The Gay Marriage Solution
I know this is presumptuous of some unknown blogger schmoe to say, but David Brooks completely misses the point with respect to gay marriage, almost to the degree that unthinking liberal blog-commenters have done. In other words, almost to the point of delusion.
While I disagree as a theological matter, as a civic matter, I can't help but agree with Brooks's suggestion about demanding homosexual fidelity, and I do find it "scandalous" that it remains such an issue among people who claim to be no different in their desires except for whom they desire. However, Brooks ignores entirely whether his proposed strategy will have the effect, in today's America, that he predicts. It is still a very open question whether homosexual marriage would follow this pattern or would push the envelope on the extent of "contingency" that already exists in marriage, against which Brooks rails. As I've written before, while the data is perhaps thin, all indications are that homosexuals, even those who are "marriage material," are not particularly concerned about fidelity. This factor could perhaps change in the future.
As it happens, I do believe that people who are, or consider themselves to be, irrevocably homosexual ought to pursue the most committed relationships possible. And I believe that doing so of their own accord is how they ought to make their case for changing the definition of marriage to include them. However, at this time, with courts willing to redefine marriage on the basis of a vote of four lawyers, and with the American media apparently more united behind this cause than behind just about any other issue to come along in my lifetime, allowing homosexuals into an institution to be shared with married heterosexuals is reckless to the point of insanity.
If we are to leverage the law so as to encourage fidelity in gay relationships (in any relationships), let's not employ half-measures. Rather than simply loosening the rules that the stamp of civic marriage requires in order to approve of a relationship, let's tighten them. Being "married" in a land of no-fault divorce won't change homosexuals, so let's make civic marriage truly "'till death do us part." The only way appeals such as Glenn Reynolds's that gay marriage would strengthen "traditional values rather than harming them" are valid is if gay marriage forces us to strengthen the marital bond in the eyes of the law.
So what do you supporters of gay marriage think: we'll pass a law allowing it, but at the same time, we'll make divorce (in any kind of marriage) possible only under the most extreme circumstances. We're after fidelity, right, Mr. Brooks? Well then, how about fines or other penalties for extramarital affairs? Sounds like a great compromise to me.
Posted by Justin Katz @ 11:20 PM EST
barry @ 11/23/2003 03:01 PM EST
Justin Katz @ 11/23/2003 03:23 PM EST