Random Post: Pig of the river| RSS .92| RSS 2.0| ATOM 0.3
  • Home
  • About
  •  

    Marriage-go-round

    This time around, it’s Dale Carpenter guest-blogging (Here is the first post; I’d link the rest, but you can find them yourselves, and PowerBlogs sends an automatic trackback for every link.) Carpenter makes the best case I’ve seen–for example, he does a better job, I think, at arguing that community pressure will be brought to bear on gay marriages than Jonathan Rauch himself did in his book.

    Well, Carpenter isn’t perfect on that point, either:

    In our culture, marriage is the way couples signal the ultimate commitment to one another; and through marriage they communicate this deep commitment to their families, to their friends and co-workers, and to their communities. That commitment is then reinforced by the web of familial and other relations, created by marriage, that they have around them. This reinforcement helps strengthen their bond, and therefore their family. It helps keep them together, especially in tough times.

    Gay couples need this sort of reinforcement and suffer for the lack of it. As of now, no gay relationship can reach the cultural pinnacle signified by the words, “Will you marry me?” Telling your families and friends that you are “partnered” will not, usually, signal the same depth of commitment that marriage would. And if they doubt whether you have invested heavily in your relationship, why should your families, friends, and communities invest heavily in it?

    Fine, but if people don’t believe gay marriages are authentic, they’re not going to invest in them heavily anyway. Some of these will be ignorant folks who don’t believe there’s genuine commitment within gay couples; others are the most gay-friendly types imaginable but believe the purpose of marriage is to ensure, as best we can, that children are provided for. In either case, I don’t think the chicken-egg question is resolved as well as Carpenter appears to.

    Be that as it may, Carpenter argues carefully, and his presentation is orderly. Of course, Britney Spears has already been mentioned in the comments, and embarrassingly, Eugene Volokh has been driven to gently pointing out the following [his emphasis]:

    Folks, let me mention something that I hoped I didn’t need to: If you don’t like reading arguments that condemn homosexuality or homosexual relationships, don’t read a debate on same-sex marriage. Conversely, if we were to exclude all arguments that you think of as “bigotry” against homosexuals, or that convey “moral disapproval” of homosexuality, it wouldn’t be much of a debate, would it?

    A few years ago, when Connie’s site was in one of its former incarnations and Dean was still in his old World, I joined in a few discussions about gay marriage that frightened me in a big, bad way. One of them rattled me so much that I unloaded on Dean in very raw terms. (And cheese and crackers, was I PISSED that he printed some of it when I asked him not to. It was over two years ago now, so I don’t really care anymore.) Several of the gay commenters that I disagreed with were people whose writing on other topics I’ve really enjoyed and been inspired by. I’d never liked lockstep gay leftism, but this was the first time that it was borne in on me how much question-dodging a lot of otherwise-reasonable gays were willing to do in order to get the Marriage seal of approval and have their relationships (glory be!) validated. Or they probably weren’t dodging questions; they just didn’t seem to understand what they were being asked, so they weren’t addressing it.

    Leave a Reply