One reason I belive modern American conservatism, if true to its basic tenets, is better for gay people, is that it trusts the private sector to address social concerns and social change. It doesn’t ask that the government mandate that individuals adopt certain precepts to guide their lives or follow certain codes of conduct. It trusts us to do that on our own and to turn to institutions of our own choosing, whether religious or secular, to help us make important personal decisions.
We don’t believe the state should place particular burdens on us, or grant us special favors. It shouldn’t restrict our freedom nor that of those who don’t want to associate with us. After all, if they’re free not to associate with us, that means we’re free not to associate with them.
When the state gets out of the way, private institutions can more readily adapt to meet social changes, as have the growing number of businesses which have adopted non-discrimation policies and which offer benefits to same-sex domestic partners of their employees.
Liberals, however, believe that social change comes from the state. And while those advocating state action on our behalf may do so out of the most noble of motives, once the state starts acting on our behalf, when does it stop? How far must the state go to reach the oft-stated goal of gay rights’ activists–the achievement of “full equality” (whatever that means).
In the United Kingdom, we see the full folly of having the state promote our interests when local activists complained that the city council in Canterbury (about which many a tale has been told) didn’t want a “want a thriving LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community in the city.” Instead of dismissing the complaint as the efforts of local busybodies with nothing better to do than whine about little their government was doing for them, a government watchdog investigated and, lo and behold, after a two-month (two months!) investigation, found that Canterbury was sufficiently gay:
The Local Government Ombudsman – who asked for the city’s council to provide evidence of how it supported the gay community – said it was satisfied the pink pound was being catered for.
We conservatives believe it’s not the government’s business to determine such things, whether or not a locality is sufficiently gay. Why should a town council be supporting the gay community? Shouldn’t it then also support the Catholic community, the dissenting community, the Mormon community? Why not the Anabaptists? (more…)