The argument that Kohn dismisses, that married families are better than unmarried families, is one that many conservatives advocating for gay marriage (and gay adoption for similar reasons) may not have expected they’d need to defend. In fact, it would seem counterintuitive that a group demanding marriage rights for so long would have some within its ranks making the case that marriage either isn’t the end game at all or isn’t an institution they even truly value.
As a conservative who has long defended gay rights, I fear that this is where we may have a problem. While I, along with others on my side of the aisle, also make the libertarian, limited government argument, we deeply believe that defending gay marriage is defending marriage itself, as an institution that creates economic stability, decreases reliance on the state and provides a better environment for children than single parenthood. Economic data support these beliefs.
Kohn’s assertion, that in defending gay marriage conservatives are yet again foisting their “restrictive and regressive” social norms on the rest of the country, begs the question: Why do so many gay couples want to get married? If her project is to move the country not toward inclusive marriage rights, but beyond marriage altogether, I am one gay rights advocate who is willing to say, I’m not with you.