Wednesday, May 21, 2014

They're Not Banning Marriage for Straight People, Rod

Over at The American Conservative, Rod Dreher goes predictably around the bend on the recent win for marriage equality in Pennsylvania.

Just as conservatives are averse to the term "ban same-sex marriage," because admitting what you're doing makes it sound terrible and loses you support in polls, permitting same-sex people to marry is framed as an attack on marriage. Dreher describes the recent ruling in Pennsylvania as "another federal judge throws out traditional marriage."

Really? Does the ruling prevent anyone from marrying someone of the opposite sex? I hadn't heard.

I've been reading his blog for a while, and his views on gay people are somewhat mixed. He doesn't want to see them oppressed, but they shouldn't have full civil rights. He has said that they should not see themselves as equal to straight people. Dreher supports the vague of civil unions, but only if they are inferior, and he has no interest in spelling out just how inferior. He does see a distinction between what is sinful and what should be illegal, but somehow this concept of sinfulness should lead to political disadvantages for gay people. (I'm summarized this from much reading of his blog; I would generally characterize his views about gay people as "vague, inconsistent, and probably contradictory.")

 In nineteen states, same-sex couples are able to obtain marriages that are the legal equivalent of Rod Dreher's. A growing number of religious groups see them as spiritually equivalent as well. I don't think Dreher likes that.

He writes:
Does Judge Jones really think that the sexual complementarity of marriage, which has been the basis of marriage in all places and in all times, until only two decades ago, is fit for history’s garbage dump?
Of course he's historically wrong. "Sexual complementarity" is the current weasel term used by opponents of same-sex marriage to make it sound like they're not making a circular argument. He's not providing an argument that marriage must be kept opposite-sex only, just making the observation that it typically has been.

As for the rest of the history, the Roman Empire, after it become Christian, banned marriage between men and nullified all existing ones. Montaigne wrote about his encounter with a Portuguese sect that allowed marriage between men. Shall I continue with other places and times, or are two sufficient? In other words, "all places and in all times" is just bunk.

When asked, Dreher responds in his comment thread that he has answered before what he sees as the negative effect of same-sex marriage. I think he avoids spelling it out each time he's asked not for a fear of repetition (since there are many statements about same-sex marriage he's made over and over again) but because it's so intellectually weak. It's that whole fear that if same-sex marriage is allowed, those sinful, sinful gay people, might just think they're equal.

I certainly hope so.
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