December 08, 2009

"A Concervative Case for Gay Marriage"

A very refreshing point of view is discussed in this essay from the Providence Journal:

Conservatives shouldn’t just allow same-sex marriage. They should insist on it.

The conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks made that argument in a 2003 column, and the liberal Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne Jr. recalled his words when he was in Providence on Nov. 8 to speak at the Central Congregational Church.

Dionne, who describes himself as a progressive Catholic, said he used to oppose same-sex marriage while favoring civil-rights laws protecting gay people. “I’m not going to say anybody who is against gay marriage is a bigot because I once held that position myself,” he said in an interview.

Dionne said he changed his mind because he was persuaded by the conservative case for same-sex marriage.

In a November 2003 column, “The Power of Marriage,” Brooks noted nearly half of all marriages end in divorce and, in some circles, marriage isn’t even expected. Men “trade up” for a younger “trophy wife.” Men and women split when their “needs” don’t seem to be met. “Marriage is in crisis because marriage, which relies on a culture of fidelity, is now asked to survive in a culture of contingency,” he said.

Brooks noted some conservatives base their opposition to same-sex marriage on biological determinism, portraying men as savages who need women to tame them. “But in fact, we are not animals whose lives are bounded by our flesh and by our gender,” he wrote. “We’re moral creatures with souls, endowed with the ability to make covenants, such as the one Ruth made with Naomi: ‘Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried.’ ”

Brooks concluded, “The conservative course is not to banish gay people from making such commitments. It is to expect that they make such commitments. We shouldn’t just allow gay marriage. We should insist on gay marriage. We should regard it as scandalous that two people could claim to love each other and not want to sanctify their love with marriage and fidelity.”

There is much more in Edward Fitzpatrick's essay. Click here to read it.

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