Sometimes when, on this blog, I fault the leading advocates of gay marriage for failing to make a case for the social change they’re trying to effect, a critic will wonder if I think same-sex couples seeking state recognition of their unions are similarly clueless about the meaning of their relationships.
And yet, more often than not, it is those very couples who understand what the more vocal proponents of state recognition of same-sex unions neglect or refuse to point out.Â Indeed, it is largely because of such couples that I voted against Proposition 8 even as I couldn’t stand the mean-spirited rhetoric of many opponents of the proposition.
To be sure, there are notable exceptions to this practice, men and women like Jonathan Rauch who are able to articulate what marriage is for.
But, I’ve said this before.
So, let me wonder yet again at the refusal of all too many advocates of gay marriage to articulate the social benefits of extending the privilege of state recognition of marriage to same-sex couples, explaining why (to borrow from the subtitle to Jonathan’s book, gay marriage is “Good for Gays, Good for Straights, and Good for America.“Â I do believe that refusal is linked to their preference for turning to appointed judges rather than elected legislators (or those who elect them) to effect the change they seek.
In courts, they only need make a legal argument and not a social one.Â Why then do they wish to reduce marriage to a “civil rights’ issue and downplay its social aspects?
At the very time they downplay these aspects, many of those who seek the privileges the state offers by recognizing their unions understand them very well.Â And maybe, just maybe if the leading advocates of gay marriage could articulate in the public square what these individuals understand in their private lives, they might not need to push their agenda through the courts, but would find a more receptive audience among those elected to make our laws.