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Posted by on Apr 19, 2009 in Politics, Religion, Society | 38 comments

The Conservative Case for Gay Marriage. Or How Rick Moran is Destroying America

Heresy.GIFIn a move sure to swell his already legendary popularity among the GOP’s Christian Conservative base, Rick Moran of Right Wing Nuthouse takes up his pen this weekend to make the case for why conservatives need to reject their opposition to gay marriage. A number of specific points are raised, which make the entire essay worth a read, but an interesting baseline is set with the following:

There is no delegitimizing love be it between a man and a woman or two members of the same sex. The same electro-chemical reactions in the brain that cause sparks to fly between a man and a woman also affect same sex couples. The same stages of love experienced by heterosexual couples are also felt by gay partners. Love is love in any context and only man in his ignorance defines the emotion felt by gay couples as “illegitimate.” Why that has been accepted by conservatives as a reason to oppose the idea that two members of the same sex who love each other should be legally kept apart is beyond me. You can disapprove of gays and gay marriage out of religious conviction or personal prejudice but it is decidedly unconservative to force the rest of us to agree with you by preventing the union of gay couples.

Rick focuses his argument on a few key points which include – if I may be so bold as to summarize – these:

1. It flies in the face of the core definition of conservative belief which states that government should stay out of the private business of citzens except for rigidly defined roles laid out in the constitution. There are few things more intrusive than dictating who we spend our lives with.

2. It’s a political albatross which provides an all too easy target for the media to paint the GOP as homophobic gay bashers, on top of already being seen as bigots, Islamophobes and Zionists.

3. It will eventually become a non-starter, since the tide is clearly running toward civil unions at a minimum, moving toward gay marriage sooner or later.

There is, however, one point which I think Rick misses out on, and it’s briefly noted in the following paragraph.

Is there a way to separate the idea that one can be tolerant of another’s lifestyle while opposing what I admit is a radical change in the concept of marriage? Not as long as it is politically convenient for the opposition to paint gay marriage opponents as anti-gay bigots.

This relates to one of the other chief talking points among opponents of gay marriage which has always stuck in my craw. It’s the tenet that things have “always been this way” going back to biblical times, and thus it is somehow the “traditional” definition of marriage and should defy tampering.

That definition, we are told, is that marriage is has always been a binding tie between “a man and a woman.” If I may be so bold, the definition has been in flux for as long as we’ve been recording history. Additional, “radical” changes to it now would be nothing new. I could turn this into a link festival, but I’ll leave you to do your own background reading on the following.

First of all, the use of the article “a” implies that there would be only one of each. Going straight back to Old Testament days, plural marriages were not only accepted, but often the norm. The idea of limiting these unions to two, monogamous individuals of the opposite gender is a fairly recent one and is still not embraced in many countries. But that’s not the only shifting “definition” which we have imposed.

It’s not just who you can marry which has been the subject of debate, but who you can’t as well. Here in the Unites States, three states still allow you to marry someone who is your first cousin. The rest of the states forbid it. So the “definition” of marriage must be that it’s between one man and one woman who are not too closely related. But how close?

Right up through the 1990s, when the last law fell, (please check my sources on that one) we had regulations on the books in many states which defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman providing their skin was the same color. In Arizona, that “definition” of marriage changed while Bill Clinton was in office.

The fact is that we, as a society, have been tinkering with and redefining the concept of marriage for as long as the concept has existed. Going forward in an enlightened society, the question should be less of “how” we define marriage and more of “if” our government has the power and moral authority to define it at all.

EDIT: I should have noted that Dennis Sanders also did a good piece on this subject recently.

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