Banter? I just met her...
Can anyone explain how married gays threaten marriage?
By Bill McClellan
Of the Post-Dispatch
I support the death penalty, and have served as a state's witness at an execution. But I understand the arguments from death penalty opponents, and I think some of those arguments are pretty darned good. I am strongly in favor of tort reform, but I think the other side makes some good points. I am against reparations for African-Americans, but if somebody came up with a plan to give money to Americans of Scotch-Irish descent, I suspect I'd be a supporter.
On and on it goes. It is easy to see both sides of all the issues that land in the news.
But now we come to gay marriage.
Like most Americans, I had not given much thought to gay marriage until recently. In fact, I had given it no thought. Then the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples had the right to marry, and the mayor of San Francisco decided that his city would also sanction such marriages. There was, then, a hue and cry about the sanctity of marriage between straight people. Opponents of gay marriage declared that the glorious institution of marriage, this bedrock of civilization, was suddenly in jeopardy.
President George W. Bush announced that he was in favor of a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. We need to protect marriage, he said.
There is no question that marriage can be a precarious thing. Half of all marriages end in divorce. All sorts of things can do in a marriage. Well, maybe not all sorts of things. Generally, the problems have to do with the conduct or attitude of one or both of the people inside the marriage. But if two gays get married in San Francisco, might their marriage threaten mine? What if the two gays live in St. Louis? Frankly, I don't see the threat.
It is for just such occasions that I subscribe to the Wall Street Journal. If you want to be exposed to an intelligent, thoughtful version of conservatism that rises well above the ranting from the radio, I recommend the Journal. If anybody could explain the danger posed by gay marriage, the Journal would find that person. It found Mary Ann Glendon, a law professor from Harvard.
She wrote about the "economic and social costs of this radical social experiment." The economic costs had to do largely with Social Security survivor benefits. I was unconvinced. I figure that gays pay into Social Security the same as the rest of us. She also wrote about the dangers to children. In school, words like husband and wife would be replaced by partner and spouse. Again, I wasn't convinced. Personally, I think kids are more threatened by the 50 percent of straight marriages that end in divorce.
In other words, even after consulting the Wall Street Journal, I didn't get it.
I've heard folks say that if you let gays get married, then you have to let anybody marry anything. That same argument was made, I'll bet, when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of interracial marriage not quite 40 years ago. Besides, I don't buy the slippery slope argument. One thing doesn't necessarily lead to another. We can say yes to this, and no to that. We can set standards. That's what makes a civilization. Of course, sometimes those standards change. Slavery used to be legal. When that was stopped, there were probably folks saying: Pretty soon there won't be any private property at all.
So if you discount the slippery slope argument, where's the danger in gay marriage?
Tinkering with the Constitution is no small thing. An ill-conceived effort to do so could have unintended consequences. After all, the last time a president pushed the notion of a constitutional amendment, the president was Ronald Reagan. He was pushing the balanced budget amendment. He thought deficit spending ought to be illegal. It's not fair to lay a debt on our children and grandchildren, he said. That was an argument anybody could understand, which may be why the current president wants to talk about gay marriage.
via Jay O