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The GOP and Social Issues: Confronting the Gay Marriage Question

February 5th, 2014 - 10:02 am

I suspect the result would be a sizable net loss, especially in midterm elections. (Young voters participate in presidential elections at much higher rates than in midterms.) Nevertheless, it is worth asking whether social conservative opposition to gay marriage is a “no compromise” stance or one on which accommodations can tolerably be made.

Personally, I cannot get whipped up over gay marriage. I strenuously oppose the imposition of the Left’s agenda, including its radical gay rights subpart, on our society. But I distinguish the marriage question from the broader agenda, even though I know gay activists do not — a problem I will get to in due course. I know plenty of gay people, and I don’t think most of them define themselves by their sexuality any more than the rest of us do. I don’t believe most of them are driven by an overarching political agenda. They are just trying to go about their lives. That makes me sympathetic, though it does not persuade me to become a supporter of gay marriage. Yet, my objections are academic, not impassioned. I just don’t care that much about it.

Marriage is an institution rooted in the complementarity of the sexes, the natural procreative capacity of husband and wife, and the benefits of raising children in this natural family unit. To my mind, then, to speak of “gay marriage” and to juxtapose it with “traditional marriage” is to make a category error. Indeed, I think conservatives opposed to gay marriage are steadily losing in the court of public opinion because, on this as on many issues, they failed to take heed of the language in which the debate was framed. Speaking of “traditional marriage” implies that there are non-traditional arrangements that sensibly qualify as marriage despite being foreign to what marriage is. The political argument, moreover, assumes that marriage is something for government to define — as opposed to being a social institution that predates government, and in which government’s involvement ought to be limited to prescribing the legal privileges attendant to marriages society accepts.

Importantly, I don’t see this reasoning as an insult to or bigotry against gay people — I certainly don’t mean it that way. It is just a fact of life. I am not insulted, nor do I feel discriminated against, by the facts that my wife and I would be ineligible for a same-sex union, that I would not be permitted to play in the women’s pro-basketball league even if I were good enough, or that I am deemed unfit to be, say, Polish American of the Year.

By telling me I lack the basic qualifications, society is not undermining my dignity as a human being or the worthiness of my most intimate relationship.

All that said, though, if the people of a state choose to place gay couples in committed, monogamous relationships on an equal legal footing (meaning: analogous legal privileges) as married couples, that is fine by me. For the reasons explained above, such a legally sanctioned arrangement would not seem like a marriage to me, but I don’t feel strongly enough about it to object.

I also believe in our form of democracy. As a matter of law, marriage is a matter fit for state regulation; if the majority of a state voted to recognize monogamous, committed same-sex relationships as a marriage, I don’t see how any of my fundamental rights would be threatened, so I would accept the law just like I accept all legitimately enacted laws with which I disagree. I also believe in federalism: in 50 different states there would be a variety of outcomes: some states would endorse gay marriage, some would preserve marriage as we’ve always known it, virtually all would approve some form of domestic partnership, and everyone would be able to gravitate to places hospitable to their preferences and morality. (If abortion had been handled that way, rather than by the statist, undemocratic imposition of a one-size-fits-all federal dictate, our debates over “social issues” would be much less heated, the confirmation process for federal judges would be far less politicized, and “social conservatives” would probably never have risen up as a national political force.)

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Top Rated Comments   
The author is completely missing the point of gay marriage. It has always been about granting moral legitimacy to the behavior. The next step in this battle will be to force churches to perform same sex weddings.

Also, if your friends don't identify themselves in terms of their sexual appetites, how do you know they are gay? Why do they even call themselves gay?
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Understanding the radical left, they take a "compassion" issue...and make it into a "wedge" issue...then a "cause".

Falling for that trap...and ALWAYS wrestling the crocodiles in the water instead of on so frustrating to watch.

The emotional appeal gets an emotional response. It's a trick. And it is played over and over and over again...

The radical left positions the argument that you must take something away from me, in order to give something to the "oppressed".

That makes me automatically an "oppressor".

THIS is where the battleground OUGHT to be. It never is.

I am not an oppressor, in most instances nobody is being oppressed and you most certainly do not have to take my freedoms in order to install a giveaway program for others.

Whether it is taxes, Christmas trees and creches, gender salaries, insurance, or freedom to assemble...the takeaway is ALWAYS against the same people. And the slander necessary to make it into a cultural issue.

Therefore, the response is to shine a light on the trick...expose it for the fraud it is and show how it's the same game with the "suspect class" being interchanged?

Nope. They get the suckers to bite on the bait and give emotional responses that "prove the slander"...that didn't exist in the first place.

Remove the emotional response and focus on the real end game. Tear off the mask of the One World Communists. Stealing rights, property, liberty and freedom by faux "wedge" issues and the phony "oppressor vs oppressed" game needs to have the mask torn off of it.

Focus not on what they are getting...but what is being stolen. And not on emotional issues about who gets to use a word...but on the loss of religious freedom, freedom of assemblage, freedom of speech, guaranteed rights under the Constitution, earned wealth, freedom of choice over goods and services.

Then...and only then....will "winning hearts and minds" on these issues begin to reverse itself.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
I would prefer that the government only manage the civil aspects and leave marriage to the Churches. Want to live together in a civil union? Fine, go down to the county magistrate and fill out the forms. Want to get married? Find a church that will do it. There is no need for the government to be involved in marriage.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (254)
All Comments   (254)
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An expression of reasonable accommodation of the gay lifestyle and what should have been a reasonable set of legal changes that would eliminate most of the issues around same-sex marriage. So what went wrong?

Well, social conservatives have been so dismissive and hateful of the lifestyle, they have, through their politicians, refused time after time to provide civil solutions that provided gays with the same marital benefits as heterosexual couples. Inheritance, the ability to sign and authorize for the partner as wives and husbands can do. Anyone who thinks that gays had any level of equivalency with heterosexual married couples is badly informed.

It would have likely been a more normal progression if conservative legislators that are just plain hateful as hell had ever given them a legitimate break in equating civil unions with marriage in terms of legal benefits and requirements. There were few real efforts to provide equivalent legal status to gays. The author recognizes the potential for civil unions but fails to recognize the refusal of too many State Legislatures to approve such measures. There were the bible-thumpers demanding that no recognition be given to practitioners of the gay lifestyle. I'm not sure if we are in disagreement over fault, but I believe the gay community and their supporters were more interested in equality of treatment than in obtaining the right to a church wedding.

Sad to say what should have been a perfectly easy to satisfy solution has instead turned into a raging political battle which the social conservatives are losing because they took the all or nothing attitude in this battle. They have lost miserably because they were too insistent on hammering the lifestyle and they had no interest in allowing anything for homosexuals. Their approach was far more of a punishment response than any recognition of their right to exist.

The continued desire to marginalize people they believe their religion is against is costing them political points. What conservatives, particularly social conservatives, seemed to ignore is the driving force behind this equality effort and all the other equality efforts. Their religion intrudes on their rational ability to understand equality because it teaches that anyone not like them is to be treated as less than those who are a part of their group.

Social conservatives have no concern about compromise. I see no effort made to recognize that equality in this country is not defined by their religious tenets, but by the accepted norms of all the people. The continuous efforts to criminalize behavior to satisfy someones religious tenets becomes very intrusive and irritating

I see all kinds of comments here in favor of civil unions, but they weren't flying around when politicians were proposing them. I've already said it several times, but once more, there is a great difference between our Constitution and social conservative religious tenets. One is the mystical stupidity of biblical inerrency. It is nothing more than a way for a group of hardliners to take power. They have no basis other than what some JA preacher says to make that ludicrous claim that it is the exact word of God although not written down until centuries after the event. The social conservative movement is built around the idea of biblical inerrency which then provides a preacher with all the strange reactions discussed in the Bile that carry the weight of God's word. Then it becomes a matter of the vile homosexual is a blight on society and has no place in our religion. The next step is confirmation of that status by placing as many restrictions and roadblocks on homosexuals as possible. It becomes Bible driven hate without the consideration they have any relationship to God.

The conservative social agenda is built on the"us" who are so religious and so right with God they believe they have some right to tell others what to do has shot itself in the foot because it has refused compromise. That placed the gay community and their supporters in a position of fight or flight and they chose to fight. Their position became one of simple legal equality was insufficient and they used the social conservatives intransigence on providing legal equality to build their case for the same level of recognition and benefit the heterosexual community has.

When it comes to equality, social conservatives don't get the idea that everybody, not just folks with the right religious persuasion, get to access and do the same things everybody else does. I like the Golden Rule. It covers my relationships to others and it doesn't require that I hate something as all religions do.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Republican Party and other conservative organizations should consider the gay marriage issue in light of the facts about homosexual activity and human health. The physical and mental health metrics concerning gay people should be broadcast everywhere in order for the general population to understand the truth about this "lifestyle" (note that even the Federally funded US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website says: "Members of the LGBT community are at increased risk for a number of health threats when compared to their heterosexual peers").

Stories about people that have suffered significant illness or death due to their involvement in homosexual activity should be set before the general public. Information about the failed marriages, decrease in life expectancy, potential for liver disease, rectal cancer, multiple bowel diseases, and higher rates of depression and suicide that are associated with homosexual behaviors ought to be as common as health warnings on packs of cigarettes. Also the fact that people with same-sex desires can successfully overcome these tendencies and live fulfilled, healthy lives should be made known.

The disinformation campaign from gay activist groups has turned public opinion on this subject. The Republican Party and other conservative organizations should consider the gay marriage issue in light of the facts.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
" Also the fact that people with same-sex desires can successfully overcome these tendencies and live fulfilled, healthy lives should be made known." Would that be with more or less difficult than our society could switch from fossil fuels to "clean" energy?" If only we had a Putin to straighten these things out, eh?
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
You don't need Putin, just a determination to live without the consequences of homosexual behaviors. Many people have freely gone down the path of change:
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Just a generation ago, you wouldn't dare tell any of your gay and most of your lesbian friends you believe in love or monogamy. They would think much less of you as a human being.

Most of you older folks don't seem to even know they generally don't limit themselves to one gender if they have looks or resources. How is it they've kept this hidden from you?

How do you still not know that there are religions and political ideologies that usually come with being gay or lesbian?

Why would you need a "token straight guy" to tell you all this? Because your "Log Cabin" Republicans and "GOProud" types are NOT ACTUALLY ON YOUR SIDE.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
All who understand that homosexual marriage is an abomination, I have just delivered a powerful rebuke to MT Geoff at the top of the Klavan thread on this issue. Head on over and enjoy.

(He called me names).
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
You know, this is the second or third article on the subject of what political strategy conservatives(social and fiscal), libertarians, and anyone otherwise interested in the GOP regaining strength and influence in America should take. In particular it is a discussion about how to deal with the inevitable wedge issue of gay marriage and how to constructively deal with it and move on. The audience it seems to me would be those of us who may hold contrary opinions on that issue but otherwise share a lot in common with conservative governance. But what always happens in most forums, online or otherwise, we see people show up who have no such common interest, in fact many are antagonist to any part of our conservative cause. But they feel free to jump in and distract each of us in our conversation, denying at every turn any precept or supposition which we use in our arguments. Not because we are so faulty, but because they don't really want us discussing it. The intent is to intrude on our process and prevent us from developing cohesive political strategies because they fear anything we may say or do from an elected position of power. They will spend inordinate amounts of time disrupting and causing confusion among us. Their presence in these comments are a direct reflection of the intolerance which Andrew McCarthy speaks of. It will never stop if we concede. They will never shut up if we appease. They take advantage of our openness to discussion to derail that very discussion.

Should we ban these commenters here? Probably not, but I think we should call each of them out as they pop up. Some are easier to spot and come right out and tell us they are not "with us", meaning they are not for the GOP or most anything the social conservatives, libertarians, or fiscal conservatives value and want to see brought back to the forefront of our country. Others, well, they are not afraid of being duplicitous and will lead us to believe that they are valuable members of our cadre and that they share so much in common with us, except on this issue or that issue. I think we should be very dubious of these sorts. Regarding the issue of gay marriage, remember that most people bring a very personal passion to their advocacy for it, perhaps they are gay themselves or have a close loved one, like a child, who claims to be. No matter which, they allow their personal emotional investment to cloud any judgement they may have for accommodating the best interest of the conservative cause at large. To them the gay issue trumps everything and everyone. Maybe the best that we can do is not respond to these intrusive and disruptive voices, let silence be our response.

Many of us think, feel, and believe as Mr. McCarthy does, that there is some room for a political compromise that calms the festering boil on our foot that is the gay issue, a concern for a very small part of our society. We want to offer a peace treaty without offering any concession of our core beliefs. The best we can do is to offer it, if that is unacceptable it will not be because we didn't try. The trick is to find what peaceable treatise will most appeal to them without weakening our position or compromising our beliefs. Myself, I think live and let live should guide our position, let them learn the hard lessons of their indulgence first, then we can show that large segment of society(which is indifferent or mildly sympathetic) why those values are not good for the whole of society. Nothing proposed can be reasonably put into place over night. I think states should be able to decide if there are legal benefits to be gained from marriage no matter how they define it, and I believe the Federal government has an implied reason to not recognize marriage of any kind for promoting or benefitting any segment of society. That would resolve the matter of non-transportability of civil union status. And it would place some new burdens on traditional married couples as they would have to seek a marriage license in each state they go to if they want to take advantage of those state's exclusive benefits. There would be many details and snags to work through with such a radical change in the social framework of marriage, but I think it points us in the right direction.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Homosexuality is a mental disorder that established a political voice early on. On of the very first objectives was to get the American Psychiatric Association (APA) to removed them from their list of mental disorders. This was accomplished in the mid seventies after sustained disruption, intimidation and activism aimed at the APA. A change more closely related to political intimidation than medical consideration. This movement has real ties to the chaos associated with the goals of cultural Marxism, i.e. political correctness.

The Hollywood left jumped into this debate in the early 80s with numerous TV shows and movies that portrayed homosexuals in a positive light, and denigrated and intimidated, anyone who suggested otherwise. Including, and especially, people of faith.

We now have a generation of young people who for 30 years have been indoctrinated in public schools and in the entertainment they watch on TV. An up and coming example of children being indoctrinated in public schools is the zero tolerance policies concerning guns. Portrayed, in the name of public safety, as so evil that a child can get into trouble even mentioning the word gun, or shaping a pop-tart to the general shape of a gun. When this new group of crumb-crunchers becomes voters, the second amendment will be in trouble.

The political left is patient. The motto of the Fabian society is “inevitability by gradualism.” We are a people who are armed with the cardinal virtue of hope. The indoctrination methods initially formed in the neo-Marxist brain trust “the Institute for Social Research” i.e. the Frankfurt School is alive and well today in the United States and can be found in John Podesta’s “The Center for American Progress.”

The same dark minions and evil masters that haunted the Frankfurt School are alive and well in today’s Center for American Progress. Daily honing their skills in Critical Theory and Cultural Marxism, (political correctness).

Any hope of establishing their hellish Marxist utopia, is dependent in the destruction of the moral fiber of the United States and her adherence to a Judeo-Christian ethic.

The battle of good and evil has never been so engaged. The left is intent in changing the culture of the United States to a population windswept with political mendacity, cultural evils, dependent slavery… a society locked in the darkness of Isaiah’s warning “Woe to you that call evil good, and good evil: that put darkness for light, and light for darkness: that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.”

The United States of America is a nation worth saving. Unlike Sodom, I can easily find thousands of good people in my town. This is a fight worth fighting. A friend once told me that in the hell of a firefight (in Vietnam) he said he only wanted peace. But he realized the reality that the opponent of war isn’t not only people, but all to often slavery. He could have raised a white flag and likely would have had people. What he would not have is freedom.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Time to check your hubris. From the article "would cause social conservatives to disengage from politics. I agree. As argued in my post, the GOP cannot win elections with major defections from this critical component of its base."

Can McCarthy and Co win any elections under any circumstances? I do not think so. I hope I am wrong - but then again I hoped 2012 didn't happen at all.

In the last few decades we have had four electoral victories. The first two were Reagan's two Presidential wins. The third was Clinton's midterm blowout after Hillary announced that coercive Hillary-care package and Clinton lost the House and Senate because of it.

The fourth electoral victory was the midterm 2010 election when a movement called the Tea Party showed exactly how it is done. Nothing short of a miracle. Major and unprecedented victories at all levels of government local and Federal.

Now lets fast forward to 2012 Presidential elections. Where was everyone? More of that conservative base voted in 2008 for McCain and Palin than voted for the clearly more Conservative ticket of Romney/Ryan.

And while today that energized Conservative base ticks off the weaknesses of a Romney - too Canary Island, too stiff, too establishment and etc. the point being that many if not most of those very same people voted for McCain in 2008.

So that base has become more radicalized in that whatever their beliefs are today - those weren't their beliefs in 2008.

So the question no one asks in - who wants the social conservatives at all? Its the Tea Party we need and want. And the problem with Conservative doctrinal unity is that the Tea Party formed itself around several unyielding demands - pay down the debt, no deficit spending, balanced budgets, lower taxes and fewer regulations, and the relationship between the tax payer and those spending our money.

It is crucial to understand that whatever else Doctrinal Conservatives believe or demand or want that none of those beliefs, demands or wants were necessarily part of the make up of the Tea Party wave of voters and activists.

Not that the Tea Party was by its nature hostile to any of those beliefs. They didn't necessarily require them as the issues as already outlined were required first.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Your premise is based upon a falsehood, not deliberate on your part, I'm sure. That falsehood is that more turned out for McCain in 08 than Romney in 12. It's not true. Once the counting was done, Romney had a higher turnout. The difference was that the first countings were of McCain's full count and Romney's preliminary, right after the election count.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think what Mr McCarthy is saying is that the couples who are entering these same-sex marriages if that's not an oxymoron), are people like himself, albeit with distinctly different sexual preferences. In a word, these early adopters are safe, predominantly white, mostly middle-class, many professionals. Not a few are in middle age, some with children from prior relationships. Non-threatening, aside from a few litigious-happy knuckleheads who can't (or won't) find a gay-friendly florist or bakery. It may suprise you here but homosexuals have bern seeking out and patronizing friendly businesses for generations. Ever hear of gay-dar?
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Gee, why were all those non-threatening predominantly white, mostly middle-class professionals giving me all those drugs for free when I was as kid?
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Wow, 223 comments. Good luck resolving this issue, GOP. I just object totally to the way the issue is argued. A more fundamental question is why our government and legal system offer special status, preferences or benefits to anyone based on their marital status. Were it not for that, it would be a non-issue in a free society. For example, there is no law against a man living in a domicile with multiple women and procreating with all of them. They may all be ostracized by people who believe it is morally wrong, but that would be the end of it. Instead, if one of these groups claims "married" status, suddenly they are all public enemy number 1. Does that make sense to anyone? The best solution to all of this would be to end "marriage" as a legal concept and remove its tentacles from all of our tax law, contract law, labor law and government programs. It will take a while to find acceptable substitute mechanisms for a lot of things - but then "marriage" can be dealt with solely as a religious concept with approaches as diverse as the world's religions themselves.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
"The best solution to all of this would be to end "marriage" as a legal concept and remove its tentacles from all of our tax law, contract law, labor law and government programs."

Good luck with that in a society that is stuck on the pattern of living by the rules of special interests with deep pockets. #it'sallaboutthemoney
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Andy says, " I know plenty of gay people". And I know plenty of people who are black, Irish, Polish. It does not give you, or me any insight on these groups.
As for another of your points, " it is not rational to obsess over a small number of people who want state validation for loving relationships that promote stability when we are in the midst of unprecedented social instability — and all the disorder that comes with it."

Andy, name me one peer reviewed study on OUTCOMES of gay couples. Males being the most violent. Then a study on the kids of gay couples. The data that does exist is sloppy, and rigged to favor homosexuals. But underneath it is horrible!! For society too.
More psychological problems. Multiple partners - short term relationships. More break ups and domestic abuse. Try to find out how many of the kids have been with the same 2 homosexuals for their entire life. It is not even close.
You have been so cowed in your tepid opinion. Is it right/good for society on the whole, or is it wrong/not good for society?
The modern liberal has so infiltrated our educational system that they are now inflicting their morality on our kids - I have three - and that is my job. What is the moral explanation/reasoning for one man shoving his erect penis into another man's rectum. In what world do you teach young children this is normal behavior, or even OK?
Sometimes courage means you don't win an election but....see the article on Lillehammer, the TV series from the Netherlands. People are dying to hear the moral truth from some leader. Cough! Reagan democrats! That is what Reagan did man!
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
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