Opposition to gay-marriage is ultimately just hate, right?

14 Dec

In a society where justice is nearly always defined uncritically as fairness or in terms of equality rather than rightness or in terms of intrinsic purpose, I find that supporters of traditional marriage oppose gay-marriage but they can’t explain why.  Moreover, “movement conservatives” have a particularly difficult time with defending traditional marriage because they have elsewhere taken up the language of individualism, personal liberty, anti-government sloganeering, and other libertarian themes (though a case can be made that redefining marriage leads to bigger government).  This effectively muzzles them more often than not when asked to defend government involvement in defining marriage in a way that excludes or discriminates.  And let’s be clear, restricting gay marriage does discriminate, does exclude.  The question is whether such discrimination and exclusion can be justified given some other common good, as we do when we discriminate against polygamists or legally prefer traditional marriages and discriminate against “open marriages” or divorcees or single-parents in adoption decisions.  Kevin DeYoung has a brief but helpful blog post explaining to ordinary people why defending tradtiional marriage against other sexual unions is a reasonable position and hardly neanderthal.

Here’s a clip:

We must consider why the state has, for all these years, bothered to recognize marriage in the first place. What’s the big deal? Why not let people have whatever relationships they choose and call it whatever they want? Why go to the trouble of sanctioning a specific relationship and giving it a unique legal standing? The reason is because the state has an interest in promoting the familial arrangement which has a mother and a father raising the children that came from their union. The state has been in the marriage business for the common good and for the well-being of the society it is supposed to protect. Kids do better with a mom and a dad. Communities do better when husbands and wives stay together. Hundreds of studies confirm both of these statements (though we all can think of individual exceptions I’m sure). Gay marriage assumes that marriage is re-definable and the moving parts replaceable.

By recognizing gay unions as marriage, just like the husband-wife relationship we’ve always called marriage, the state is engaging in (or at least codifying) a massive re-engineering of our social life. It assumes the indistinguishability of gender in parenting, the relative unimportance of procreation in marriage, and the near infinite flexibility as to what sorts of structures and habits lead to human flourishing.

The rest

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