It’s hard to come up with a social issue where politician and popular opinions have changed so drastically just over the last 20 years. Gay marriage, once a fringe issue for those who supported it, is starting to pick up mainstream acceptance and even approval.
Currently, same sex marriage is legal in nine states and Washington DC. More will probably follow. Some states have taken measures to not only not recognize gay marriage, but to explicitly ban it either by statute or via state constitutional amendments.
While most Democrats and libertarians have embraced gay marriage, most conservatives are still opposed. The former, particularly libertarians, argue that conservatives opposed to gay marriage are hurting the GOP’s election chances because opposition just makes them look like hateful bigots. Therefore, it hurts them with younger voters who are more apt to support same sex marriage and gay people who might otherwise support GOP candidates because they are more conservative on issues such as taxes and spending.
Conservatives on the other hand, argue changing their view will hurt the GOP because they’ll lose support from religious conservatives who are very active.
I happen to believe at this point, the extremes on either side will not listen to reason at all. The issue is not as black and white as some people seem to think.
So what do conservatives do? It depends on how some think about it. My personal view is such (Again, this is my personal view. It does not necessarily coincide with the views of others on this blog):
- Marriage is not a protected right nor is it an equal protection issue. There are restrictions on marriage. People wrongly compare bans on gay marriage to inter-racial marriage but the comparison does not old up under scrutiny.
When anti-miscegenation laws were passed, it created an environment where people were not protected equally. A man, who happened to be black, was prohibited from marrying a woman, who happened to be white. Yet, a man who happened to be white, was allowed to marry a woman who happened to be white and, as such, created a lack of equal protection.
I am not gay. In many states, I cannot marry a man. I can marry a woman. A gay man can marry a woman. Again, there is no lack of equal protection. In the state of Washington, gay marriage is now legal. Yet, marriage between first cousins is illegal. That is an example of a lack of equal protection. I can’t think of a state where marriage between siblings is legal. Is that not a lack of equal protection? Ironically, many will admit it is but say, “Well that’s different.” No, it’s not. If you believe it is a right and an equal protection issue, then you cannot say “Equal rights for all! Except ______.” It’s all or nothing.
- People elect Governors and state legislatures. If those duly elected officials pass laws that allow gay marriage, great. That is the way it should be. That’s what we are as a representative republic.
- Like Rand Paul, I think the government should get out of the business of “marriage” altogether. In the eyes of the government, it should be a civil union for the purposes of benefits, visitation, property, etc. In short, a contract. As a Christian, my marriage is real in God’s eyes. It is not made dependent upon whether or not I received a piece of paper from the state.
One can be opposed to gay marriage, but still show a willingness to understand it more as a public policy issue rather than simply a social issue.
As for my fellow Christians, let’s take a step back from the “gay marriage is ruining marriage” rhetoric for one second, shall we? Over the last 4-5 years, quite a few well known Christian leaders (pastors, speakers, writers, etc.) would suddenly announce their marriage was breaking up. There would be vague explanations as to why, with references to “sin” and then a few months later would come the announcement they were getting married.
The Christian community, contrary to the facade so many attempt to erect, is filled with stories of abuse, addictions, neglect, divorce, affairs, and other sorts of dysfunction. The Bible basically says to check yourself (Matthew 7:3) before worrying about others. Try it before behaving as though same sex marriage will be the downfall of society.
As for what the GOP needs to do?
Nobody says they have to run full speed ahead and endorse same sex marriage. One can still hold true to their convictions and still look at an issue differently from a public policy perspective.
The word “tolerance” comes to mind but in all honesty, it is a word I can no longer stand to use. The meaning has been perverted by people on both sides of the ideological spectrum to essentially mean, “Believe exactly what I believe or you’re an anti-something, something-phobe or something-ist.”
I’ll go instead with the word respect. It is possible for two people to disagree on an issue and still show mutual respect for their viewpoints and for each other. Conservatives have long showed little to no respect for the views of others, particularly gay Americans themselves, on the issue of same sex marriage. Religious conservatives are often too busy making a point, instead of making a difference.
So if you write drivel as Cliff Kincaid from Accuracy In Media did, expect to drive gay marriage supporters away from the party altogether. His screed about homosexuals nearly reads like a piece at the Onion it’s so ridiculous:
There is no such thing as a “gay conservative,” unless the term “conservative” has lost all meaning. But there is a homosexual movement that has its roots in Marxism and is characterized by anti-Americanism and hatred of Christian values.
Is this an example of big tent politics? In fact, this is exactly what will keep people going back to politicians like Barack Obama despite the fact they may disagree with him on a whole host of other issues.
Such rhetoric is is not disagreement. This is character assassination — an attack on people’s motives and a total lack of respect. It’s a loser.
Think about it this way for a moment and ask yourself this question:
If two men have a marriage recognized by the state, what impact does it have on my rights?
Let us know what you think in the comments.