Gay Families Are Not A Theory

Andrew Sullivan —  Jun 13 2012 @ 10:59am

Millman delivers a reality check to opponents of marriage equality:

The case for gay marriage – the Burkean case, you might say – is simply that what amount to common-law gay marriages already exist. Numerous gay couples settle down for long-term, even life-long relationships of mutual support. They jointly own property. They bear, adopt, and rear children. These are already existing realities, not hypotheticals. They are not the product of state diktats; they are the product of organic cultural change which, in turn, has shaped changes in the law. The question before the people is whether to recognize these realities, and, if so, as what.

This is basically the point I have been making for twenty years to conservatives. The point of conservatism is to harness inevitable social change to the best ends possible, in ways that maintain as much as possible the institutions and habits of the past. Openly gay people exist and have thrived in the last decade in the US. This is the reality. The salient question then becomes: Is it better that society includes gay couples (and often children) in its already-existing institutions for love and family, or deny they exist at all, or set up new untested contraptions, called civil unions or domestic partnerships, to keep them in a segregated and balkanized holding area? Of those three choices, the first is obviously the socially conservative one; it adjusts by inclusion, not exclusion; it is pro-family (because gay people are part of families); it does not balkanize people on the basis of their identity; and it encourages mutual responsibility independent of the state.

This is a case where bigotry meets social conservatism, and in the GOP today, bigotry, not social conservatism, is in the driving seat.