Those who read my posts on gay marriage can expect me to repeat what has become a constant refrain, that all too many advocates of gay marriage would rather trash opponents of state-recognition of same-sex unions than defend the social change they promote.
Whenever I discover a solid argument in favor of gay marriage, I do try to highlight it. More often than not it is Jonathan Rauch who has made that argument. Seemingly alone among gay marriage advocates, he has made the social case for gay marriage, primarily in the chapter, “What is Marriage For” in his book Gay Marriage: Why It Is Good for Gays, Good for Straights, and Good for America.
In introducing and recommending Jonathan’s latest essay on gay marriage, Commentary‘s Pete Wehner shares my sentiments about the quality of his arguments:
Unlike other advocates of same-sex marriage, who routinely brand those with whom they disagree as bigots and worse, Rauch presents his arguments in a careful, measured, and analytically rigorous way.
Indeed, what is most impressive to me is that Rauch presents something close to a model of what public discourse should be. For example, according to Rauch, â€œfor Burkean conservatives same-sex marriage is a particular conundrum because it presents so many competing narratives and so many uncertainties. Rauch then lays out two competing narratives — what he calls the ‘Jonathan Rauch narrative’ and the ‘Maggie Gallagher narrative.’ He does a splendid job of encapsulating both views in a single paragraph each; and having done so, he asks, ‘Confronted with these two starkly opposed narratives, what’s a Burkean to do?” He proceeds to offer his views in the remainder of the essay.
Wehner gets at one thing which distinguishes Jonathan from all too many advocates of gay marriage; he takes the time to understand the arguments he intends to refute. He doesn’t reject them out of hand or insult those who advance them.
I’m delighted to find yet another conservative blogger/pundit show respect for Jonathan’s ideas on gay marriage and his manner of expressing them. This indicates that smart conservatives take gay marriage more seriously when its advocates make a rational case for their cause.
As you ponder the quality of Jonathan’s arguments and the respect he has gained for the way he makes them, wonder with me why other advocates of the social change Jonathan seeks remain unwilling to recognize how significant a change it is. Consider how they could better serve that cause by making more rational arguments.
Among gay marriage advocates, Jonathan stands out because he carefully makes the case why state recognition of same-sex marriage is a good thing. If others follow suit, they may find the same respect that he enjoys not just in conservative intellectual circles, but also among conservative voters.