Tag Archives: Jeff Jacoby

Queerly Beloved

A reader (hurray for readers) wondered if I might have something to say about this column on same-sex marriage.  I might.  I'd say the author hasn't even really tried.  Luckily, however, he italicizes his points so even I can see where to look.  His points are three in number.  And three is the number of his points, not four, not two.  He writes:

It is not the business of judges to make public policy.

Reasonable men and women can disagree on whether same-sex unions should be granted legal recognition, or whether such recognition should rise to the level of marriage. The place to work out those disagreements is the democratic arena, not the courtroom.

Well, the court, which decides matters such as these, is an institution in our democracy–a fundamental one, some might not implausibly suggest.  Its decisions necessarily have to do with public policy.  This argument–judicial activism!–really ought to be retired: they're little question-begging argumentative stand-ins.  Make a legal argument against the legal argument.  

Point number two:

The radical transformation of marriage won't end with same-sex weddings.

Another well-worn anti gay marriage argument.  Where will it end?  Well, the slope begins with actual marriage, so one can only conclude that the existence of marriage between a "straight" couple will lead to all sorts of weird marriages.  Besides, the problem with this particular variation of the slippery slope argument, it tacitly admits there's nothing wrong with gay marriage–the problem is rather with all of the other crazy marriages that will follow in its wake.  Of course, if there's a problem with those marriages, you can just make arguments against them for what they are (marriage between three), rather than something else they're not (marriage between two consenting adults).

Point number three:

Society has a vested interest in promoting only traditional marriage.

Which is the argument of the gay marriage advocates–they want a traditional marriage too–its legitimacy and legal benefits.  Like the one Britney had–the first one or the second, take your pick.  What's really silly about this claim is that it supposes gay marriage would be some kind of competitor or threat for "traditional" marriage.  This doesn't seem to be the case at all.  If history is any guide, gay couples have existed (with diminished or nonexistent legal status of course) for a very long time.  Their existence hasn't done much to undermine traditional marriage.  Not as much as, say, divorce, infidelity, sports, weight loss or gain, age, youth, or failure to put the toilet seat down.