument, since I agree with you.   It ISN’T just Republicans that have a problem with the word, it’s traditional supporters of the Democratic party as well.  They’ve just stuck us with being the bad guys here.  There are plenty liberals who secretly don’t want to call it marriage, they just don’t SAY it as loudly.
             

          • Why not just have a beer with gays? Is there something special about guns and gays? Or guns and conservatives? Is it that phallic symbol thing? A subliminal message from conservatives to gays that they have something in common; “Yes, I like puds too, but only symbolically”.
             
            Whatever, I am sure all those firepower-deprived gays will be oh so grateful to conservatives for teaching them the joys of shooting a few loads down range. Them being closet cowboys and all.

  • The union of male & female is the basis of our continued existence and the orginator of family, community and nation. As such, the male/female union deserves a special place in a thriving society. We’ve called that place marriage. To lessen the status of the male/female union is to lessen the society.

    • How?  The vast majority of marriages are straight ones.  Not to mention there are plenty of straight marriages out there that are complete train wrecks.
      If conservatives want to be anti-collectivists then stop treating gays as a collective.

      • I made no mention of homosexuals or collectives. I spoke of the status of a male/female union that is the basis of our existence and of civilization. Just because imperfect humans do not always live up to their values and principles is not a reason to discard those values/principles.
        I would put more trust in a person who has principles/values/morals and fails to live up to them than a person who has none.

        • “Imperfect humans”  Really?
          Whatever happened to the pursuit of happiness?  Why should gays be denied the pursuit of happiness because their definition of happiness is not exactly the same in the values and principles department as straight people.
          Even if I grant the idea that homosexual values are substandard to my own they still are not doing me any harm so why should I care?
          I also don’t think it is fair to say that gays have no values.  From my own personal experience, almost all the gay people I’ve met have been nice people and the ones that were not nice I didn’t like for reasons other than being gay.

          • I never said homosexuals have no values or substandard ones and again the only mention I made of homosexuals is in relation to your saying I did.
            Your strawmen arguments show a lack of substance.

      • And, stop making collectivist arguments about the “status” to “the society”.
        When a same-sex couple marries, that doesn’t affect male-female married couples.  Nobody regards the male-female relationship as any less.
        Now, when the culture shifts so that infidelity, abuse, and other dysfunction become commonplace and accepted, one could argue that those of lower character sully the general impression of the institution of marriage.

    • I’ll throw in that we are facing demographic failure as a result of a failure to reproduce. That’s a “collectivist” point, but not all such points are wrong. Our individualist concept of liberty depends upon a cultural norm that is collectivist.

      We were in demographic deline prior to gay marriage, so I think wide support for gay marriage is an indicator of a deeper disfunction, not the cause.

      I’m not opposed to gay marriage, and even supported it in the 2008 CA election. However I am skeptical about it. My view is that it is a political football many gay activists want to spike, and political victory, not the right to marry, is the real goal.

  • You want to embrace Hispanics in large newly immigrated numbers, but then you want them to embrace gay marriage. 

    Make up your mind. 

    The Democrats run a very careful balancing act and they don’t have anyone calling them on it.  Republican’s won’t be afforded the same. 

  • I agree that fighting against gay marriage is a losing battle, and the case aginst gay marriage violating my rights a dubious one.  If  two same-sex partners want to call themselves married,  it’s absolutely no violation of my property rights, and hence, not at all the purvey or the government.  The bigger question is though, why in the heck is government involved in marriage at all?  To me, marriage is a religous sacrament.  What business is it of theirs whether I’m married or not?  But if two same-sex partners want to call themselves married,  it’s absolutely no violation of my property rights, and hence, not at all the purvey or the government.

  • Here’s the sticky wicket – you prepared to abandon the evangelicals and try to siphon off enough from the Dems to make a go of it? Where’s our best hope – to shed 20% or so of our current coalition and try to supplement by ripping off from the other side en masse, or tweak our 48 and try to shave off indies and swing voters? We need to get more info first – for example I’m hearing our GOTV was a clusterfark. If that’s true does it change the calculus? My own take- the party has to define one or two principles that are our hills to die on and the rest- who cares?

    • My hope is to convince evangelicals and others that it’s actually in their interest to be proactive on this, instead of sitting in a defensive crouch.  I’m explicitly trying to avoid the zero-sum or negative-sum.  I want to convince conservatives that taking the initiative means they can address what they’re really worried about, and this would have political and policy benefits for conservatives and the GOP.

      • I understand but you need to realize that you’ll still lose a chunk – possibly a big one – of evangelicals. Can you offset that with poaching from the Dems on this? I don’t think you can personally. Yes, tt’s probably in the best long term interest for the GOP to decouple itself from the Evangelicals but the short and medium term…..oooh that’s gonna hurt.

    • Supposedly, younger Evangelicals are okay with gay marriage.

  • <blockquote>With gay marriage, you have a group trying awfully hard to get more invested.</blockquote>

    I don’t think so. I don’t think the gay lobby pushes for gay marriage because gays want to marry.

    My preferred solution is to get the government out of the marriage buisness.

    • If they don’t really want gay marriage, then they’re going to have a much harder time arguing for other things once they no longer have exclusion from marriage as an excuse.  In the meantime, I’d rather have the gays themselves inside a conservatism-promoting institution.

      If you know of a politically viable path to getting the government out of the marriage business, I’m all ears.  I don’t think social conservatives will accept that before they accede to civil unions for gays.

      • My point is that you are not going to get many of them inside a conservative insititution. Their goal is to win a political victory, not to get married.

        I think most social conservatives would cede them civil unions that don’t include the word “marriage”. But that isn’t enough, ’cause the gays really want a political victory. sure, there are some exceptions, but in the main . . .

        Gays actually tend to make good money and be generally productive economically, very much a conservative institution, but it does not sway their politics.

        As far as getting the government out of marriage, that is mostly a tax code issue, and an issue of government control of schools, children, etc. I don’t have an answer, but I don’t see social cons as the roadblock.

      • ” conservatism-promoting institution.”

        So where are the numbers showing that married people are more conservative, and thus Republican, than unmarried, Democratic people? And then, of course, the evidence showing that they are conservative because they are married, not married because they are conservative. You know, that hoary old causation vs. correlation cliche.

        • The marriage gap is one of the biggest in American politics.  As GQR Research put it when breaking down the 2004 vote, “The marriage gap is a defining dynamic in today’s politics, eclipsing the gender gap, with marital status a significant predictor of the vote, independent of the effects of age, race, income, education or gender.”  But Greenberg went even further: “Marital status was a statistically significant predictor of likelihood to vote for Kerry in regression analysis.  This is true even when controlling for other demographic and behavioral factors such as gender, age, race, gun ownership, union household membership, party identification, education, income, and church attendance.  Controlling for all these other variables, the odds of voting for Kerry were 1.56 times greater if the voter was unmarried than if the voter was married.  In contrast, once other demographic and behavioral factors were controlled for, a voter’s gender had no significant effect on their likelihood to vote for the Democrat.”

          That was cited in the link I provided in my post about immigration.  I think to some extent the causation runs both ways: the types of people who are conservative are more likely to get married, and marriage tends to make people more conservative.  But considering that there’s a significant marriage gap even when controlling for all those other factors that would tend to capture conservatism, including party ID, religiosity, union affiliation and gun ownership, it appears that marriage itself makes you more likely to vote Republican.

          • “That was cited in the link I provided in my post about immigration.”
             
            May well be, but I don’t often choose to work through layers of cites. The numbers also, for obvious reasons, do not contain any significant number of gay marriages. The inference that gays and straights will both become conservative if they are married is unwarranted.
             
            “I think to some extent the causation runs both ways”
             
            That’s nice, but what you or I think is irrelevant.
             
            Your cite is ONE paragraph from a study  about ONE election by ONE political consulting firm run by liberals/progressives.  Please tell me you have other sources. Otherwise, you are wasting everyone’s time. If you wish to present your arguments as if they were supported by science (assuming political polling by political consultants is science) then you need to be a bit more rigorous.

          • You can do your own homework on the marriage gap (it’s as easy as searching for “marriage gap”) and find plenty more from other pollsters, like this and this from Gallup; the link I provided earlier can be verified by anyone who looks at the numbers, and I’m open to competing claims, but that study had the virtue of clearly stating that the marriage gap exists even when controlling for other variables.

            The rational approach to new evidence is to check whether you have any evidence of your own that would contradict it, just in case your suspicions aren’t built on a solid foundation.  You haven’t provided any.  If you have reason to doubt that gays will be more conservative once married, look for evidence.  If there is none, then you should probably privilege the fact that marriage is a massively important factor in everyone else’s voting.

  • Take “marriage” (dependents, head of household, etc…) out of the tax code, convert the State portion of “marriage” to a civil contract and leave “marriage” to religious organizations.

  • One question, Bryan: can you name one place in the US where it is illegal for members of the opposite sex to marry?

    • I don’t see how it’s relevant, but no, I can’t.

      • Right.  It’s relevant because the terms of the debate change.  If we’re talking about denying access to something, then that’s one thing.  But, as here, if all we’re talking about is whether the government recognizes certain relationships or not, then the conversation changes.  The entire reason government formally acknowledges opposite-sex marriage is because it tends to result in children, and such children benefit society when they grow up in a stable, two-parent household.  Recognizing SSM doesn’t provide any real benefit to society, so there is no pressing need to do so.  On the contrary, there is evidence that recognizing such unions actually undermines traditional marriage.  So, in the end, the real question is what is the result of legally condoning SSM?  If we leave it up to each state to decide (which is my preferred path) then we’ll have some evidence to examine and evaluate.  If, instead, it gets shoved down the throats of everyone whether they like it or not, then we have an intolerable situation that on,y breeds contempt and resentment.

        • There isn’t a singular reason that government formally acknowledges opposite-sex couples.  Marriage, like common law and various customs, survived and was passed down for reasons that may be mostly mysterious to us.  It’s a complicated institution that works for a lot of different kinds of people, with wildly different faiths and cultures.  As I said in my post, it seems to work even for couples that can’t have children together.

          Why shouldn’t we expect the commitments of marriage – or civil unions, if you prefer – to foster stability for all kinds of intimate couples?  If it works for a nontrivial minority numbering in the millions, that’s a substantial benefit for society.  If stable married gay couples are good adoptive parents (or any better than the worst foster homes), would you agree that’s an even bigger win for society and conservatism?

          And I have yet to see good evidence that recognizing same-sex unions undermines traditional marriage.  I’m not even sure what good evidence would look like in this case.  How were you convinced?

          Finally, I don’t recall bringing up federal or state implementation of gay marriage, only that conservatives should perceive expanding the institution as an opportunity rather than as a threat.  If conservatives were proactive, they could implement it with legislation at whatever level they thought appropriate, rather than rushing to do battle wherever the Left chooses to fight.

          • ” Marriage, like common law and various customs, survived and was passed down for reasons that may be mostly mysterious to us.”
             
            Mysterious to you , maybe. I think most of the rest of us know.
             
            “it seems to work even for couples that can’t have children together.”
            There’s a clue.
             

          • Note to Bryan: Never post stuff like this the day after an election loss. The natives are restless and looking to take out their angst on someone. You provided the venue. ;)

          • Rawr…….  :D

          • “There isn’t a singular reason that government formally acknowledges opposite-sex couples.”
            No, there really is.  It’s to protect and foster the nuclear, blood-related, family because this benefits society.  Are there other cases that also benefit from this arrangement (e.g. childless couples, adopted kids)?  Of course.  But the policy reasons for such recognition are firmly centered on the biological children of married couples.
            “Marriage, like common law and various customs, survived and was passed down for reasons that may be mostly mysterious to us.”
            Neither marriage nor the common law are mysteries to me.  And keep in mind that government didn’t create marriage, so it’s involvement should be limited to recognizing it as a beneficial cultural norm.  Once the government starts meddling with what marriage is or isn’t, it threatens to undermine that culture and destroy the benefits it provides. (As an aside, it’s interesting that the SSM crowd has never really lobbied religious organizations to change their views which, if they did, would lead to a much quicker assimilation of the practice.)
            “And I have yet to see good evidence that recognizing same-sex unions undermines traditional marriage.  I’m not even sure what good evidence would look like in this case.  How were you convinced?”
            Here’s one piece of data:
            “9. Same-sex marriage has lead to increased acceptance of single parenthood and has undermined the institution of marriage in Scandinavia. Sweden began offering same-sex couples benefits in 1987, followed by Denmark in 1989 and Norway in 1993. According to a Feb. 29, 2004 report by Stanley Kurtz, PhD, 60% of firstborn children in Denmark and a majority of children in Sweden and Norway are born out of wedlock.”  [Source]
            That doesn’t necessarily end the argument.  But it should at least be seriously considered.  Instead we get pro-SSM advocates shrieking about homophobia and religious wingnuts.  That’s no way to have a conversation.  I’d rather see how things work in the different states (laboratories of democracy and whatnot) and if no deleterious effects are found, then the practice spread and become widely accepted.  Easy divorce is probably one of the biggest factors undermining traditional marriage, so maybe recognizing SSM will have miniscule effects in comparison.  In any event, pretending that SSM would only strengthen marriage is to ignore a cogent part of the debate.
            “Finally, I don’t recall bringing up federal or state implementation of gay marriage, only that conservatives should perceive expanding the institution as an opportunity rather than as a threat.”
            As I stated above, it could very well be a threat.  Nevertheless, I think the argument needs to be limited to the state level so that we can actually see what happens without instituting a nationwide policy.
            “If conservatives were proactive, they could implement it with legislation at whatever level they thought appropriate, rather than rushing to do battle wherever the Left chooses to fight.”
            Allowing the Left to define the battle space is a problem that conservatives have, but adopting the liberal stance on an issue has never been a winning proposition for the Right (e.g. wrt to your other post on immigration, see the Simpson-Mazzoli fallout in the 80’s which led to zero support from Hispanics).

          • I can’t speak for others, but I am very even-tempered. I am just as obnoxious every day, all day.

          • Michael, let’s start with something on which I don’t think we have any need to disagree:

            I’d rather see how things work in the different states (laboratories of democracy and whatnot) and if no deleterious effects are found, then the practice spread and become widely accepted.

            Isn’t that more likely to happen if conservatives lead the way in drafting legislation that protects religious freedom and other conservative principles, rather than fighting the Left in courtrooms and referenda of their choosing?
            Now, on to something where we’re starting to get closer to agreement:

            MichaelW: The entire reason government formally acknowledges opposite-sex marriage is because it tends to result in children, and such children benefit society when they grow up in a stable, two-parent household.
            Bryan Pick: There isn’t a singular reason that government formally acknowledges opposite-sex couples.
            MichaelW: No, there really is.  It’s to protect and foster the nuclear, blood-related, family because this benefits society.  Are there other cases that also benefit from this arrangement (e.g. childless couples, adopted kids)?  Of course.  But the policy reasons for such recognition are firmly centered on the biological children of married couples.

            You’ve already acknowledged two cases in which society, and particular groups of people, benefit from marriage that don’t have to do with a couple’s biological children, and I’m sure you could name more.  There are manifold benefits, like the economic and specialization benefits of stabilized cohabitation, or the benefits of the norm of monogamy, which obviously can apply to same-sex couples too.
            Why should we privilege a particular set of policy reasons?  Because those were what those legislatures had in mind when they decided to upend centuries of marriage-as-private-contract and start requiring licenses?  Well, in some times and places, one of the policy reasons for marriage licenses was to prohibit miscegenation, but obviously nobody here thinks that should be privileged.
            Bottom line: the policy reasons are whatever decision-makers (voters and their representatives) say they are.  Whether it’s good policy or not is up for debate – with federalist experimentation, if conservatives can get ahead of it.

            Bryan Pick: Marriage, like common law and various customs, survived and was passed down for reasons that may be mostly mysterious to us.
            MichaelW: Neither marriage nor the common law are mysteries to me.

            Heh, I know you’re well-practiced in both.  But in the sense I’m talking about, they’re a mystery to all of us.  I’m channeling Hayek here: we don’t know all the reasons certain institutions work, even if we can make educated guesses, because human nature is complicated, and a lot of well-intentioned, rigorously planned laws and institutions have fallen by the wayside, sometimes after centuries of practice.  This is often used as an argument against doing away with old institutions on a whim, but I’m using it to suggest that rather than inventing entirely new institutions to solve a set of problems for same-sex couples that marriage seems to solve for opposite-sex couples, we might try replicating much of the existing institution – at least the civil side.

            As an aside, it’s interesting that the SSM crowd has never really lobbied religious organizations to change their views which, if they did, would lead to a much quicker assimilation of the practice.

            They’ve definitely inquired; what can we reasonably expect them to do when various churches say No?  I’d certainly feel less out of place lobbying a republican government (or the people who elect it) for civil recognition than demanding a 2,000-year-old church change its views.

            Bryan Pick: “And I have yet to see good evidence that recognizing same-sex unions undermines traditional marriage.  I’m not even sure what good evidence would look like in this case.  How were you convinced?”
            MichaelW: Here’s one piece of data:“9. Same-sex marriage has lead to increased acceptance of single parenthood and has undermined the institution of marriage in Scandinavia. Sweden began offering same-sex couples benefits in 1987, followed by Denmark in 1989 and Norway in 1993. According to a Feb. 29, 2004 report by Stanley Kurtz, PhD, 60% of firstborn children in Denmark and a majority of children in Sweden and Norway are born out of wedlock.”  [Source]That doesn’t necessarily end the argument.  But it should at least be seriously considered.

            Okay, how do I not counter with “post hoc ergo propter hoc”?  Kurtz admits that marriage had been in worsening shape for decades before gay marriage was allowed, he admits that opposite-sex marriage rates rose and divorce rates fell after gay marriage was allowed, but he objects that the marriage rate was already so low that this doesn’t mean much, and it doesn’t capture what’s happened to cohabitating couples since then.  His article needs, at a minimum, comparisons of these trends before and after gay marriage.
            And Kurtz laments that in Norway, the SSM crowd did lobby the Lutheran church to change its views, and it painfully divided the church.  I confess I know nothing about this, so I don’t know how accurate his depiction is.  Either way, what I don’t see is evidence that gay marriage was actually to blame for any of the other problems with marriage in Scandinavia.

            Allowing the Left to define the battle space is a problem that conservatives have, but adopting the liberal stance on an issue has never been a winning proposition for the Right

            Well, part of my argument here is that it’s not necessarily the liberal stance.  The liberal stance may be that as long as conservatives are stuck in defense mode, they can attack conservative institutions on the premise that they’re helping gays break in.  But I don’t think they’re prepared for what would happen if conservatives loudly proposed legislation that allowed gay marriage/unions, signaling that conservatives want gays to be inside the institution protecting it, while simultaneously setting up a “legal firewall” (to borrow words from this post) to protect other freedoms.  That would have a tremendously clarifying effect for those conservatives who really are of good will, that their fight is truly limited to matters of principle.  Is there any other strategy, in a country where the tide of public opinion is turning, where the outcome doesn’t look like surrender or simple defeat?

  • What makes you think most gays don’t already know how to use fire arms?  You expose your own prejudices as a conservative.

    • I addressed this above.  Some gays don’t know how to use them, and I think it’d be awesome if more did.

      Also, I’m not a conservative, I’m a libertarian.  As is every other author on this blog.

      • So, STFU about CONSERVATIVES.  You are free to bloviate about what Libertarians should be doing.  And you will remain a silly voice with as much influence as a StarTrek conventioneer.

        • Right … because Republicans have done so well the last two presidential elections that they can afford to continue indulging themselves in the status quo.

          • And how have Libertarians fared?

          • Better than I’ve expected. But we’re talking about the GOP, aren’t we?

          • What’s your point here, McQ?  Winning is everything?  It isn’t to me.  My principles are.
            Who is speaking for the the FLUCKING GOP?  Not I, and this was not addressed to them, but “conservatives”.

          • Winning is better than losing and reality is reality. Principles are important. But if they’re based on a false premise, they’re useless and debilitating. Tell me one inherent right two wed gays violate of yours. That’s right … none. They being wed is absolutely no threat to your rights as a human being. It doesn’t threaten your life, it doesn’t threaten your liberty and it doesn’t threaten you property. So tell me what “principle” you’re protecting. If you’re against gay marriage, it’s fairly simple for you … don’t marry one.

          • Since QandO’s beginning, the authors have mocked the LP folks for being so focused on sticking to the party line that they neglect coalition-building and practical politics.  It’s a social club, not a vehicle for achieving libertarian policy.

            After every losing election, I see a certain bunch of conservatives do the same thing: acting like there’s nothing wrong with their approach, not thinking creatively about how to expand conservatism and build a majority political coalition that can actually make policy reflect their core principles.  Everything is a threat, nothing is an opportunity.

            Or maybe, for some of them, one core principle really is that they want an exclusive social club where certain kinds of people have to crawl over glass to get in.  They can’t all be totally oblivious to how a bunch of fairly small-government-sympathetic folks conclude that the conservatives want to keep them on the outside.

          • “Or maybe, for some of them, one core principle really is that they want an exclusive social club”
             
            Ah! At last, something we can agree on. I have met some of those folks. It’s one reason I no longer consider myself a Republican.

        • Rags: This blog has had a big-tent pragmatic libertarian philosophy from its inception almost a decade ago.  Unlike some libertarians and apparently some conservatives, we accept the necessity of coalition politics, so we offer advice to other parts of the Republican coalition with some frequency.  If you’d prefer an echo chamber, you’re spending way too much time here.

          And since I’m an editor at this blog, I can’t wait to see what you do when I continue to offer advice to conservatives without your permission.

          • Heh.

          • “so we offer advice to other parts of the Republican coalition with some frequency.”
             
            Advice to losers from even bigger losers. Hey, slick, when a Libertarian is chosen as a VP candidate, or even a cabinet position, your advice on how to build coalitions and win elections may be worth something. Until then, you are just another windbag, like the rest of us.

          • Have you seen any of us tout the LP? The reason is, as Bryan mentions, we’re engaged in something that we believe is more effective. And that’s working within the two parties to effect change. And to a point, that sort of effort has been successful. Randy Barnett lays it out pretty well in this WSJ article I posted over on QandO’s facebook page:

            http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB10001424052970203922804578080684214526670-lMyQjAxMTAyMDAwNTEwNDUyWj.html?mod=wsj_valetleft_email

          • Sure, Bryan.
            But why not be honest and just title this bullshit, “Conservatives should be Libertarians, ‘cus…you know…”
            You can write all the loopy nonsense you want (like we should have open borders because Hispanic voters don’t even list immigration as high on their priorities, and it would be so awesomely wonderful ‘cuz…you know…).
            I’ll just call it the loopy, unsupported bullshit it is, and you will be ignored by Conservatives.  Not because we don’t think, but because we DO.

          • Rags, you can go home any time you like, but you can’t take the ball.  Of course I’m going to advocate for conservatives to enact more libertarian-friendly policies, and given what this blog has been for a decade it would be downright stupid to think I ever pretended otherwise.

            Conservatives and libertarians have genuine differences of opinion, and I’m the first to admit that libertarians need coalition partners to get anything done.  On gay marriage and Hispanic immigration, though, I think many conservatives are shooting themselves and the GOP in the foot.

            And let me worry about whether conservatives are ignoring me.  Your constant responses to my posts and comments aren’t going to convince me.

        • Republicans who voted for Ron Paul in primaries outnumbered the margin of victory for Obama in states whose EC totals exceeded Obama’s margin above 270.  Granted, simply adding and subtracting those columns is overly simplistic.
          But in this time of introspection, Republicans might reconsider the arrogantly dismissive attitudes towards self-described libertarians and the like, who might be persuaded to vote GOP.
          If your party is going to pander and compromise on principles to survive, would you prefer the surrender to hurt economic productivity or simply to change customs which have no significant economic impact?  Because losing elections means the Democrats will probably beat your party on most of those battles.
          If you insist on not compromising on principles, then why are you agreeing to subject such questions to a popularity contest–in a country filled with people not equipped to make rational judgements?

    • Please. He’s not a conservative. And everyone knows that gays don’t carry guns because they create unsightly bulges in their trousers, detracting from the sightly bulges. Besides, guns are so butch.

  • How about “Why Conservatives Should Embrace 2 + 2 = 5.”

    • He’ll get to that.  Give him time.

    • Non sequitur.
      I could care less what your religious beliefs are, up and until it becomes the excuse to exert negative control on people who have done nothing to harm you.  If you want to start citing examples of counter-factual ideas, I can put the big book of Catholic beliefs on the table right now and leaf through page by page to enumerate all of the “2 + 2 = 5″ sorts of things, starting with dinosaurs, Noah’s ark, and on up through transubstantiation and purgatory.  Since that is the source of your particular values which leads you to assert that marriage can only be male-female, then once you use that as a basis to make political policy, it’s fair game for scrutiny.
      Likewise, the government shouldn’t dictate to the Catholic church that it must perform or recognize same-sex marriages, just as it shouldn’t be made to pay for contraceptives.
       

      • Likewise, the government shouldn’t dictate to the Catholic church that it must perform or recognize same-sex marriages, just as it shouldn’t be made to pay for contraceptives.

        Upon review, I should have written:

        Outsiders should not compel the Catholic church to perform or recognize same-sex marriage, or to other things against doctrine, like paying for contraceptives.

        The first could be read to include an implicit agreement that government ought to be the arbiter.  Stripping government of the power to grant marriage licenses would unmuddy the waters a bit and allow people to see the moral decisions  with more clarity.

  • Could an embrace of removing marriage completely from government ever have any support? Seems to me i would prefer that the government play no role in it, but that might be wishful thinking.

  • For those who attach religious significance to marriage and who oppose the government forcing religious groups to pay for contraceptives, do you not see the paradox in wanting government to be the arbiter of the definition of “marriage” by choosing those who qualify for licenses?
    Or, try this analogy: a taxpayer-funded public school, which compels parents who cannot afford private school to send their children to attend, offers no choice on lunch menu items, and disallows lunch brought from home.  Every child who eats lunch eats the same thing.  A conflict arises because people of a given religion object to their children being made to eat food which is not kosher, halal, ahimsa, vegetarian, or whatever their conception of “allowed” may be.  Other parents argue that their children should be allowed to eat all varieties of foods, and that those Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, etc. parents should shut up and not impose some weird, unpopular restriction.  They further argue that if the food is taboo, the child can not eat.  Then, naturally, the PC administrators decide to cave in to the demands of the protesting group and mandate that the menu exclude the taboo food.  They further argue that if the children not in the minority religious group don’t like it, they can not eat.
    Arguing over what the children should or should not be given at lunch misses crucial premises: (1) compulsory attendance and (2) no menu choices.  So long as you ignore those ethical snags, resolving the dispute over menu items is a fool’s errand.

    • do you not see the paradox in wanting government to be the arbiter of the definition of “marriage” by choosing those who qualify for licenses?

      Which stands reality nicely on its head.  Marriage as a cultural norm PREDATES government.  The idea of marriage as between the two sexes is not “arbitrated” by government; it recognized what existed.  Rather the corruption of the idea by the urging of a fraction of gay people would be the arbitrary use of government power to force a change in a cultural norm.

      • Note that the word “norm” simple means that (1) something is common or popular or (2) something which is a rule.  So, either there is political pressure or force used to compel obedience, or neighbors shun those who behave in an unpopular way.
        Either way, I am not impressed that narrow definitions of a most private relationship between people is a matter of popularity or politics.  Racism was the “norm” for centuries and people, seeing the consequences, have become enlightened and ended that.

        Marriage as a cultural norm PREDATES government.

        Polygamy has been practiced throughout history, and the practice could only be squashed by government prohibition or sectarian violence.  In that case, the government didn’t recognize what existed, it suppressed it.
        There are many historical accounts of same-sex unions, some even classified as marriage, which were then explicitly outlawed by government.  And, certainly people of mixed races married all the time, until some government decided arbitrarily to enact miscegenation prohibitions.
        Clearly, the government forcibly set the “cultural norm” in all of these cases.

        Rather the corruption of the idea by the urging of a fraction of gay people would be the arbitrary use of government power to force a change in a cultural norm.

        It isn’t “a fraction of gay people” urging an end to the prohibition on same-sex marriage.  Straight people also see the prohibition as unnecessary and, frequently, motivated by spite.  When miscegenation laws were challenged, it wasn’t just people attracted to members of a different racial group.  It was people who saw that the government was wrong to keep two people who loved each other apart over bigotry.
        What is “corrupt” about two people who love each other vowing to stay together for life?  Cultural conservatives criticize “the gay lifestyle” for promiscuity, but what’s better to combat that problem than marriage?
        Many cultural norms in the past have gone the way of the Dodo.  When the “norm” amounts to infringing on the freedom of people who are not harming others, it should be dismantled.
         

        • “So, either there is political pressure or force used to compel obedience, or neighbors shun those who behave in an unpopular way.”
           
          No. Sloppy. That is a false dichotomy.  Abnormal behaviors or ideas are not necessarily unpopular or repressed by government.

          • Actually, I was considering the various definitions of “norm”.  If you don’t want to use the word “norm”, we can discuss the topic in other ways.  Or, if you have a definition I overlooked, let me know.
            If the argument for preventing people from engaging in an activity is based upon the premise that the activity violates a “norm”, then one needs to explicate how that word is being used.
            Skateboarding is an abnormal behavior (most people don’t do it).  It’s unnatural and often dangerous.  Also, many people who do it are obnoxious.  If one argued that skateboards be prohibited because they are abnormal, they violate existing “norms”, is that a valid argument?
            Also, left-handed heterosexuals and heterosexuals of Navajo ancestry are “abnormal”, too.  Are they prevented from entering into a marriage?
            You have every right to judge homosexuals by your own values and to reject the use of the word “marriage” to describe formal, lifelong same-sex covenants.  But you should not interfere with the freedom of other people to do things which hurt no one else, or to use the word “marriage” as they see fit.

  • I think I understand the logic. Evangelicals & other social conservatives can advance policies promoting their core principles by supporting policies like gay marriage.

    Social and fiscal conservatives can advance their causes by supporting massive immigration of people who cannot, due to the large numbers, be assimilated and must be financially supported.

    Oops. Must go.
    I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date.
    No time to say hello.
    Goodby.
    I’m late, I’m late, I’m late.

  • Evangelicals & other social conservatives can advance policies promoting their core principles by supporting policies like gay marriage.”

    Why would I be concerned if those groups fail to promote their core principles politically, i.e., impose them on the rest of us?  I want them to fail–spectacularly–in such endeavors.
    However, should they want the freedom to exercise their values without infringement by the government, they could see the value in eliminating the government power to grant marriage licenses.  Then, they can be the arbiter of what defines marriage for their group.  Live and let live.
    Meanwhile, I’ll continue to lead my family and teach by example the same basic values (minus the religion), without demanding that my neighbors do likewise.  I want to end drug prohibition, but I don’t want my children or grandchildren to abuse drugs or alcohol.  I want to end vice laws on prostitution, but I don’t want anyone I know to be involved in that.  Same basic values, but taught, not forced.
    I realize that social conservatives typically cannot stand for other people to have the freedom to engage in “sinful” behavior–they aren’t happy if anyone else is having fun.  So, I don’t expect most of them to see the upside to such an arrangement.  Thus, they can continue to beat their heads on the wall failing to elect politicians and pass laws to punish vice.  I hope it hurts.

    Social and fiscal conservatives can advance their causes by supporting massive immigration of people who cannot, due to the large numbers, be assimilated and must be financially supported.

    Or, they can recognize that borders are just lines on a map, that most immigrants are happy to be productive workers, and that businesses can benefit from cheap, unskilled labor.  Open the borders, eliminate minimum wage, end welfare, get the government out of the medical insurance business, stop requiring hospitals to treat the indigent, etc..  If new immigrants find that the barrios and ghettos are too crowded and not enough jobs are available, they’ll go back home.  That’s what happened with people who emigrated back to Mexico once the US economy slowed.
    Many Republicans recognize that immigrant labor is important for our economy.  They’re called “soft” by others.  But that’s a different thread, anyway.