The rapid advance of equal rights for gays regarding marriage kicks up more than one interesting problem.
To me it’s an issue of freedom of contract: gay marriage builds directly from the idea of equal rights to freedom.
To those on the left it’s about inclusion, about acceptance by society of minority values.
To many on the right, however, it’s an abomination that will destroy marriage as we know it.
I simply don’t buy this latter conservative thesis. Other people’s peculiar marriages (and I could be thinking of Bill and Hillary’s) wouldn’t affect mine, were I married. Why should gays marrying other gays make much difference for straights marrying other straights?
My “equal freedom” view (which is closer to the courts’ rulings than the “inclusion” obsession) suggests that accommodating polygamy is next. What follows from the “equal inclusion” view? More nasty boycotts and forced recognition, a totalitarian moralism with no possibility of dissent? (There has been quite a lot of progressive piling on recently: the Mozilla CEO ousted because he once gave money to an anti-gay marriage initiative is only the most obvious.)
In that very real context, my sympathies lean towards beleaguered conservatives. Why must they co-operate with practices that they fear, loathe, or despise? May they not express their values?
The solution? Get government out of the marriage business. All long-term consensual sexual unions should be “civil unions.”
Want to call yours a marriage? Fine.
Want a church ritual? A parental blessing? A lexical imprimatur?
No more of the government’s business than a fancy wedding or elopement.
Matt Kibbe, head man at FreedomWorks, recently surprised Chris Matthews on Hardball with this notion: No state license needed to “get married.” Matthews’s incredulity was cut short by his guest reporter backing Kibbe up: “Lots of people, like Rand Paul, are advocating that now.”
It could be a way out of the Pandora’s Box that “equal inclusion” threatens to unleash.