Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Today’s Issues

Here’s an incisive look at the McCain’s VP three. The key argument against Romney: He won’t help Mac connect with the working-class Reagan Democrats. That’s pretty key. The key arguments against Jindal: 1. Taking the nomination might be bad for his career. BUT that would only be the case if he performed poorly as a candidate or is otherwise blamed for the ticket’s defeat. 2. He might show McCain up, as Bentsen showed Dukakis up. BUT it might be more reasonable to say that Mac’s and Bobby’s strengths and weaknesses complement each other.

ISSUE NUMBER TWO... The California court decision, combined with Obama’s semi-embrace of it, point to both a likely crisis in self-government and an unprecedented opportunity for Republicans in this otherwise most unpromising year. As many pundits (including our Carl) have written, the real issue is that those who oppose same-sex marriage will end up facing the same legal regime and social ostracism as those who oppose, say, interracial marriage. But the truth is that the latter opinion really is both groundless and contrary to our basic principles and the former one is based on real natural and religious concerns. There are plenty of Americans who oppose same-sex marriage on religious grounds, but there are others, such as our Darwinian Larry, who can see that it’s probably a huge error (one which has, admittedly, been unfolding in our country for many decades) to completely detach marriage from biology and make it simply a matter of individual autonomy or rights. It’s at least the case that Americans should be free to disagree on this issue, and that decisions should be made by legislatures, not courts. And legislatures, of course, are particularly good on compromising conflicting moral principles.

It might be that McCain is particularly well situated to make the constitutional case against the judicial activism that’s emerged in MA and CA and might easily spread to the SCOTUS. If Romney or Huckabee were to take the lead, people would say that’s because of their conservative religious views. But Mac conceivably could be particularly credible in separating the constitutional from the religious case. He might make it clear that the issue has nothing, necessarily, to do with believing in a particular faith-based dogma and even less with "gay bashing." Of course, it might also be the case that the issue doesn’t and won’t move Mac at all.

Discussions - 11 Comments

From what I understand Mac has never shown much of an interest in the issue so it might difficult to do so now without seeming transparently opportunistic...maybe Jindal could try not only to make the secular case but also argue against the mutual exclusivity of secular and religious prisms of interpretation

"the issue doesn't and won't move Mac at all." I agree.

But the truth is that the latter opinion really is both groundless and contrary to our basic principles and the former one is based on real natural and religious concerns. There are plenty of Americans who oppose same-sex marriage on religious grounds, but there are others, such as our Darwinian Larry, who can see that it’s probably a huge error (one which has, admittedly, been unfolding in our country for many decades) to completely detach marriage from biology and make it simply a matter of individual autonomy or rights.

True or not, we all know that most Americans don't see a difference. We are all equal people, and why do you demand to know the gender of a person before they get married? It looks like either subordination of gays or differentiation of gender in distasteful ways.

The best long-term secular solution would be for the state to do away with marriage. People only exist as individuals before the state. People are free to add all religious meanings to their private relationships that they choose, but thats not really the business of the state. If we want to seriously argue that (hetero)-marriage is so beneficial that the state should promote it, then the state will ultimately have to force people to get married as the rate of single people is naturally rising.

If conservatives were serious about protecting marriage, rather than bringing up a political wedge issue, they would go after divorce, which is a far more serious problem than a few homosexuals.

This is asinine.

Dear Professor Lawler,

When has McCain ever shown passion over the judicial usurpation of politics? Certainly not on abortion or any other social issue. He did seem to get upset about a Supreme Court decision that pruned back his campaign finance law, but that puts him on the same side as Obama. No doubt McCain will go after the gay marriage decision, but his heart will clearly not be in it - which will make him look cynical and oppurtunistic. McCain has a talent for outrage, but no talent for faking it.

Pete, You might well be right. He's going to have to be "born again" on judicial interpretation etc. He won't be able to fake the outrage.

David, please be realistic. Would you rather the government continue down the gay marriage road, or just get out of the marriage business altogether? What would make you happiest? Which would better preserve marriage?

Regardless, I'm not spending much time discussing gay marriage, until Republicans and conservatives get their house in order by taking steps to undermine divorce--a far bigger problem.

Clint, there is just one problem with taking marriage out of the hands of the state. Actually, there are millions of reasons, those being children. That's the problem with gay marriage, as well, the "why bother?" factor, since in a gay marriage, there is no issue for the law to protect. Gay marriage is either about sentiment, (in which case why is the law involved?) or about benefits, and I mean material ones, such as insurance coverage and Social Security. Marriage has never been about a man and a woman, except insofar as a man and a woman are likely to produce a child, who needs the protection of law.

Your point about divorce is quite true and it is the ease of divorce which has undermined marriage and left this opening for defining marriage in terms that have nothing to do with the true nature and point of the institution. Children are negligible in divorce, too. Yet we only compound the problem of our neglect of children if we stop talking about gay marriage and stop resisting the destruction of the family.

7: Clint, my response is that you're (unintentionally and in good faith) offering us a false alternative. I am for government sanction of marriage, and against government sanction of gay marriage. Why let agitators define our choices for us? By the way, I heard on talk radio the other day that in the 9 European countries that have gay marriage, the average gay "marriage" lasts 18 months and has 8 extramarital liaisons in that time. It would be interesting to confirm this. If it's true, there would seem to be an additional argument against gay marriage.

7: I would also endorse the second paragraph of Kate's response to you.

David, Kate. I agree with you both in principle, and am certainly no fan of gay marriage. Being young, I think the political reality is that gay marriage is coming, and we can't stop it. Mr. Adams blog a few posts above this one references this unstoppable cultural shift that children are learning. Removing marriage from the government altogether is not a great solution, but in my opinion, it beats MA/CA. I share David's skepticism of 'gay marriage,' although normal married couples unfortunately don't paint a much better picture either.

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