How Does The Marriage Equality Debate End?

12.23.2010, 1:51 AM

At the press conference today, President Obama, asked about same-sex marriage, responded:

With respect to the issue of whether gays and lesbians should be able to get married, I’ve spoken about this recently. As I’ve said, my feelings about this are constantly evolving. I struggle with this. I have friends, I have people who work for me, who are in powerful, strong, long-lasting gay or lesbian unions. And they are extraordinary people, and this is something that means a lot to them and they care deeply about. At this point, what I’ve said is, is that my baseline is a strong civil union that provides them the protections and the legal rights that married couples have. And I think — and I think that’s the right thing to do. But I recognize that from their perspective it is not enough, and I think is something that we’re going to continue to debate and I personally am going to continue to wrestle with going forward.

Obama’s right — from the perspective of out same-sex couples in the US today, it’s not enough. As long as lesbian and gay people are free but not equal, they and their allies will be agitating for equality.

Which makes me wonder: How do the opponents of same-sex marriage hope this debate will end?

Here’s how I hope the debate will end:

Eventually, as the most anti-SSM demographic dies off and as each new generation is more pro-SSM than the previous generation, SSM will become part of marriage norms throughout the United States. State by state, SSM will be legalized, until sometime around when it’s legal in 30 or 35 states the Supreme Court will end the issue once and for all and SSM will be legal everywhere in the USA.

And as the sky fails to fall — as people do not start marrying their dogs/siblings/parents/whatever, as heterosexuals don’t give up on marriage, and as the words “father” and “mother’ aren’t outlawed, and so on — the arguments against SSM will cease to be mainstream.

Those folks who were against SSM out of a sincere but mistaken desire to protect marriage will give up on opposing SSM; there are plenty of other marriage related issues to take up their time, after all. (Truthfully, they’ll be relieved to not have to argue about SSM anymore). Those folks who were against SSM because, in their hearts, they just plain didn’t like lesbian and gay people will become irrelevant to mainstream debate.

In other words, it’ll be a lot like the “should homosexuality be legal” debate from the 1980s — once the issue is settled in favor of freedom and equality, it’ll cease being a mainstream controversy.

Fifty years from now, it’ll seem very strange that this issue was once a big deal, and we’ll all be angry at each other over whatever the big issue will be then (equality for clones? Illegal space alien immigration?).

So that’s how I hope the debate concludes, and except for the bit about space aliens and clones, it’s fairly realistic.

But what realistic end are the folks opposed to SSM hoping for?

Do they think lesbian, gay and bi people are going to go away? Accept permanent second-class status for their families? Do they hope, like Robert George, that all homosexuals will choose to be celibate, or find happiness in heterosexual marriages? None of those outcomes seem even remotely plausible to me.

But what are they hoping will happen?


43 Responses to “How Does The Marriage Equality Debate End?”

  1. kisarita says:

    Same sex marriage is part of a much larger movement, the divorce of biology from kin. Both are mutually reinforcing.

    When and if society reaches that chaotic point, ( much to its detriment in my opinion, although only time will tell for sure)then you are right that gay marriage will be a ho-hum “of course” issue.

    But I don’t think we are ready to throw in the towel yet.

  2. Ralph says:

    After my partner and I had been together for about four years, my sister said to me one day, “I’m so glad K. is in your life. You’re so much more a part of the family again.” And it was true. There was something isolating about being the single gay man at family gatherings. Sure, everyone loved the way I cooked, and laughed when I made jokes, but I felt like an outsider around my siblings, their spouses, and their children.

    Having my marriage with my partner now be on par with those of my siblings isn’t “part of a larger movement, the divorce of biology from kin,” Kisarita. (The phrase is a little odd anyway, since heterosexual couples are not biological relatives either, yet become kin through marriage.) Historically, gay people have frequently separated from their kin, often due to self-isolation or ostracism. SSM brings us back into those fundamental webs of relationships.

  3. Peter Hoh says:

    Kisarita, you haven’t answered Barry’s question.

    Absent same-sex marriage, what do you want gay people to do with their lives, their romantic attachments, and their children?

  4. Tristian says:

    I think the day when everyone is wondering what the fuss was about will come much sooner than 50 years. Otherwise your predictions seem about right Barry. I’m also curious as to what George and company really want to see in practice. The idea that they’re defending a status quo is hard to take seriously, and the idea that we can recreate a legal and culture setting in which their Conjugal model is the accepted definition of ‘true’ marriage is fantasy.

    “Same sex marriage is part of a much larger movement, the divorce of biology from kin.”

    This has already happened Kisarita–gay marriage is part of a larger process of working through the implications of this. If you ask me, the more interesting question now have to do with understanding parenthood and our obligations to children in light of a growing consensus that family organization can in fact make a big difference. Gay marriage is a distraction, and the sooner it’s off the table the better.

  5. Johnny Moral says:

    I think we will realize how foolish we were to try to create an individualist, post-gendered world, and go back to recognizing that we are all only one sex and should pair up with someone of the other sex to form fully human marriages that reproduce organically and sustainably, and live efficiently together as a finished grown human marriage. I think we will compassionately support gay people and same-sex couples with the same benefits and obligations of marriage in the form of Civil Unions, but we will not allow them to try to procreate offspring together.

  6. notonboard says:

    Sounds good, Johnny.

  7. Phil says:

    I’m very curious, Johnny-what do you think gay people _ought_ to do? What’s the ideal outcome for them–not politically, but in their lives– in your opinion?

    It may be somewhat off-topic, but for years I’ve wondered what Maggie Gallagher thinks is the best thing gay people should do with their lives. I hypothesize that the reason she is often called a bigot is because her writings so often make gay people seem like an “other,” not a part of the community. Maggie (and many other anti-ssm crusaders) write about marriage and family in the abstract, in terms of what the social ideal. But I haven’t gotten a coherent sense of what they feel the social ideal is for homosexuals.

  8. Maggie Gallagher says:

    Let me ask the question back of the gay marriage advocates:

    Do you believe gay people ought to abstain from sex and childrearing before marriage, remain sexually faithful in marriage, and remain celibate if they are not married?

    Just curious. If so, why?

    Feel free to separate any of these question–should sex be confined to marriage, should childrearing ideally be confined to marriage, should people who marry refuse to have sex iswth anyone else?

    Maggie

  9. Phil says:

    Maggie,

    I was going to end my comment by predicting that you would not choose to speak to the substance of my post. I refrained from doing so because I thought it would be rude, but–holy cow! Did you ever avoid discussing exactly what I accused you of not discussing.

    My observation, based on reading your nationally-syndicated columns for the past five-ish years, was that you do not address the needs of homosexuals, or your opinion of the ideals that they should strive for, in your writings, while you don’t hesitate to discuss the ideals that heterosexuals should aim for. If you feel, based on years of reading my scattered blog comments, that there is a similar dearth in my writing, I am all ears.

    But, to separate out one of your questions: “Do I believe that sex should be confined to marriage?” No. I don’t think sex should legally be restricted to married persons. And I think that having sex before marriage is fine. The most important thing in a sexual relationship is honesty, and that can certainly be abused, but it is an ideal for everyone.

    I’m also not out of the mainstream there. The vast, vast majority of Americans are okay with sex before marriage. I don’t have separate opinions about sex-before-marriage for straight people or gay people. I think that if people choose to wait until they are married to have sex, that’s fine. It certainly doesn’t bother me. But I don’t think it’s necessary, and I don’t think that sex is inherently harmful, although it certainly can be an emotional and powerful thing.

    Now, Maggie, if you want to take the same stance that I did, and say that your opinion about gay people is the same as your opinion about straight people, of course, that’s an option. But it would be at odds with your very public political stance, which is that gay couples deserve different rights than straight couples. I don’t think you can really credibly make that claim. So let me reiterate: I think that your rhetoric, in your published writings, treats gay people as an “other.” I think that you do not discuss what you think the ideal should be for a gay person in this country, while you do not hesitate to describe what straight people should aspire to–especially in terms of relationships and families.

    You can either cop out again–as you have for years–with some answer like, “Oh, it’s not important what I think about gay people’s lives” or “Their lives are their own business.” Or you can discuss your actual views and opinions.

    I predict that you will cop out, but I’d be delighted if you prove me wrong.

  10. Maggie, thanks for commenting.

    I don’t think there’s any one answer for 100% of families. But, generally, I do think it’s a good idea for couples (straight or gay) to be married before they begin raising children. And, generally, I do think it’s a good idea for married couples to be sexually exclusive. There’s a lot of strong reasons to think that’s what works best for the large majority of married couples.

    As for remaining virgins until marriage, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, if that’s what someone wants to do. But the large majority of people choose not to wait until marriage, and I don’t see anything wrong with that, either.

    Now that I’ve answered your questions, I’m hoping you’ll answer mine: What happy, plausible ending of the same-sex marriage debate are you hoping for? Do you think there’s a realistic possibility that people in favor of SSM are ever going to quit until they (we) win; and if not, what outcome are you hoping for?

  11. kisarita says:

    I haven’t read Maggie’s stuff but it seems to me that gay people really are other. They’re a very small part of the population, they differ in significant ways from the majority of the population.
    Now being other can be very painful and get in the way of leading your life. I get that.
    So I get that gay folks want to adapt themselves to the heterosexual norm as much as possible, including imitating its reproductive social institutions such as marriage. And they would also like the heterosexual norm to adapt its structure, even its reproductive institutions to adapt to them.
    I’m cool with the former but not with the latter.
    That means I support a framework of applying any practical financial benefits towards gay couples if they so desire, like being named on someone’s health insurance.
    (Although these are admittedly few… marriage in my opinion entails more financial liabilities than advantages… responsibility for someone else’s debts, for example… my guess is that the importance of these issues is mostly symbolic)
    I also support allowing gay couples to adopt.
    However, I’m not cool with the latter which means I don’t believe that marriage should be redefined. I don’t believe that gays have a constitutional right to any of those things, and I object to raising the “bigot” card at people who oppose. (some are, some aren’t.) Most importantly I object to extending the redefinition of parenthood and kinship, which while it exists on the fringes of heterosexual society, really needs to be confined exactly there- on the fringes.

  12. Peter Hoh says:

    Back in 1987, I visited a cousin who was at Yale. I got in a little hot water for suggesting that I held gays and straights to the same standards when it came to sexual behavior.

    That’s still my stand. The following apply to people, male and female, regardless of their sexual orientation.

    I think that people ought to wait until marriage to have children.

    I think that couples ought to maintain sexual exclusivity.

    While I think that celibacy before marriage is ideal, I don’t think it’s a realistic expectation. There’s got to be something between “anything goes” and insisting that people remain chaste before marriage. I disapprove of promiscuity and casual hook-ups.

    And I think the greatest threat to marriage is non-marriage.

  13. Tristian says:

    I think the argument is this: heterosexual norms have an underlying rationale in the connection between sex and procreation. If, as the social science indicates, children do best on average in intact biological families, norms against premarital sex, infidelity, and childrearing out of wedlock are warranted. However, there is no comparable link between gay sex and procreation. Hence there is no comparable justification for similar norms for gays and lesbians, and this is a problem–how can marriage really be the same for both? Rather clever.

    I would answer yes to Maggie’s second set of questions for the reasons given. As for gays and lesbians, it is indeed a bit more complicated. I’d say yes in regard to child rearing out of wedlock. I would think there are goods attached to committed gay relationships that are better served by fidelity. I’m less sure there are good reasons for gays to avoid premarital sex.

  14. Peter Hoh says:

    Tristian, heterosexual norms may have an “underlying rationale in the connection between sex and procreation,” but is it fair to call them norms if we no longer hold anyone to these norms?

    Kisarita, as far as reproduction is concerned, same-sex couples are merely following in the footsteps of straight couples, whose demand for reproductive technology has already pushed the boundaries of parenthood and kinship.

    What’s the problem with same-sex couples doing what straight couples are already doing?

    In the case of straight couples who use donor gametes, at least we can pretend that, from the outside, they look like they conform to the ideal of the conjugal marriage. If that’s a sufficient difference, then we’re not talking about morality, we’re talking about window dressing.

  15. Tristian says:

    Unless I’m misread you Peter, you hold them as norms, and want gays to live according to them as well. I think Maggie’s question is pertinent–why should gays adopt them if, as seems somewhat plausible, they are rooted in the procreative potential of heterosexual unions?

    In any case, I agree that as a legal matter we’ve abandoned the understanding of marriage urged by people like George, and so gays should not be held to that standard either. But that’s a legal matter. We can still ask how people should behave within the bounds of the law.

  16. Peter Hoh says:

    Tristian, good catch. I guess I’m thinking that there’s a difference between holding a norm (uplifting an ideal) and holding people to a norm (enforcing a norm through law and social pressure).

    I think I have different answers to “What ought people do?” and “What should be legal/illegal?”

  17. ki sarita says:

    Hey Peter, did I say it was OK for straight couples to redefine parenthood? I didn’t! So I think I’m being consistent and not window dressing.

    What should gay people do? They should have sex and relationships with whomever they want for whatever duration of time they believe appropriate.

    What about having kids? Talking about men here-
    No situation is ideal, but I think the best bet would be to pair up with a single woman and co parent.
    Unfortunately the redefinition of parenthood is likely to make this less and less feasible for gay men, since as they did not reproduce through intercourse with the child’s mother, they may be classified as sperm donors with no parental status.
    The redefinition of parenthood actually serves the interest of lesbians more than gays – and then only half of lesbians- the non biological half!. But the gay rights movement still sees it as a gay rights issue.

  18. Jeffrey says:

    but I think the best bet would be to pair up with a single woman and co parent.

    Talk about opening up an emotional maelstrom for the child. What happens when mommy decides to get married. What will her husband think of his wife’s kid with the gay guy. How long until that co-parenting relationship falls apart since it is created only to satisfy society’s insistence about what mommy and daddy look like?

    Is a child really better off by mommy and daddy living in separate homes with their own spouses, just so there can be the illusion of a mommy and daddy? Is that really better for the kids?

  19. ki sarita says:

    I agree that it’s not an ideal situation but I think it better than a totally anonymous parent.
    I have a number of friends who are divorced and who do not think very highly of their kids father; yet they don’t think it would be better if they didn’t know him at all. (unless he is abusive).
    (In the words of one friend “I’d kill him, but then my kids would be orphans”)
    Same thing for my friends who are children of divorce with varying levels of contact with their father- they don’t think they would have been better off not knowing who he was at all.

    But I find it very funny what you choose to call an illusion. Telling a kid that he has no father is not an illusion, because an adult couple is threatened by the unequal biological relationship with both of them- is not an illusion?

  20. Peter Hoh says:

    Kisarita, It’s quite possible that I don’t understand what you wrote when you wrote of same-sex couples:

    And they would also like the heterosexual norm to adapt its structure, even its reproductive institutions to adapt to them.
    I’m cool with the former but not with the latter.

    I get the sense that your argument is built like this:

    Some same-sex couples use reproductive technology.
    I’m opposed to the use of reproductive technology.
    Therefore, no same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.

    Limiting marriage for same-sex couples will do nothing to prevent same-sex couples from using reproductive technology.

    If you are concerned about the use of reproductive technology, then I think you ought to focus on that issue — apart from marriage — and I think you should take every opportunity to make clear that you oppose the use of reproductive technology by straight couples and single people, too.

  21. ki sarita says:

    I am not opposed to reproductive technology per se; I am opposed to allowing technology rather than biology to legally define relationships. I am opposed to the legal fiction of a “sperm donor” which enables that phenomenon.

    Although you can bet for sure that if that legal fiction were eliminated you’d see a lot less use of reproductive technology.

  22. ki sarita says:

    The gay marriage movement is very much tied up with that legal fiction by the way.

    I’ve previously stated that if the movement was constructed so that it was not so defined I’d be much more amenable to it.

  23. Jeffrey says:

    Same thing for my friends who are children of divorce with varying levels of contact with their father- they don’t think they would have been better off not knowing who he was at all.

    Since we are swapping anecdotes, I know friends who were born through sperm donors. And they are quite happy with their lives and don’t spend time gnashing their teeth over the experience.

    So where does that leave us? Your answer is to tell the “others” that they will have unhappy, miserable children unless they enter into a loveless reproductive arrangement because having a mommy and daddy is more important than anything else in the world.

  24. Jeffrey says:

    The gay marriage movement is very much tied up with that legal fiction by the way.

    Opposition to gay marriage is tied up in the legal fiction. Very little of the support for gay marriage movement spends time talking about sperm donors and surrogates, except when forced to argue the “marriage is only about reproduction” thesis offered by . . . gay marriage opponents.

  25. ki sarita says:

    Not at all Jeffrey. Almost all of the gay marriage advocacy pieces I’ve seen place it as a central issue.

  26. ki sarita, I think you’ve been looking at a very biased sample if “almost all of the gay marriage advocacy” you’ve read has had “sperm donors and surrogates” as a central issue.

    It’s hardly a central issue for Andrew Sullivan, for Jonathan Rauch, or for Dale Carpenter, or for Andrew Koppelman — yet those are four of the most prominent SSM advocates in the US. Searching IGF (a pro-SSM blog) for documents mentioning both “marriage” and “sperm,” I find lots of entries — but virtually all of them are responding to anti-equality folks arguments that brought the subject up. Try again, for “surrogate“, at Galios, a site entirely devoted to arguing for SSM. But “surrogate” barely comes up at all, and never except in response to someone who opposes SSM bringing it up.

    Frankly, I can’t think of a single prominent SSM advocate for whom sperm donors and surrogacy is a central issue, and it’s definitely not typical. Who, exactly, did you have in mind?

  27. Karen, ki sarita, could you both please answer the question I asked in the original post?

    But what realistic end are the folks opposed to SSM hoping for?

    Do they think lesbian, gay and bi people are going to go away? Accept permanent second-class status for their families? Do they hope, like Robert George, that all homosexuals will choose to be celibate, or find happiness in heterosexual marriages? None of those outcomes seem even remotely plausible to me.

    But what are they hoping will happen?

  28. R.K. says:

    Let me get back to Barry’s question:

    “But what realistic end are the folks opposed to SSM hoping for?”

    Well, if the historical absence of non-gendered definitions of marriage is due (as its proponents assume, ultimately as a matter of faith) to factors irrelevant to experience, or to a false association of a custom with survival (in every society of which we know on a long-term basis), and there is nothing in the realities of human nature which go against the success of it, then I hope it all works out with no problems.

    If, however, the absence of non-gendered definitions of marriage is, in fact, based on something related to experience, which affects cultural survival an/or progress, and there is something in the reality of human nature which goes against the success of it, then my hope is it that the gay community itself will realize this before the damage is irreversible

    I do predict that (if the latter is true) in fifty years much of the gay community will have come to realize this, but the question of whether this will happen before the damage is irreversible is another question.

    Before about 1972, how would you have expected that opponents of lowering the drinking age to 18 might have answered a similar question as to how they hoped that movement might end? Or, before 1970 or so, how would you have expected opponents of no-fault divorce to have answered how they hoped that movement might end? (Yes, I am for eliminating no-fault divorce).

  29. ki sarita says:

    The recent legal debate over proposition 8 in California gave a central role to the speculated welfare of the gay couple’s children (speculative because there is no actual data).
    As well as custody lawsuits between lesbians. Although BOTH partners are lesbians, the gay rights movement consistently presents it as a gay rights issue, which is correct if their primary the equality of the relationship to a reproductive relationship. Despite that in a lesbian couple lawsuit, for every lesbian that wins, a lesbian must lose- because it’s the not individual lesbian’s rights that is at stake, its the symbolic value of the status of the partnership.
    As well as the exploitive photo-ops that project the adults views on those cute little children. I was first exposed to those by this campaign, which did more to turn me against gay marriage than anything previously. (I used to be rather ho hum about it)

  30. ki sarita says:

    Barry what would I see as an acceptable outcome to the debate? The decision to remain with states on whether to offer a civil union which enables gay couples to live in a similar fashion to straight couples, excluding any analogies to reproduction or paternity.

  31. The recent legal debate over proposition 8 in California gave a central role to the speculated welfare of the gay couple’s children (speculative because there is no actual data).

    There’s actually quite a lot of data on welfare of children raised by same-sex couples; you just prefer to pretend it doesn’t exist because the data shows the kids are doing fine.

    That said, many of those kids are adopted, or are the biological children of one of the same-sex parents, etc.. That’s not focused on sperm or egg donation per se (and neither is the video you link to later).

    Custody lawsuits between lesbians are hardly a major element of “almost all of the gay marriage advocacy.” Yes, it is a gay rights issue — but you’re moving the goalposts. Lots of things are gay rights issues without being a major element of almost all gay marriage advocacy.

    As well as the exploitive photo-ops that project the adults views on those cute little children. I was first exposed to those by this campaign, which did more to turn me against gay marriage than anything previously.

    I know! How dare these same-sex couples treat their children as if the kids are an integral part of their families! They should do the right thing, by hiding their children and acting ashamed to be parents.

    (For those who haven’t checked, the video she linked to contains lots of photos of married same-sex couples with families, some with children, some without.)

    I think the real issue is that you don’t want to face up to how much your policies will hurt children, both children raised by same-sex parents who are denied extra stability, economic benefits, healthier parents, and other advantages offered by being raised by married parents, and the children who are even more harmed — lgbt children who grow up in a society that treats them as second-class citizens. It’s not inappropriate, unfair or in bad taste for SSM proponents to point out that real families and real children are harmed by anti-equality policies.

    In addition, “I’m against _______ side of a policy issue because I don’t like the images in their ads” is a remarkably shallow approach to policy. What matters is the effects of policy, not how it’s advertised.

    Finally, the anti-equality forces use children’s images all the time — including cases where the child’s image is used without the parents’ permission. Isn’t that a lot more objectionable than family photos being used with the parents’ permission?

  32. Jeffrey says:

    The recent legal debate over proposition 8 in California gave a central role to the speculated welfare of the gay couple’s children

    If you’d been paying attention, you’d know this was largely a reaction to the well-funded efforts opposing SSM who highighted gay marriage as a harm to children. They were ugly, dishonest ads.

  33. RK, thanks for answering the question. I do have a follow-up question, however.

    You say that you’re hoping the gay community will realize the damage caused by SSM “before the damage is irreversible.”

    What empirical measures of that damage are available? For instance, what are the empirically measurable bad results of legal SSM that we can now see happening in Massachusetts? Or, if they’re not measurable yet, how long will it take before we can measure them, and what will they be?

    You wrote:

    Before about 1972, how would you have expected that opponents of lowering the drinking age to 18 might have answered a similar question as to how they hoped that movement might end? Or, before 1970 or so, how would you have expected opponents of no-fault divorce to have answered how they hoped that movement might end?

    The drinking age folks in 1972 might have said they’re hoping the issue would fade away to almost nothing once the war in Vietnam and the draft were ended, since the drinking age reform movement was really riding the anti-war movement’s coattails. And hey, they would have been right.

    As for no-fault divorce, I think that even if your side had won that argument, you would have found the results disappointing, because it would barely have changed divorce rates at all. Rising demand for divorce created no-fault divorce laws, not the other way around. (I should do a post on that sometime.)

  34. ki sarita says:

    I agree that straight and gay parents can make the same type of parenting mistakes, primary among them is projecting their own wishes onto their children. I never like to see children used in political ads.
    However the point is that reproduction is a central part of the gay marriage campaign, this is just an example. This in fact, was the campaign cover.

    “There’s actually quite a lot of data on welfare of children raised by same-sex couples; you just prefer to pretend it doesn’t exist because the data shows the kids are doing fine.”

    Barry I’ve actually posted a fair number of comments on that as have many other folks on this blog, so go read before speculating on whether I prefer to ignore them or not.

  35. R.K. says:

    What empirical measures of that damage are available? For instance, what are the empirically measurable bad results of legal SSM that we can now see happening in Massachusetts? Or, if they’re not measurable yet, how long will it take before we can measure them, and what will they be?

    Likely about as long as it takes the concept to actually become ingrained into the culture, which is probably about thirty years, but it’s irrelevant to the point I made anyway. Are you or are you not taking it on faith that the historical absence of non-gender-defined marriage is based on factors irrelevant to experience, or to a false association? If your belief is true, does it not beg the question of why all cultures based this on the same irrelevant factors, or why different irrelevant factors all caused its absence, or why all cultures made the same false association?

    The drinking age folks in 1972 might have said they’re hoping the issue would fade away to almost nothing once the war in Vietnam and the draft were ended, since the drinking age reform movement was really riding the anti-war movement’s coattails. And hey, they would have been right.

    Or they might have said that they would hope that if the lower drinking age led to an increase in accidents for those under 21, then people would start to realize that the lower age was a mistake, and that the draft and the drinking age were totally separate issues. Unfortunately, too many states did lower the drinking age because of the perceived but false relationship between the two, and many kids lost their lives that otherwise may not have.

    Rising demand for divorce created no-fault divorce laws, not the other way around.

    Oh, I don’t dispute that rising demand for divorce helped fuel no-fault, but in turn no-fault has eroded the cultural expectation that marriage is supposed to be permanent.

  36. R.K. says:

    A question for all SSM advocates.

    It doesn’t have to be SSM. It could be anything. But suppose a cultural change were made, that was unprecedented in the historical record, and only after a generation or more were it seen to have had really bad effects, and these effects were not precisely predicted by anyone.

    Exactly how could that change have been argued against, in a way that you think would have been proper?

  37. R.K. says:

    Above: “Exactly how could that change have been argued against, in a way that you think would have been proper?”

    Before enactment, let me stress.

  38. RK, I don’t think I understand what the word “proper” means, the way you used it in your question. Do you mean “persuasive?”

  39. R.K. says:

    No, I mean proper, as in being a legitimately stated point or argument, whether you found it necessarily persuasive or not. One that you would not have dismissed.

  40. Peter Hoh says:

    R.K., Prohibition gives us an example of a reform movement that was successful in implementing a change, only to see public opinion turn against it, leading to a successful repeal.

    I don’t know that anyone, prior to enactment, could have persuaded those in favor of Prohibition that they were wrong or that repeal would take place in 14 years.

    Karen, I have never argued that opposition to same-sex marriage is rooted in bigotry.

    I don’t think that preventing same-sex marriage will do anything to stem the rising use of reproductive technologies. If the use of RT is your greatest concern, putting your effort into stopping same-sex marriage is likely to be a fruitless pursuit. Demand for RT isn’t going to go away, even if every gay and lesbian were to go straight.