Monday, February 25, 2013

It's Time To Embrace Gay Marriage

I figured I would start this week by upsetting some of you. You can thank me later. :) There was some talk last week about the issue of gay marriage and what conservatives should do about it. I’ve given this issue a lot of thought and I think it’s time for conservatives to drop their obsession with gays and embrace the idea. Yeah, I know, you don’t like it, but you’re wrong. Here’s why.

The Cost v. Benefit Reason: Let’s start with the only reason that really matters in politics: the costs of opposing gay marriage far outweigh the benefits. The costs of opposing gay marriage are actually quite extreme:
● Gays make up 3% of the population (about the same as Jews or Muslims) and they vote in much higher numbers than other members of the public. They also tend to work in “power” industries, like Hollywood, government and law. That makes them influential. They also contribute a lot of money to politicians. Those factors mean they punch way above their weight in politics.

Unfortunately, when they do vote, they vote nearly 100% in favor of the Democrats. This wasn’t always true however, and there’s no reason for it to be this way except that religious conservatives have shown real hatred for gays, which keeps gays out of the party. In fact, they’ve show such visceral pettiness that they won’t even let a gay conservative group have a booth at CPAC. That’s indefensible.

The Democrats have exploited this rather skillfully to politicize gays and turn them into an interest group through the issue of gay marriage. But this only works until the gays get what they want and as long as conservatives keep treating gays like lepers.

If the GOP endorsed gay marriage and stopped being nasty about gays, there would be no reason for gays to remain loyal to the Democrats. In effect, they would be de-politicized and there would be no reason for them to remain a Democratic block. That would mean the Democrats could lose a huge fundraising resource, a large chunk of supporters with influence and power, and a ton of votes. Indeed, if gays swung to 50/50 instead of 100/0, as is quite possible as they start voting on economic and other issues rather than “gay” issues, you would be talking about a 3% swing (-1.5% and +1.5%) in the electorate which would win the GOP a lot of Senate and House seats.

● But gays aren’t the only people turned off by conservatives on this issue. Conservatives have a horrible reputation among women and the young, and the conservative obsession with gays is the reason for this. Most of the women I’ve met have gay friends. Most of the young people I know don’t think there’s anything wrong with being gay. Polls repeatedly confirm this.

Continuing to fight against this issue only reinforces the ideas that conservatives are intolerant jerks, who are completely obsessed with other people’s sex lives. Moreover, this isn’t just a “little” issue like funding/defunding some obscure program which most people can ignore, this is a HUGE issue made all the bigger by all those angry conservatives. . . who. . . can’t. . . stop. . . screaming. . . about. . . their. . . obsession. Conservatives have made this into a true hot button issue that is capable of swinging people from one party to another, and we’re on the wrong side.
So the cost of continuing to oppose gay marriage is the continuation of the 70% margins among women, single people and the young, and the continued politicization of gays in favor of the Democrats. At the same time, the benefits of opposing gay marriage are minimal at best:
● Poll after poll, shows the public now favors gay marriage by ever growing margins. When you factor out old people, the public overwhelmingly favors gay marriage. The issue is inevitable. . . you can’t win. Thus, the only benefit gained is to delay the inevitable for maybe a decade or two. Is a few years of delay worth getting destroyed as a political force and getting another Obamacare? In other words, is it worth letting America be destroyed just to slow up gay marriage for a few years?

● The only real “benefit” to opposing gay marriage is that it keeps the Religious Right on the conservative side. Let’s assume that’s a good thing. Still, so what? The Religious Right isn’t going anywhere. The worst they will do is not turn out, and if they don’t, so what? The Religious Right is concentrated in the theocratic states in the South, which the Democrats won’t win anyway. So we win Alabama by 8% instead of 18%, big whoop. In exchange for this, conservatives could instantly become competitive in a dozen other states.

Indeed, everything I’ve seen suggest that the Religious Right is about 6% of the electorate nationwide with the vast majority of them in the South. In the states we are losing they tend to be around 1-2% of voters, if that. If the GOP picks up 1/3 of gays it would offset that loss entirely, and that’s before you even factor in women and young people. The math is obvious.
There Are No Legitimate Arguments Against It: Putting aside the cynical math, the next question is why should we oppose this at all? This is something I’ve given a ton of thought to and I’ve reached the conclusion that I can’t find a valid reason for opposing gay marriage. Consider the arguments normally made:
● Conservatives predicted gay marriage would somehow destroy society, and it didn’t. Gay marriage is the law in a dozen states and those states have not seen a single spike in anything bad.

● Conservatives predicted gay marriage would destroy marriage, somehow. It hasn’t. There has been no rash of heterosexuals abandoning marriage. Not to mention, it’s pretty stupid to argue that marriage is so weak as an institution that it can’t withstand a few people getting married that you might not like.

● Conservatives argued there would be a benefits rush. That again hasn’t happened. Nor does this argument make sense unless you think we somehow factored in gays when we set up the math supporting those programs. Plus, the conservative embrace of civil unions demonstrates how disingenuous this argument was.

● Blah blah blah... the children. Show me some proof. After forty years of study, you would think there would be some proof supporting this argument. The lack of evidence is deafening.

● Liberals want it! (hat tip to HotAir) This argument is too stupid to bother refuting.

● The slippery slope. . . “but what about polygamy?” A slippery slope argument is the best giveaway that you have no valid basis for opposing something. When you find yourself arguing that this could lead to something bad, you are admitting that the thing you are opposing is itself not bad because you need to attack it using something else as a proxy.
The truth is that conservatives simply don’t like gays and these arguments are nothing more than a pretext. The only argument that is left is “gays are immoral,” but I find that entirely unpersuasive because I don’t accept the idea that the government should be telling consenting adults what they may or may not do based on the opinions of other people about how everyone should live their lives. Conservatives recognize this principle when it comes to liberal busybody-ism, why not in this instance? If you can’t find a third-party harm, there’s no reason the government should get involved.

But finally, here’s the biggest thing that changed my mind on gay marriage: I realized it doesn’t hurt me and I have no right to tell someone else how to live their lives. Try as I might, I just can’t think of any way that allowing gays to marry makes my life any less happy, less profitable, or less worthwhile. And for those of you who are so certain that the government needs to stop these people, ask yourself why this matters so much to you.



Koshcat said...

My father always taught me you can't legislate morality and frankly I just don't care as in ambivalent. I haven't spoken to her in a while due other reasons (life stuff) but i have a cousin with a "life partner". Nice girls; big bronco fans; no problem.

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, I think that's right -- you can't legislate morality. And in this case, trying to do that is causing us lots of damage. It's not worth it politically.

AndrewPrice said...

As an aside, there is a really high likelihood that the Supreme Court will require gay marriage -- and it won't be close, it will be something like a 6-3 decision. That may finally end the issue, but it would be best if conservatives could come to terms with this before that happens.

Commander Max said...

I think gays are going to find marriage for them will not be all it's cracked up to be. But it does open legal doors on other types of "marriage".

But I don't think we have seen the full ramifications of what these types of marriages will bring. Honestly I don't think it will help the GOP at all to endorse gay marriage. No matter what Reps do, it will be hounded on by the left. The GOP could do everything the Dems want, and still be treated the same way.

There isn't a way to win in this situation.

Patriot said...

Agree with Max. It doesn't matter what the Repubs do on gay marriage. "They're only doing it for votes!" They would be treated with disdain and loathing anyway, just like with race.

So Andrew, I agree with the libertarian stance on this...It doesn't hurt me and I, personally, have absolutely zero interest in this argument. As a member of a family with some members who are gay (one in your face San Fran gay nephew), I JUST DON'T CARE ABOUT THIS ISSUE.

Bottom line...loser issue for Repubs, no matter which way they swing.

Mr_Severus_Snape said...

I both agree and disagree, Andrew.

I agree it's very despicable that some Conservatives want to ban gays in our cause. All of the Gay people I know are actually nice, normal people. They understand that my stance on gay marriage (BTW, I don't wear it on my sleeve), doesn't mean I hate them. I DON'T CARE what people do in their private lives. I just don't want the government redefining marriage to accommodate alternative lifestyles, which is not the same as "hating gay people".

I'm like most Conservatives, socially conservative, but not big on social issues. I advocate remaining conservative not to anger the base, but stop obsessing over it, to attract others. The Reagan approach.

Like what others have said here, changing our stance on this issue won't do anything, but anger a lot from our base, which is also not good and it can even be seen as pandering to people who aren't our base. We need a balanced approach. It's pretty naive thinking that changing our stances on social issues will get more people to like us. We'll still be seen as the "greedy people". lol

Mr_Severus_Snape said...

Patriot, The true libertarian stance on this is not to allow Gay Marriage, but to get the Government out of Marriage, all together.

Anonymous said...

I've given this one a lot of thought as well. While I agree with all the comments above, I've never heard anyone ask the question as to how can the gov't make any laws...allowing or disallowing...certain types of marriages without being in direction violation of the 1st amendment??? Religously, I am adamantly opposed to it. But as a conservative (with a sprinkling of libertarianism) I could care less if there are people out there willing to pervert their religion in order to allow it. Either way, the gubbiment shouldn't have any place to say a church can or cannot do this. Am I just out of my mind on this??

Anthony said...

I've always been fine with gay marriage (I'm not libertarian but I'm also not a big government conservative).

I've never seen how gay marriage jeopardizes
marriage as an institution. Individual marriages have always been as strong (or as weak) as the committment of the people taking the vows.

That being said, I don't see a switch happening. There are a lot of people in the party who see a religious obligation to force everyone to live by the tenets of their faith. The RNC or CPAC changing its position isn't going to be something such people accept quietly.

Its worth noting that Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Bobby Jinal and Paul Ryan oppose gay marriage so its a pretty safe bet our 2016 presidential nominee will oppose gay marriage.

So while I think a switch would be the right thing to do (both politically and from a limited government perspective) I don't think the Republican party is capable of doing it.

Tennessee Jed said...

personally, it is an issue that is off my radar, but I do realize there are more ramifications than meets the eye. I honestly believe it best that government be out of the business of defining marriage, but there are tons of legal issues that impact people (taxes, inheritance, ability to make decisions about medical treatment, etc.)

The hatred of gays, and the historically vile treatment of them tends to hurt the perception of the rights in much the same way as does race relations. Just as it is unfair to paint all Republicans with the broad brush of "racism" it is equally unfair to do so relative to treatment of gays. But, the issue does help to make the right an easier target as the party of intolerance.

I don't see the party changing on this issue, though.

Anonymous said...


I agree that this wouldn't necessarily make people flock to the Republican Party. To be fair, it might help convince otherwise open-minded folks in the middle but anyone whose hardcore on the left won't be joining the right anytime soon, I assume, for any foreseeable reason.

It's one thing to drop the subject and quite another to wholeheartedly embrace it - no doubt many folks would see right through it. The key would be sincerity... but that's something most politicians know nothing about. :-)

And while I'm still on board with your slippery slope reasoning, all it takes is one nutjob out there to suggest it: "Hey, why can't we marry our cousins? Why can't I marry two women?" etc.

I've always wondered what would happen if two platonic same-sex friends decided to get married just for the economic benefit. But I suppose two opposite-sex friends could get married for the same reason... so, uh, nevermind that!

All in all, allow me to quote former Texas gubernatorial candidate (and country star) Kinky Friedman:

"I support gay marriage because I believe they have right to be just as miserable as the rest of us!"

tryanmax said...

Trying to court the Religious Right is ridiculous. For one, if they vote, that vote is going Republican anyway. But moreover, they are always looking for a reason not to vote, a reason which they will find in pretty much any election with a primary. In decades past, capturing the RR vote might have meant picking up some more moderately religious voters in their wake, but those days are largely over. They're not worth the effort anymore.

Scott, FYI, speaking strictly biologically, there is nothing wrong with the occasional cousins marrying. It only becomes problematic when and isolated gene pool makes it a habit over generations, i.e. the European royals.

As for polygamy, I think the First Amendment comes down in favor of allowing it. Why anyone would want more than one wife, I don't know, but I'm not sure there are any deleterious social effects from it. One prominent example, the Fundamentalist LDS is pretty screwed up, to be sure, but I think it stems from things far deeper than polygamy.

tryanmax said...

One other thought on the slippery slope: I find it interesting that very few people go as far as suggesting siblings getting married. That's the most horrifying scenario to most people, I think, but there must be something inherently unbelievable about it that so few use the argument.

Critch said...

I don't see the big deal with gay marriage,,,right the law so that a church cannot be forced to do a gay wedding. One of my nephews is gay and has been with the same partner for close to 20 years. He votes Republican and carries a gun..we need to stop irritating people on these issues that mean nothing whatsoever to the future of the country.

Critch said...

That should be "write" the law...

BevfromNYC said...

Andrew - I agree with just about everything in your article. ANd I have been saying it for years now. I am one of those women who has had many, many gay friends. It is inevitable, there is no constitutional reason or argument that can be made to deny it. And social conservatives just need to get over it and move on. We have bigger fish to fry.
With one caveat - next will come the polygamists with the same arguments.

And frankly, I think it is about dang time that my single gay friends have to endure the same embarrassing questions we straight singles have had to face at every family gathering from nosy relatives, by God!
"So, when are you getting married?"
"So, why aren't you married yet?"

And from a purely business standpoint - it will be huge boon to the wedding industry and the more gay marriage, the more gay divorce! Gives new meaning to "Gay Divorcee" too!

Koshcat said...

Having lived in Utah in the past, the two biggest issue with polygamy was statutory rape and welfare fraud. There is little other economic benefit from it and one could argue that there isn't a constitution reason to oppose it either. What do I care if some dude wants to marry multiple women? As long as he doesn't beat them, can provide for them, and doesn't marry a deflower 8 year olds (I'm looking in your direction, Mohammad) I say let them. Just because I may not agree with it doesn't mean I should ban it. Widely used practice that has been around for millennia. I also think arranged marriages are kind of weird, but an friend from India explained how it works and he was looking forward to it. To each his own.

BevfromNYC said...

Koshcat - I will take the polygamist thing one step further. If two or more women can live in harmony in the same house and with one man between them and NOT kill each other then they deserve not only the right to legally marry, BUT also the Nobel Peace Prize!

AndrewPrice said...

Max, The left will always try to smear conservatives, but that's not a reason not to do the things that will help us. Old people escaped the MSM/democratic plantation when the GOP stopped talking about eliminating social security. The same thing will happen here.

Also, this issue isn't about making gays love us, it's about depoliticizing gays. Give them this issue and there are no issues left for gays to be politicized around. Thus, they will vote on other issues. And in that regard, most gays fit much more happily in the GOP ideology than they do in the Democratic party.

Also, eliminating this issue wipes out the biggest wedge between conservatives and woman/young people. That may not be enough swing anyone over on day one, but it is enough to reduce the toxicity, which means we would then have an actual chance to pursue them.

AndrewPrice said...

Patriot, The key is here is to depoliticize the issue. The media can scream all they want about our motives, but within weeks after this thing passes, the issue is gone and it will be forgotten. That means the toxicity ends and it means there's no reason for gays to band together anymore as a political group. That would dramatically change the issue. And there is nothing the MSM can do about it.

AndrewPrice said...

Snape, First, let me say that if more religious conservatives were thoughtful and didn't make such a huge deal of this issue, then it wouldn't be a problem. But far too many have not only been ultra-aggressive in making this into a HUGE issue, but they've done so in very nasty ways. Their rhetoric and their arguments are truly off-putting. The CPAC thing is an example. There is no reason whatsoever to ban anyone who wants to put up a booth at CPAC from doing so. Heck, if the Communist Party of America wanted a booth, we should let them because conservatism is all about the competition between ideas. And the only group I can think of who was actually opposed was GOProud. To threaten boycotts if an allied gay group is allowed to have a booth really highlights the mania on this issue -- that they won't even let gays speak their mind.

Moreover, I've seen the same thing when religious conservatives obsess over everything from education to what books can be in the public libraries. When I was in the Virginia a bunch of Religious Right groups were trying to ban any book with gay references from the public libraries. They also tried to ban the gay newspaper (The Washington Blade) from the libraries, even though the paper was already behind the counter where it needed to be asked for. The tactics they used were despicable. They equated gays with child molesters and said gays want to have sex with children. They claimed there were "gay" diseases that would cause a "plague." And they thought nothing of standing up in public meetings and screaming at gays that they would "go to Hell etc. etc." and so would anyone who didn't ban the books in question.

These are the types of tactics which over the years have created the impression of "hate." And the idea that the hate is still there gets reinforced when the CPAC thing happens or when our candidates are forced to swear to oaths claiming they will oppose all things gays, and every time the entire conservative world goes into an uproar about the latest teen to come out of the closet. "How dare they let that kid attend the prom with a same-sex date!"

This is an issue where conservatives have made their own problems.

In any event, the real point here is not to win "gays." The point is to (1) depoliticize gays so they stop supporting the party offering the gay agenda and instead support which party fits them better on other issues, and (2) to detoxify the party from two decades of nastiness that prevents young people and women from even considering our side as an option.

In other words, if we make this thing go away, it will stop hurting us.

AndrewPrice said...

Snape, That would be the true libertarian stance, but that's not the world we have. And that's why we need to embrace gay marriage. If gays were asking for marriage and there was no such official government institution as marriage, then it would be easy to opposed them -- you want something nobody else has.

But since we as a society have carved out this institution, the fairness argument is really easy for gays to win -- you give it to heterosexuals, we should get it too. That's a hard one to beat in America, where fair play is considered important in government.

AndrewPrice said...

Anon, In truth, the Constitution is dead. It's a fantasy that only applies when the powers that be want it to apply.

In any event though, the First Amendment isn't implicated in this debate because the government is not treating marriage as a religious designation. To the government, marriage is simply a legal arrangement like incorporation or partnership, which includes a number of benefits and responsibilities. Thus, granting a government marriage is not seen as imposing religious beliefs on anyone.

Whether or not the government can force a church to marry people is a different issue. It can force them to recognize a civil-marriage, but I strongly doubt the government could force a church to actually perform a marriage because those two issues are separate. Recognizing a government sanctioned marriage is not a religious matter -- it's no different that recognizing a corporation. But performing a marriage, that's a religious matter.

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, Sadly, I agree.

There are a lot of people in the party who see a religious obligation to force everyone to live by the tenets of their faith.

That is exactly the problem, and those people control the party. So nothing is going to change. Indeed, the only way that I can see a change would be if a sitting Republican president "changed his mind" once he got into office.

That said, I do see a lot more movement on this issue. For a decade now, you would basically have been tossed out of the party as a heretic if you didn't toe the line, but now I'm seeing more and more conservatives saying openly that they support gay marriage and I'm seeing a lot of conservatives changing their minds.

It is possible that enough minds will start to change that it won't matter what the people who control the party want. But we'll see.

And in any event, I think it's helpful to discuss it and to point out why a change is needed.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I agree. Ideally, it would be best to get the government out of the business of marriage altogether. By creating these powers, we let the government control our lives.

I also agree that it's not fair to paint all conservatives with a broad brush, and I certainly wouldn't lump all conservatives into this. BUT in politics, perception is reality and politics is about attacking groups. The same way we try to paint all liberals as near socialists, they paint us by our worst members. And on this issue, there is a lot of baggage. That's one reason I think that just dropping the issue won't work, it needs to be embraced.

In terms of change, I don't see the party changing any time soon, but I do think that minds are changing and that could lead to a change in any event.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, My responses...

To be fair, it might help convince otherwise open-minded folks in the middle but anyone whose hardcore on the left won't be joining the right anytime soon, I assume, for any foreseeable reason.

This is the problem with a lot of reasoning I hear in the conservative world: we won't win everyone (or) this won't help us win liberals. Nothing will win us liberals... that's not the point. The point is to win over the people in the middle that we've lost. The point is to detoxify the party.

The key would be sincerity... but that's something most politicians know nothing about. :-)

Actually, sincerity doesn't matter. Once gay marriage become the law, the issue goes away. It will be forgotten just like other laws are forgotten. At that point, there is no reason for gays to group together as a political interest group, so they will begin to stray from politics and from the Democratic party. Plus, the whole anti-gay stuff will stop because there's no point in talking about it, which means that young people and women won't be constantly hit in the face with a lot of things they despise.

I'm still on board with your slippery slope reasoning, all it takes is one nutjob out there to suggest it: "Hey, why can't we marry our cousins? Why can't I marry two women?"

On the slippery slope stuff, as I say, that is strong evidence that the thing you are arguing against isn't bad or else you would attack it directly. But more to the point, the slippery slope argument is wrong here because people don't understand how the law works.

The government has the right to ban anything if they can find a legitimate reason for doing so. There is a legitimate reason to ban cousins marrying because of the incidence of birth defects. That's the same reason why the Supreme Court struck down sodomy laws, but didn't strike down laws against incest. This is the same reason pedophiles will lose if they make the claim because the government has a compelling state interest in protecting children.

As for something like polygamy, there is a key difference. When the government created a marriage category, it created a benefit out of a legal nothing, i.e. there is no fundamental right to marriage. Gays are arguing that it's discriminatory to only grant the benefit to heterosexuals. That will win in court -- I suspect 6-3 but wouldn't rule out as much as 8-1. Polygamists will lose because they are trying to expand the benefit to go from two consenting adults to three or more consenting adults. That's an easy one for the court to say, "no you want a whole new benefit."

So basically, the only people who really can make the claim legally are gays -- unless someone else can convince the legislatures to change their minds.

Kit said...

"This is the problem with a lot of reasoning I hear in the conservative world: we won't win everyone (or) this won't help us win liberals. Nothing will win us liberals... that's not the point. The point is to win over the people in the middle that we've lost. The point is to detoxify the party."

That's because conservative view politics as a zero-sum game. You either win a demographic or you lose it.

T-Rav said...


AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, The math tells me that courting the Religious Right is a mistake. Those aren't people we are going to lose to the Democrats in any event, and the issues they care about are toxic outside their group. And even if they don't vote, they don't have the power to sway elections because of their concentration.

And let me add, because I've said this before and I want to be clear, there is a huge difference between average religious conservatives and the Religious Right. Most of the religious conservatives I've met are rational, well-rounded people who let their religious views inform their political views, but who aren't obsessive about it. The Religious Right people I've met are nuts. They equate politics as theology and they believe the mission of the Republican Party is to force their religious views onto the public. Those are the people who have damaged both the conservative/GOP brand, but also the Christian brand. Jeffers is the perfect example of those people.

In terms of the slippery slope and legal aspects, see my comment to Scott. Legally speaking, the idea of the slippery slope is wrong. There are legitimate distinctions which can and will block other forms of marriage.

In terms of the First Amendment, it actually isn't implicated in this debate because the government isn't granting a religious form of marriage, it's creating a civil form -- like incorporation -- and it can set that up in any way it sees fit.

AndrewPrice said...

Critch, That's pretty much the answer. Also, I suspect that if the law didn't include such an exception, then it would be violation of the First Amendment. You can make people recognize a government-sponsored arrangement, but it would be a different matter to force churches to perform a religious ceremony.

Kit said...

I'll get into polygamy later.

But I will note this: Look at the differences between male and female sexual impulse. And I'm speaking in general terms. There are always exceptions here. And I'll use a farm analogy.

The most basic male sexual impulse is generally to fertilize as many fields as he can.
The most basic female sexual impulse is generally to find that one farmer who can properly tend to her field.

I'm not saying there aren't women who seek out multiple partners at one time and that men do not desire one partner. But these are the basic sexual desires that we inherited from our ancestors.

I'll get more into this later.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Almost every single woman I know has at least one gay friend. And I can tell you that this is a huge issue for most of those women. This really is an issue that kills us and it kills us for nothing -- nothing can be won by opposing this... all you can do is delay it in certain states for a few years.

The party really does need to change, but I doubt the party powers that be will accept that. Still, I'm thinking that it's really likely the Supreme Court will settle the issue within the next year or two and will require gay marriage. The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that the Court will say that if you're going to grant marriage at all, then it needs to made available to gays too.

On polygamy, as I say above, there are significant difference that will keep the polygamists (or other groups) from winning in court. That means they need to win the public over and the problem with that is that I don't see the same equitable argument. Gays have won this because they claim they just want equal rights. That kind of argument sells pretty well in America. Polygamists would actually be seeking to redefine marriage as a broader institution. That makes it a lot harder to win the public.

As an aside, based on the numbers so far, I suspect a lot fewer of your friends will get married than you think!

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, I suspect polygamy will not fly with the public. The attempts I've seen so far to "normalize" it haven't really taken off, and it is too closely connected to the issues you raise -- benefits fraud and child sex.

Also, the problem with polygamy will be economic. If we decided to grant that, then how would you handle companies suddenly being flooded with 3-4 husbands/wives on benefits plans? It opens the door to too much unexpected economic change.

So I think it's unlikely it will pass.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, LOL! Nice!

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, I've noticed this:

That's because conservative view politics as a zero-sum game. You either win a demographic or you lose it.

and I just don't understand it. We've never won 100% of anybody... nobody has. So opposing change on the basis we can't win 100% strikes me as just a pretext. The reality is you need to do the cost benefit thing and decide who you will lose and who you will gain.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Yes.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, The problem with biological arguments it that we have brains that are capable of controlling our impulses and our laws aren't premised on biology, they are premised on philosophical ideals and societal need. So once you start making a biological argument, you pretty much lose everyone.

El Gordo said...

I´m neither shocked nor surprised. I knew this was coming, Andrew. Come on, you prepared the ground for months :-)

Here´s my meandering take:

Being gay is not a choice, it is something that happens to a small minority of people. It was so throughout history, everywhere. Homosexuality is, in other words, a fact of life. It´s ok to find it icky, by the way. Many normal things are icky, like knee surgery.

I understand the principled social-conservative argument against gay marriage. I understand why it is very different from hating on gays. Unfortunately, every time one tries to make the argument someone shows up and starts yelling how gays are an abomination. With allies like these we don´t need enemies.

Nevertheless, deep in my heart I know that it is dangerous to redefine an institution so central to human existence as marriage. There is a good reason why the most humane societies hold it sacred. However, the institution is already on the ropes, at least in certain strata of the population, and I can´t say that gay marriage is to blame or likely to make it worse. I don´t think a society can prosper without family values but gay marriage is at worst a symptom of the decline, not the cause. At best it doesn´t matter at all.

By the way, it is not true that you can´t legislate morality. We do it all the time. The left does it perhaps more than the right. But that is neither here nor there. Andrew is objectively right about the cost/benefit calculation and the inevitability of gay marriage. All things considered, I see no point in making a stand against gay marriage.

We have bigger problems (they were caused by people who vote on single issues like gay marriage).

It is true that the hard left will not love us more, well, screw them - they are not our target group. The hatefilled commies who troll websites are an even smaller minority than gays. They should never influence us in one way or the other. The fat dumb middle is what we are after. And they have no memory.

You must be prepared for one thing though: a challenge from Democrats running to the right of pro-gay Republicans in Red States. If you think that can´t happen, you haven´t been paying attention. The left has no enemies on the left, and they know their own. Their candidates can pander to the other side and not be punished.

So if you think the Religious Right has no place to go, don´t take anything for granted.Big government do-gooder Dems who make soothing noises about traditonal values and pretend to go to church ... I can see it. Can you see it too?

Anonymous said...

Andrew -

What about the pop culture excuse? "Your female friends wouldn't care if movie stars didn't tell 'em to care!" and so on. Basically, the idea that more people accept gay marriage because of the influence of pop culture and if it wasn't for pop culture, no one would be talking about this stuff.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, It doesn't really matter what the source is. Whether it's an idea implanted by Hollywood or politicians or priests, the fact is the idea is there and it's taken root in the culture... it IS the culture now.

In fact, if anything, that argument suggests that conservatives better stop dismissing places like Hollywood and get back into the game or they will find all their values destroyed by Hollywood.

That said, however, I don't believe the argument. You can't make people believe things they don't already accept. All you can do is get them to think about their own views. And in this case, million of young people know gay people, know they aren't monsters, know that letting them marry won't cause anything negative, and don't like being told otherwise by people with a political agenda.

As for no one talking about this stuff, Hollywood is late to the party. The people who started making a big deal about this stuff were gay activists and the Religious Right who began in the 1990s by trying to pass laws against gays and who then moved on to fighting gay marriage. Hollywood didn't jump on this bandwagon until it's direction was totally clear.

Anonymous said...

Hmm... I'll save the Hollywood can of worms for another time, but I believe some hardcore socons use the phrase "defining deviancy down."

I'm on your side here - I'm just trying to think of all the possible arguments!

(P.S. There are a couple new and interesting comments in the Sunday debate thread that need responses at your leisure.) :-)

Kit said...


Which is why monogamy is important. Its about incentives. Polygamy removes a major incentive for people to control those impulses.

AndrewPrice said...

El Gordo, I will admit waiting on this article until I got a couple others completed so that this didn't just come from nowhere. :)

I agree with you across the board. This is a fact of life. It has always been there and probably always be -- 3% seems to be the consistent number across populations. And to try to dismiss this a choice isn't going to work.

I also agree that marriage serves a particular purpose, but I don't think allowing gays to marry interferes with that purpose. And in this day and age, we don't really need the distraction of fighting this issue when we should be focusing on the other negative effects of non-marriage.

As for legislating morality, you can try it -- and the left certainly does -- but it never works. It's like the French trying to legislate against English in their language. They can pass the laws and they can force people to do it when they are being watched, but they can't stop the inevitable and people tend to resent the attempt. That's the real lesson -- trying to impose morality by fiat results in increase immorality and a destruction of the imposer because people rebel.

On the Democrats and the Religious Right, you are sadly correct. I have long noticed that the Religious Right is actually the displaced Religious Left and they would be much happier in the Democratic party if the Democrats hadn't adopted the atheists. I suspect, however, that abortion and the Democratic embrace of atheism and Muslims will keep them from actually switching sides. The Democrats may be able to win a few seats in the South, but not enough to make a difference.

Finally, I agree 100% that the issue is not winning over the left -- we will never get them. The issue is winning the middle. The issue is getting a majority so that we no longer need to feat another Obamacare or LBJ. That's the real goal.

Kit said...

"And in this day and age, we don't really need the distraction of fighting this issue when we should be focusing on the other negative effects of non-marriage."


AndrewPrice said...

Scott, The problem I have with that view of Hollywood is that it assumes that the public has certain views which I've seen no evidence that the public actually shares.

In the so-con worldview, "average" people want to live in the Leave It To Beaver world, but that's just not true. You've seen these people at BH in fact, as they criticize basically anything on television or film and they brag about how they never watch any of that trash. They really do think the "silent majority" is with them. But the public's behavior never bears that out on any issue -- not in polls, not in elections, not in ratings, no in where the public spends its money. Thus, even if we eliminated Hollywood, we would be in the same place today because our culture is the culture the public wants, it is not imposed from above.

Secondly, I've seen no evidence that Hollywood has ever had the power to impose views the public doesn't want. It can only ask people to reconsider what they believe. IF people agree with the argument Hollywood makes, then they change their minds. If not, then the idea dies and Hollywood moves on. At the edges, perhaps Hollywood can distort a bit, but it can't really change minds. Indeed, throughout my life, I've seen Hollywood try to get the public to believe hundreds of things and it's never worked unless the public was already trending in that direction.

Ultimately, the idea you are talking about is a delusion. It is a defense mechanism which lets these people feel like they are right, they are speaking truth, and the only reason the public isn't buying it is because the public has been brainwashed. This comforts them. BUT there is no evidence of brainwashing and there is no evidence the public ever believed what these people wished they did believe. To the contrary, the evidence suggest the opposite. It suggests that the public is much more a fan of the Sex Pistols and porn than it is of the Bible. And if the brainwashing worked, then tell me why after 60 years of liberal education, a liberal media, and liberal Hollywood, we aren't all liberals?

It's a fantasy... an excuse.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, Polygamy opens a lot of bad doors. It lessens the bond between partners and between parents and children, which is what we are trying to achieve through marriage. It also opens all kinds of problems with regard to the issue of benefits, economics, and also privacy. It is inconsistent with our society. So I don't see it ever gaining traction.

It also is associated with cults, and that means it will never sell with the public.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, I'm glad you agree. :)

Individualist said...

I guess I am not against gay marraige but I am for a distinction being made betweeen a Gay Marriage and a Heterosexual marriage. That distinction being how children are handled.

In a traditional marriage a child is the product of a man and a woman who bond together to raise the child. The child gets a benefit from being raised by the two people he or she is most closely related to genetically. When there is a divorce or other event there is an expectation of where the child should go, who has the right to take care of him or her etc.

Gay marriage is different. I know people say but gay people won't have children but I dated a woman whose father was gay. The meme that gay men will get married to a woman to have a family life I don't think will end by allowing gay marriage. Homosexuality means a proclivity to be only with the same sex. That is not the same thing as being unable to mate with the opposite sex.

When Gay people have children how will the rights of the people involved by determined. Does the biological parent outside the Gay Marriage have more/less or no rights. IF there is a divorce does the non biological spouse retain rights and at what level. If the biological parent passes does the gay partner have more or less rights than that individuals' parents.

The whole problem with the equating of Gay marriage and traditional marriage as equal is that equal does not mean same. I don't hear anyone who talks of this explaining the details of issues such as this. I know people disagree with me that there is no need for the court to make a distinction based on gender but I cannot see how there will not be issues brought forward.

It is one thing to say we will allow it but it is quite another to blindly assume that there is not a difference and that there will be no need to qualify what these differences are. I guess the courts will end up deciding that when a case comes to fore and set precendent but I think it might be better to define it up front.

I don't really know.

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