May 27, 2008

Another Mind Changed in Favor of Same-Sex Marriage

E. J. Dionne, Jr. is a columnist for the Washington Post who has not only changed his position on the issue of whether same-sex marriage should be legal, he has publicly stated why he changed his view.

Like a lot of people, I decided I was wrong. What moved me were the conservative arguments for gay marriage put forward by the writers Jonathan Rauch, Andrew Sullivan and New York Times columnist David Brooks.

They see society as having a powerful interest in building respect for long-term commitment and fidelity in sexual relationships and that gay marriage underscores how important commitment is.

Prohibiting members of one part of our population from making a public and legal commitment to each other does not strengthen marriage; it weakens it.

And, as a New York Court of Appeals judge cited by the California court majority noted, fundamental rights "cannot be denied to particular groups on the ground that these groups have historically been denied those rights." If history and tradition had constrained us, equal rights for African-Americans would never have become law.

Dionne does, however, sound a warning:

But to find a constitutional right to gay marriage, the California majority chose to argue that the state's very progressive law endorsing domestic partnerships for homosexuals — it grants all the rights of marriage except the name — was itself a form of discrimination. many states, it will take years for a political and legal consensus in favor of gay marriage to develop. In the interim, civil unions or domestic partnerships are the best hope homosexuals in these states have for some form of legal recognition for their relationships.

The danger is that foes of civil unions will use the court's own logic to argue that such arrangements are not a political halfway house but lead inexorably to gay marriage. It would be unfortunate if California's breakthrough were used to stall significant if more modest progress elsewhere.

Interesting point. Click here to read the rest of his column.
Thanks to PageOneQ for the tip.

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