My Gay-Marriage Dilemma

I have “come out,” as it were, on the screens of this venerable website several times in my support for same-sex marriage. I don’t do this to annoy people or to be a “contrarian” or to curry favor with various groups that value image over substance; I have drawn this conclusion based on the rather unfashionable classical liberalism in which I have believed, to one degree or another, since I became politically conscious.

What disturbs me now, however, and what has always disturbed me, is that the primary driving force behind gay-marriage legalization is not people who believe in individual rights. This push is, rather, largely the work of the identitarian New Left, the same Marxoid juggernaut that has brought us some of the most destructive policies and concepts in our history. What should be a movement based on individual liberty is actually a Frankfurt School-tinged movement of identity politics. It’s true that the pro-gay marriage crowd contains a truly diverse group of people: there are libertarians (Reason magazine), center-left liberals (most mainstream Democrats), neoconservatives (Dick Cheney), moderate conservatives (Ron Radosh), pseudo-conservatives (Andrew Sullivan), and many others. But behind this diverse vanguard one detects the greasy and despotic hand of the radical '60s Left. I don’t mind standing with the former; I DO mind standing with the latter, since if you give them an inch, they take a mile, and that mile usually leads somewhere not too pleasant.

I have a feeling that if the push to end DOMA and Prop 8 were primarily the work of Reason or the Ayn Rand Institute, certain traditionalist conservatives would be at least slightly more amenable to it. This would be because the implicit threat of future civil-rights lawsuits against, say, churches that refuse to marry gays would be a moot point. No Cato Institute senior fellow wants to file suit against the Catholic Church for exercising its First Amendment rights. Social conservatives know this; they trust libertarians enough even if they don’t agree with them.