If gay marriage advocates are serious about securing state recognition of same-sex marriage, they need show respect for and take issue with serious arguments against their cause.Â The angry rants of all too many activists notwithstanding, many opponents of gay marriage ground their opposition not in bigotry but in their understanding of the meaning of the institution.
They see it, as it has been defined for millennia, a union of individuals of different genders.Â I know I’ve said this before, but it bears repetition: those pushing for change need understand that that’s what they’re doing — pushing for change.
And considering how so many of them warmed to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign with just that slogan, “Change,” they should welcome a campaign for change.Â They trying to change the type of relationships states privilege by calling them marriages.
Note the verb I use in that last sentence, “privilege” because that’s what states do when they call a particular kind of union, “marriage,”Â they privilege it.Â I’ve been saying that for years.
I find myself in good company.Â A reader alerted me to Thomas Sowell’s column last week where he finds the issue of state recognition of same-sex marriage as one off privileges, not “rights:”Â “The politically clever way to get special privileges is to call them ‘rights’– especially ‘equal rights.’”
So, let’s change the campaign for gay marriage by honestly acknowledging the goal of the advocacy:Â to include same-sex couples among the relationships states privilege.Â With that in mind, we need understand what Sowell does (and what all too many gay marriage activists choose to ignore):
Marriage has existed for centuries and, until recent times, it has always meant a union between a man and a woman. Over those centuries, a vast array of laws has grown up, all based on circumstances that arise in unions between a man and a woman.
Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said that law has not been based on logic but on experience. To apply a mountain of laws based specifically on experience with relations between a man and a woman to a different relationship where sex differences are not involved would be like applying the rules of baseball to football.
The argument that current marriage laws “discriminate” against homosexuals confuses discrimination against people with making distinctions among different kinds of behavior.
As I’ve said repeatedly on this blog, it’s time gay activists acknowledge reality and change their rhetoric and strategy accordingly.
The passage of Proposition 8 should serve as a wake-up call that these advocates need show respect for their adversaries.Â Given that marriage has always been defined by sexual difference, they need recognize that they are pushing for social change.Â Not just that.Â In asking for states to recognize this expanded definition of marriage, they are asking governments to confer privileged status upon our unions, not protect some long-extant right that Californians just voted to usurp.