The gay-marriage irony: Americans are celebrating marriage while engaging in it less and less

In this sense, the gay rights movement has won twice over. Its conservative wing won the right to normalcy for gay couples, while rapid cultural change has made the definition of normalcy less binding than the gay left once feared.

In vain social conservatives have argued that this combination isn’t a coincidence, that support for same-sex marriage and the decline of straight marital norms exist in a kind of feedback loop, that an idea can have conservative consequences for one community and revolutionary implications overall.

This argument was ruled out, irrationally, as irrational, but it probably wouldn’t have mattered if the courts were willing to consider it. Too many Americans clearly just like the more relaxed view of marriage’s importance, and the fact that this relaxation makes room for our gay friends and neighbors is only part of its appeal. Straight America has its own reasons for seeking liberation from the old rules, its own hopes of joy and happiness to chase.

Unfortunately I see little evidence that people are actually happier in the emerging dispensation, or that their children are better off, or that the cause of social justice is well-served, or that declining marriage rates and thinning family trees (plus legal pressure on religious communities that are exceptions to this rule) promise anything save greater loneliness for the majority, and stagnation overall.