Quotes of the day

Marriage is, as most married people will tell you, a stabilizing influence. It also seems to be a “conservatizing” one. Singles vote overwhelmingly democratic. Married people vote overwhelmingly Republican. Yet here we have a Republican-oriented site championing a policy that denies an entire segment of the population the ability to settle down and enjoy the stability and security that comes with a lifelong commitment to another person. I realize that “the plural of anecdote is not data,” but I can tell you that in my personal circle of acquaintances and friends, the ones who are both gay and married (in states that allow it) are far more willing to see the reason in conservative positions – sometimes even shocking themselves by doing so – than before they were married, and more so than other gay friends who are not married…

Could it be that the increasingly widespread adoption of legalized same-sex marriage means we won the culture wars??…

Right now, the hill on which conservatives have chosen to fight is a hill on which conservatism is dying – if it has not already died. The way is open for us to coopt the SSM-movement and let marriage work its stabilizing influence on them, while in the meantime fighting battles we can actually win – battles where we’re the ones arguing in favor of free speech, or freedom of religion, instead of the ones arguing against freedom of contract.


In the Hollingsworth case, though, The Justice Department argues that children do not need mothers. The Obama administration makes the incredible assertion that motherhood is superfluous to rebut an argument that the traditional two-parent family, led by both a mother and a father, provides the ideal situation to raise a child. In defiance of biology, nature and common sense, the administration argues that children need neither a father nor a mother and that having two fathers or two mothers or more is just as good as having one of each…

Sen. Obama was right; President Obama is wrong. There is overwhelming social science evidence to corroborate the benefits of raising children in homes with both a mom and a dad. Who among us does not know there are differing parenting styles between men and women and that children deserve both? Government, both federal and state, has a legitimate and defensible interest in ensuring that children conceived by a mother and father are, in fact, raised by their biological mothers and fathers whenever possible.


That is a strained argument given how many marriages are already essentially, even fundamentally, “about adults” rather than children. Marriage requires two adults; it does not require any children, or even any desire or plans for children. We do not prohibit infertile couples from marrying, nor do we outlaw marriages between senior citizens who are unlikely to produce or raise offspring. Young, fertile couples are not required by the state to have children; even if a couple publicly states its intention not to reproduce, they are still just as eligible to marry as if they intended to outbreed the Duggars…

But if there is a causal relationship here, it may well be that it is actually the reverse—that evolving attitudes about marriage as we already know it helped pave the way for acceptance of marriage between same-sex couples. Americans began to experiment with a looser, freer marriage culture—one that emphasized individual adult happiness over traditional social rules and expectations, and one that coincided with couples (even religious couples) having fewer children—decades before gay marriage entered the popular discussion. It seems just as likely, then, that newfound attitudes about gay marriage are the byproduct of changes in attitudes about straight marriage than the other way around.


What’s happening now is that gay marriage advocates are attempting to use the state to change marriage. When they say Christians are trying to use the state to legislate their version of marriage, they are full of crap. All Christians are doing is defending an institution that already exists from being changed to something it has never been…

Marriage may evolve to include gays one day. But the time is not there year. The laws enacted across the country to preserve the status quo are just that — there to keep the state, via the courts or legislature from changing an institution neither the courts nor legislatures of the several states created, but chose to recognize.

Let’s be clear here — you can support gay marriage, but don’t tell me Christians are trying to legislate their version of marriage. The only people trying to legislate, from the bench or otherwise, are gay rights advocates who refuse to let the institution naturally evolve because of their own impatience for the trappings of normalcy in a society that has long viewed them as outside the mainstream.


In issuing this call, our goal is to move beyond the gay-marriage culture wars and bring together a broad new pro-marriage coalition.

Today, for the first time, gay couples and straight couples are getting married and raising kids. They share the same interest in strong marriages and stable families. They also share an interest in equality. Reflecting this new commonality, our statement calls for bringing together gays and lesbians who want to strengthen marriage with straight people who want to do the same. Supporters include Americans from across the political spectrum, including some of America’s most distinguished liberal intellectuals…

There may be a pattern here. For years, many liberals have been reluctant to speak out in favor of marriage — unless the word “gay” was in front of it — for fear of being seen as narrowly “pro-family values,” which some translate as being anti-gay. But now that gay marriage is widely accepted and is an established fact of American life, liberals no longer have to worry that being “pro-marriage” means excluding same-sex couples…

Can liberal values today help to renew American marriage for everyone who seeks it? Can liberal leaders and voters turn their gay marriage campaign into a campaign for marriage itself? We hope so. In fact, we believe so.


The economy is obviously playing a leading role in the retreat from marriage — the shocks of recession, the stagnation of wages, the bleak prospects of blue-collar men. Culturally, what matters most is the emergence of what the National Marriage Project calls a “capstone” understanding of marriage, which treats wedlock less as a foundation for adulthood and more as a celebration of adult achievement — and which seems to work out far better for our disciplined upper class than for society as a whole.

But there is also a certain willed naïveté to the idea that the advance of gay marriage is unrelated to any other marital trend. For 10 years, America’s only major public debate about marriage and family has featured one side — judges and journalists, celebrities and now finally politicians — pressing the case that modern marriage has nothing to do with the way human beings reproduce themselves, that the procreative understanding of the institution was founded entirely on prejudice, and that the shift away from a male-female marital ideal is analogous to the end of segregation.

Now that this argument seems on its way to victory, is it really plausible that it has changed how Americans view gay relationships while leaving all other ideas about matrimony untouched?


One reason why conservative appeals to protect the sacred procreative essence of marriage have gone nowhere is because Americans are rapidly joining the Scandinavians in doing most of their procreating without benefit of clergy. Seventy percent of black babies are born out of wedlock, so are 53 percent of Hispanics (the “natural conservative constituency” du jour, according to every lavishly remunerated Republican consultant), and 70 percent of the offspring of poor white women. Over half the babies born to mothers under 30 are now “illegitimate” (to use a quaintly judgmental formulation). For the first three-and-a-half centuries of American settlement the bastardy rate (to be even quainter) was a flat line in the basement of the graph, stuck at 2 or 3 percent all the way to the eve of the Sixties. Today over 40 percent of American births are “non-marital,” which is significantly higher than Canada or Germany. “Stunning” upscale gays will join what’s left of the American family holed up in a chichi Green Zone, while beyond the perimeter the vast mounds of human rubble pile up remorselessly. The conservative defense of marriage rings hollow because for millions of families across this land the American marriage is hollow…

Underneath all this apparent “fairness” is a lot of unfairness. Entire new categories of crime have arisen in the wake of familial collapse, like the legions of adolescent daughters abused by Mom’s latest live-in boyfriend. Millions of children are now raised in transient households that make not just economic opportunity but even elementary character-formation all but impossible. In the absence of an agreed moral language to address this brave new world, Americans retreat to comforting euphemisms like “blended families,” notwithstanding that the familial Cuisinart seems to atomize at least as often as it blends.

Meanwhile, social mobility declines: Doctors who once married their nurses now marry their fellow doctors; lawyers who once married their secretaries now contract with fellow super-lawyers, like dynastic unions in medieval Europe. Underneath the self-insulating elite, millions of Americans are downwardly mobile: The family farmers and mill workers, the pioneers who hacked their way into the wilderness and built a township, could afford marriage and children; indeed, it was an economic benefit. For their descendants doing minimum-wage service jobs about to be rendered obsolete by technology, functioning families are a tougher act, and children an economic burden. The gays looked at contemporary marriage and called the traditionalists’ bluff.


Via Mediaite and MFP.


Via News Busters.


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