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Conservatism and gay marriage:

Video of the presentations at the symposium on conservatism and gay marriage — held at the South Texas College of Law in Houston on February 15 — is now available for viewing online here. The presenters were: Charles Murray, David Frum, Gerard Bradley, Jesse Choper, Jonathan Rauch, Robert Nagel, Teresa Stanton Collett, and me.

some dude:
So what is the executive summary? Is gay marriage an oxymoron or what?
3.12.2008 3:50pm
Cornellian (mail):
If you're an economic conservative, there are any number of reasons to support same sex marriage. If you're a social conservative, the basis for supporting it is considerably more difficult to discern, to put it mildly.
3.12.2008 4:19pm
E:
Can anyone sum up David Frum's position without having to watch the video?
3.12.2008 4:38pm
some dude:
If you're an economic conservative, there are any number of reasons to support same sex marriage.

I don't know about "support." Maybe "not oppose."
3.12.2008 5:02pm
Hoosier:
When people say "support," I suspect they mean "Support the right" to marry, right?
3.12.2008 5:17pm
TomH (mail):
Unfortunately, to many, support means, "require."

I note the logic of those more extreme arguments against abortion and gay marriage, who believe that allowing it is tantamount either making it mandatory or being swallowed in a tidal wave of it. Whereas, I would think that if it were so darn popular, it would be legal by now.
3.12.2008 5:56pm
Houston Lawyer:
In many instances support does mean require. For instance, the Supreme Court requires that abortion be legal everywhere in the United States. Conservatives rightly fear that the Supreme Court would do the same with SSM.

We still do not have a SSM statute in this country enacted by a state legislature and signed by a governor.
3.12.2008 6:13pm
Cornellian (mail):
We still do not have a SSM statute in this country enacted by a state legislature and signed by a governor.

Look for that to happen in California once Arnold is gone and replaced by a Democrat. It won't be long.
3.12.2008 7:07pm
frankcross (mail):
I know a very prominent lawprof conservative, not especially an economic conservative, really a social conservative though not in the culture wars sense, who favors gay marriage.

His theory is that marriage is a great, conservative institution. Expanding its reach is therefore a good conservative policy.
3.12.2008 7:51pm
Chimaxx (mail):
Houston Lawyer:

Even in that instance, support does not mean require.

None of the rulings making abortion legal everywhere make it mandatory for anyone to undergo the procedure. No one is required by law to have an abortion.

I'm a big proponent of legalizing same-sex marriage, but I'd definitely be against any bill or ruling that made it mandatory.
3.12.2008 9:26pm
Randy R. (mail):
"Unfortunately, to many, support means, "require."

Oh darn it. Someone must have leaked the memo. But now that the cat's outta the bag, yes, our objective is to require that all couple be same sex. It's the only way to truly destroy marriage, which is the ultimate goal, of course.
3.12.2008 9:32pm
CheckEnclosed (mail):
Plaease note the difference between "Gay Marriage" and "Same Sex Marriage". If two gay people of different sexes want to get married, that seems to be legal in every state, even if they do not love each other, don't have sex with each other, and never procreate or adopt. It is a sham marriage, but legal.

If two people who love each other and want to spend their lives together want to get married, but happen to be of the same sex, that is a threat to the isnstitution of marriage and is generally forbidden.
3.12.2008 9:47pm
Randy R. (mail):
"If you're an economic conservative, there are any number of reasons to support same sex marriage."

Surprisingly, there are quite a few conservatives who are gay. And they support SSM.

I know, I know. Gay republicans? I don't get it either...
3.12.2008 9:48pm
Hoosier:
"His theory is that marriage is a great, conservative institution. Expanding its reach is therefore a good conservative policy."

OK. But I draw the line at affirmative action programs for their cats.

" there are quite a few conservatives who are gay. And they support SSM. "

Gays like SSM? Sounds very naughty, Randy.
3.12.2008 9:57pm
Oren:
HL, Vermont has a civil union bill, passed by the legislature and signed by Howard Dean.

Tomh, you hit it right on the nose.
3.12.2008 10:02pm
Serendipity:
I've long thought that tolerance of gay marriage will come sooner than many believe, because ultimately it IS conservative stance. By gay people marrying, it seems to me that it only reinforces the idea that the only "normal," way to live is in a monogamous relationship, with two children, a dog, and if you can manage it, a house with a picket fence. In many ways it's as if to be accepted, many gay people have decided they need to "pass" for straight, not unlike the way lighter skinned blacks "passed for white," when they could during the years immediately following the Civil War.

Moreover, it seems that it would eventually lead to the collapse of whatever "gay community," might be left. Those gay who decide to get married and do the "normal," thing, will belittle and attempt to distance themselves from those who still like to go out and get laid in bath house and wear leather to gay pride parades. In the process, "free spirited," straight people who are okay with swinging and polyamory and the like will be even further marginalized, resulting in a final reification of the "heterosexual matrix."
3.12.2008 10:54pm
Alec:
It seems to me that opposition to gay marriage carries more symbolic value than anything else. Ditto support for gay marriage over, say, civil unions that included federal benefits. Perhaps this explains why more pragmatic politicians simply settle on the compromise of civil unions and remain unconcerned about the word value of marriage. But I digress...

...because I want to address the idea that somehow marriage will make any of us, gay or straight, more sexually conservative. Does anyone believe this to be true? I no more believe gay marriage will end bathhouse culture than I believe strengthening straight marriages will end prostitution or strip clubs. Maybe it will curb individual behavior, but significantly? Or at least to the point where we notice a change?

Behaviors and habits in the gay male community are pretty deeply engrained. No surprise; sodomy laws were only eliminated in 2003 and gay men are one of the few social groups routinely demonized by name in popular culture and polite circles. Furtive sexual encounters thrive in that kind of climate.

Most conservative opposition to gay marriage is actually opposition to homosexuality, not support of traditional marriage, a term that has lost all meaning in an era of high divorce and adultery. Similarly, proponents of gay marriage and civil unions have to realize that many gay couples do not have the same view of monogamy that their heterosexual counterparts purport to have in theory. I have yet to see a different approach that is not demographically or intellectually dishonest.
3.13.2008 3:17am
some dude:
Plaease note the difference between "Gay Marriage" and "Same Sex Marriage". If two gay people of different sexes want to get married, that seems to be legal in every state, even if they do not love each other, don't have sex with each other, and never procreate or adopt. It is a sham marriage, but legal.
CheckEnclosed


Quite right. This goes to show that gays already have the same right to marry as anyone else.
3.13.2008 10:29am
IB Bill (mail) (www):
I think Andrew Sullivan tried to make a conservative argument for gay marriage ... though I never quite bought it. Why should I, as a member of the community, be interested in supporting the monogamy of homosexuals?
3.13.2008 11:36am
Randy R. (mail):
"This goes to show that gays already have the same right to marry as anyone else."

Yup. We can gay men can marry any ole whore, as long as she's a female. But if I want to marry the one person I really want to marry, I can't. Funny how that works.

"Most conservative opposition to gay marriage is actually opposition to homosexuality, not support of traditional marriage,"

Bingo! And these people, it they could, would pass a law that when gays drive to work, they have to hit every red light, and at the movies, they only get stale popcorn. they believe that if they make life as difficult as possible for us, somehow we won't 'choose' to be gay.

I have news for them: I get stale popcorn at the movies all the time, and I have no intention of choosing to be straight!
3.13.2008 11:55am
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):
Why should I, as a member of the community, be interested in supporting the monogamy of homosexuals?

So you are indifferent as to whether homosexuals are monogamous or promiscuous?
3.13.2008 11:56am
IB Bill (mail) (www):
So you are indifferent as to whether homosexuals are monogamous or promiscuous?

Yes.
3.13.2008 11:58am
some dude:
We can gay men can marry any ole whore, as long as she's a female.

Not quite right. You can't marry [censored] if she is currently married to someone else, if she is your sister, if she is your daughter, mother, etc. There are rules that apply equally to everyone. Equal rights.

The ERA didn't pass. Law can distinguish between the sexes.

But if I want to marry the one person I really want to marry, I can't.

Neither can the next guy. Equal rights.
3.13.2008 1:33pm
IB Bill (mail) (www):
The issue isn't legality regarding "marrying the one person I really want to marry." It's impossibility. But I've mentioned that before. Two men can't by definition be married to each other -- not without destroying the definition of marriage. But we don't need to run around that block again.
3.13.2008 2:29pm
Oren:
I suppose Loving v. Virginia was wrongly decided then. After all, it conferred equal rights on blacks and whites.
3.13.2008 2:59pm
IB Bill (mail) (www):
Of course, black and white are exactly the same as male and female. There's no difference whatsoever.
3.13.2008 4:10pm
some dude:
Oren,

I think the law should be colorblind, so Loving v. Virginia was rightly decided. Imagine a set of law that did not contain the words "black people" and "white people" It is easy if you try.

I think the law would be pretty stupid if it were sex-blind, pretending there is no difference between men and women. Imagine a set of law that did not contain "man" or "woman" anywhere within it. Is that a functional body of law?

The law is wrong to make distinctions based on skin color, but not wrong to make distinctions between the sexes. The ERA didn't pass.

The law for everyone should be something like "you may marry any consenting adult who is of the opposite sex, not a close relative, and who is not currently married."

Same rules for everybody.
3.13.2008 4:20pm
IB Bill (mail) (www):
Some Dude: I hear the EEOC will be suing Playboy for discriminating against homosexual men in its choice of centerfold candidates. The EEOC is trying to force the magazine to make Miss June a Mr. June.

The wheels of progress just keep turning! What an enlightened age we live in!
3.13.2008 4:36pm
Chimaxx (mail):
I think it's great that IB Bill clings tenaciously to the one argument that cannot hold--the definitional one. Now that in Massuchusetts and a handful of countries around the globe, male-male and female-female couples are married--under the law; in the eyes of their families, friends, colleagues and communities; many of them in their churches; and in the eyes of their god as they understand him; some of them raising children--those who cling to the definitional argument look like people with their fingers in their ears, singing loudly so they don't hear something they don't want to believe is true. As the number of married same-sex couples grow, those who whip out a dictionary--whether Webster's or a Natural Law dictionary--to incant the definitional spell that conjures these living, breathing married same-sex couples into nonexistence will look increasingly like flat-Earthers on a quest to prove the existence of phlogiston.
3.13.2008 5:25pm