At The New Republic, from John Corvino:
Yet marriage isn’t just a legal right—it’s also a social institution. It is one thing for the state to allow you to marry, and quite another for your parents to show up at your wedding and be happy for you. Both are significant. The educational efforts that have been chipping away at political opposition need to expand so that they address the ongoing cultural opposition. Simply dismissing such opposition as “on the wrong side of history” will do little to help the kids who continue to hear it from their parents, teachers, and pastors. To put it simply, we shouldn’t let the recent political momentum obscure the fact that vast portions of the country still believe—and teach their children—that same-sex love is inferior, sick, perverted, or worse.
But besides being a fundamental legal right and an important social institution, marriage is, at its heart, a personal commitment. That requires some public attention, too. The fear that sustains anti-equality forces is born, in part, from genuine problems being experienced by the institution of marriage. Marriage is hard. Commitment is challenging. Parenthood is an awesome responsibility. We should not be surprised that people feel anxious about the state of marriage even as we criticize them for misdirecting their efforts to save it.
When David Blankenhorn, a longtime same-sex marriage opponent and key witness in favor of Prop. 8, switched sides in favor of marriage equality this past summer, he expressed his hope that different sides in this culture war might try a new strategy of working together to strengthen marriage culture. It was a good idea which promptly got lost in the various political battles which dominated the pre-election news cycle.
The election is over. The pro-equality forces won, and won big. But the fight for marriage is a long game.
Sorry for quoting someone who quotes me — but I think that what he’s saying is important. This is the new idea.