A Contrarian Take On Same-Sex Marriage

Same-sex marriage is an issue I’ve been pretty detached from, since I don’t (to my knowledge) have any close acquaintances that are gay. As such, the question I always come back to is a simple one: what compelling interest do I have in telling a couple they can’t be married? Answer: I have none.

Because of this, conservative arguments against same-sex marriage just don’t hold any sway.

I don’t have a problem with conservatives saying the Supreme Court is “redefining” marriage. My disagreement with them is that “redefinitions” of marriage are unprecedented in this country. They’re not. The most famous redefinition of marriage was handled by the Supreme Court when they legalized interracial marriage with Loving v. Virginia. Going further back, marriages that didn’t require total submission of a wife’s body and property to her husband were declared illegitimate by courts. Is American society worse off because these definitions of marriage were altered?

The “states’ rights” argument is equally unconvincing. The 14th Amendment requires equal treatment under the law. There are a whole host of issues that should be decided at the state level instead of the federal level. But when the states violate your individual rights (even when those violations occur through the “democratic” process), our legal system has every right to hold the states accountable. That’s what the Supreme Court accomplished with the majority ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges.

The one concern I have with the ruling concerns religious liberty. The prominent conservative voices bashing this ruling aren’t concerned with the religious liberties of SSM advocates, of course. However, Jonathan Rauch does touch upon an ugly trend:

Gay-rights advocates, like me, shouldn’t overreach. Our antagonists have already built a trap by casting us as bullies determined to forcibly squelch all opposition to gay marriage (or gay anything). We gay-rights advocates need to avoid walking into that trap by seeming to want to bulldoze all opposition.

The emphasis is mine.

While I disagree with the point-of-view expressed by the proprietors of the Walkerton, IN pizzeria, the response to their opinion was disgraceful (although the restaurant has done alright since then). It takes a noble cause and turns it ugly. If #LoveWins is to be long-lasting, a respect for all liberties needs to be honored. That’s how you turn opponents into allies.

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