Carol Platt Liebau: Gay Marriage and Agnostic Conservatives

Monday, August 14, 2006

Gay Marriage and Agnostic Conservatives

Over at Real Clear Politics, Ryan Sager comments on this piece by Heather McDonald, in which Ms. McDonald notes that many conservative skeptics and agnostics oppose gay marriage.

To that, Sager observes: "I'm not sure where opposition to gay marriage fits in as an intrinsic part of non-religion-based conservatism."

Here's how -- at least in my view. What the government is supposed to be doing is securing the life, liberty and property of its people. That includes ensuring the safety and well-being of children (and if you don't agree with that, take it up with the welfare/divorce establishment, which is based on that understanding).

On the whole (though, as with everything else, not always), the best conditions for ensuyring the "rights"/well-being of children is when they are cared for by their married mother and father. The government therefore has an interest in promoting that arrangement, or at least a basis for preferring it. And that's the reason that government policy should limit marriage to a man and a woman.

Certainly, there are compelling arguments for removing unfair legal disabilities that attend gay relationships (hospital visitation rules and the like). But if you'll notice, most gays believe that for there to be true "equality," they are entitled to the word "marriage" as well as to its legal incidents. And that's where they lose many conservatives -- believers and non-believers alike.


Blogger Cavalor Epthith said...

I am amazed that in all the simple eloquence of Ms. MacDonald's work all you could pick out to write about was the gay marriage point. Well that about says it all for the fringe upon which you reside. there is no silent, or for that matter vocal majority here Carol. America the last time I was there was a publicly pious but privately secular electorate and voting is still private.

MacDonald gave you good grist with which to see that those who disagree with the theocratic pandering (Tom DeLay and passing through the eye of a needle comes to mind) but still share your values can be good conservatives. Alas like everything else that runs through the right wing wringer it's your way or the highway.

How about a little more rationalism, humility and god commonsense and less propagandizing and your party might have a chance in the fall.

Does it matter what party is in power if you get good government?


3:03 PM  
Blogger Marshall Art said...

Hey cav,

Get a blog and pick your topics. In the meantime, just debate what the host/hostess picks where you visit.

Considering the well-over-60% that have voted against gay marriage in every state where the issue appeared on a referendum, I'd hardly call it "fringe". While many base their opinions on their faith, one needn't use it to argue in favor of the status quo. None of those in favor of pro-marriage or the sham replacement known as civil unions ever draw the line when asked about which relationships shouldn't be allowed. Care to give it a go? Let's remove the obvious from consideration, that being adult/child, though Judith Levine might disagree.

It's rational commonsense that results in the vote to protect marriage as it stands. "Rational" and "commonsense" are not words that best describe the left these days. So yes, the party matters particularly when getting good government from the Democratic Party is not likely.

5:42 PM  
Blogger Editor said...

C.E. hit the nail on the head. Carol picked one sentence out of the entire article and spun it.

"They view marriage between a man and a woman as the surest way to raise stable, law-abiding children."

This only suggests the non-religious conservatives "may" be against adoption by gays.

The author does not bother to reference any studies or research that suggests this is nothing more than hateful and bigoted thinking.

6:47 PM  
Blogger Cavalor Epthith said...


You and Carol and anyone else is welcome to comment on my blog anytime and as often as you like. This is one thing I do like about Ms. Liebau she does allow free discourse.

And oh yes, the gay marriage thing I think it would be a sin not to accord people who love each other a chance to express it by saying they will love only one other. And with that committment the equal status as being a married couple. That sort of love might be in that book you chaps pick through from time to time for talking points.


7:17 PM  
Blogger wile e coyote said...

Just because discrimination against gays may be lawful if it is rational (i.e., rationally connected to a legitimate governmental interest) does not make such discrimination right.

Carol's comment "there are compelling arguments for removing unfair legal disabilities that attend gay relationships" places so much weight on the term "unfair" that the comment collapses. How are we supposed to tell the "fair" from the "unfair" disabilities?

"Marriage" is currently both a religious and a civil institution. Perhaps this should not be so; perhaps marriage should be reserved for the private/religious/social sphere, while all unions (whether homosexual or heterosexual) should be treated as civil unions for state purposes.

I have not figured this one out but find the most frequently cited arguments on both sides unconvincing.

7:54 PM  
Blogger Marshall Art said...

It's tiring to constantly have to qualify my position as being one that is in agreement with my religious beliefs, yet not dependent upon them. Yet from that perspective, it is also a little insulting to hear how we must remove any mention of our religion from the public square in order to prevent offense to those who aren't of the Judeo-Christian tradition, a small segment of American society, while at the same time, the views and beliefs of less than ten percent of the country must be held up against the wishes of that majority. Let the states decide at the very least.

Also a problem is how little there is to support the position of gay marriage. It seems to hinge on, "I want it, so I should have it" and that's never been the compelling argument for any change half as momentus as this. I don't see where how someone gets his nuts off is a profound reason to upset generations of tradition and culture. It's based on something totally selfish and lacking any true benefit to society. It's a proven correctable condition for anyone who has the desire and willingness to think beyond one's own base urges. It's a part of the overall abdication of discipline so prevalent and pervasive in society and/or the overindulgence in one's desires, damn the consequences.

And the gauntlet of challenge still lies: where do you draw the line in what constitutes marriage? Are there any relationships the state shouldn't license? If we allow this, what won't we allow?

9:19 PM  
Blogger Cavalor Epthith said...

"I want it so I should have it" worked for segreation for years. I still fail to understand how gay marriage undermines all other marriage? Would this make the fact that more than half of straight marriages end in divorce/ That religion in America has not been able to stem the tide of divorce even among evangelicals who can break up with a stunningly exponential fecundity.

Is this just some human "ick factor" or is it just one group trying to control the bahvior of others? How is their action, their desire to be in committed relations a harm to the body politic vice an affront to the moral sensibilities of the majority? is there no room for minoroty rights in America that truly do no harm to society as a whole or its citizens?


4:59 AM  
Blogger eLarson said...

hospital visitation rules and the like)

Wouldn't it be far easier to lobby the hospital for a rule change? For that matter, shouldn't a patient have a say in who gets to see him or her?

7:29 AM  
Blogger COPioneer said...

CE said: ""I want it so I should have it" worked for segreation (sic) for years.",
and we got rid of segregation, no?
So let's get rid of gay marriage...

and CE said:
"is it just one group trying to control the bahvior (sic) of others?"
Not at all, do you think not letting gays marry has stopped them from being gay?

Look at the countries that have allowed gay marriage, once they have it, they rarely bother. They REALLY DID just want to tear down the idea of traditional marriage. The majority of gays have multiple partners anyway, so it's also just a step to letting multiple "unions" occur. -- yes, I know several gay people, and none of them are monogamous. They're just as bad off as the non-monogamous heterosexuals.

7:41 AM  
Blogger dodger said...

In its earliest history marriage was akin to chattel. It progressed and the chattel concept was erased, or at least diminished. Marriage creates in its stead a common ownership or an enterprise. The enterprise works for the common good of the owners. The common good is the economic welfare of the owners and their offspring.

If the enterprise were designed to die off upon the demise of the two owners then there would be no need for the enterprise.

The concept of perpetual life means the enterprise continues through its offspring.

There is, it follows, no need for a same sex enterprise.

Its true that the traditional enterpirse has carved out economic benefits in the workplace and the tax code. This is what enterprises do. Why they should have to share these benefits with same sex enterprises is beyond me.

Let the same sex enterprises bargain for their own economic benefits.

9:51 AM  
Blogger Clark Clifford said...


Then how are you to screen out all the couples who cannot or choose not to bear children? Those who adopt, by your own standard cannot qualify for same sex couples could do the same. I would be the first to say that same sex marriage is anathema to me, but I cannot bring myself to decide to pass a law banning action that truly has no intrinsic harm to the body politic. All marriage needs help as people, liberals and conservatives alike the religious and the irreligious alike have fallen into the traps of infidelity, economic crisis and abuse that does more harm to the institution than the union of two people of the same gender could in a very long time.

4:17 PM  
Blogger Editor said...

How pathetic for anyone to give a hoot whether someone like Marry Cheney gets married and with a partner perhaps adopts a child that is withering away in some orphanage.

If you want people to be respectful of your religious beliefs, try not forcing them on others as if you are a member of the Taliban.

7:53 PM  
Blogger Marshall Art said...

This is not an issue of forcing religious beliefs on those who don't want them. It is, however, a matter of forcing the beliefs of a small minority upon the vast majority. On another thread, copioneer offers a piece by Thomas Sowell that answers many of the questions posed here. I reccommend it highly.

editor's comparison of our religious beliefs to the Taliban is a cheap shot with little resemblance to reality. How typical.

8:41 PM  
Blogger Editor said...

I don't think it is a cheap shot if the comments here are truly reflective of the christian right conservatives. Considering all the rallying and talk of killing others and even all the killing and torture conducted by George. None of you even question the sanity of his policies. You all, just support whatever he does like little nazis.

8:25 AM  
Blogger dodger said...

Okay, I won't tie marriage to children. I will simply leave it at something a group obtained for themselves. Let other groups do the same obtaining in the same way. Don't horn in on my group by claiming its a right, an entitlement. Anyone who wants to join my club has only to marry someone of the opposite sex.

9:06 AM  

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