I’ve long observed that there is a disconnect between how gay marriage advocates talk about the institution they promote and how my gay friends (particularly lesbians) live said relationships.
The advocates talk about marriage as a “right” to which we are entitled. It’s all about love and equality, they say. They tend to eschew terms like monogamy and responsibility and seem clueless about the history of the institution.
Meanwhile, many gay couples who have sought state recognition of their marriages (in states which grant them that privilege) talk about their relationships in terms nearly identical to their straight peers who elect such state recognition. They’re aware of about the challenges of relationships, the importance of monogamy as well as the balancing necessary for two individuals (even loving individuals) to live together in harmony.
In short, there seems to be a disconnect between gay marriage as practiced and as promoted, between those in relationships and those who deem themselves spokesman for our “community.” In his latest column which I found via Instapundit, Jonah Goldberg sort of gets at that disconnect, finding that “the gay left” who once “wanted to smash the bourgeois prisons of monogamy” has now come to embrace marriage.
Perhaps their problem difficulty in talking about the meaning of marriage comes from their roots in a cultural movement at odds with the values undergirding that institution.
But imagine you hate the institution of marriage and then watch “Modern Family’s” hardworking bourgeois gay couple through those eyes. What’s being subverted? Traditional marriage, or some bohemian identity politics fantasy of homosexuality?
By the way, according to a recent study, “Modern Family” is the No. 1 sitcom among Republicans (and the third show overall behind Glenn Beck and “The Amazing Race”) but not even in the top 15 among Democrats, who prefer darker shows like Showtime‘s “Dexter,” about a serial killer trying to balance work and family between murders.
So, Republicans enjoy a sitcom which includes a gay couple raising a child?!?! Hmm. . . . But, I thought they hated gay people.
Goldberg goes on to offer an important insight about the gay marriage debate.
I do not think that the arguments against gay marriage are all grounded in bigotry, and I find some of the arguments persuasive. But I also find it cruel and absurd to tell gays that living the free-love lifestyle is abominable while at the same time telling them that their committed relationships are illegitimate too.
He’s right. Social conservatives do (occasionally) make some solid arguments against gay marriage; these arguments are not always rooted in animosity. But, he does miss something here. Opposition to gay marriage is not entirely absurd. Some social conservatives oppose state recognition of gay marriage because they hear the rhetoric of many gay marriage advocates without seeing the example of many gay couples.
And as I noted above there is a disconnect between that rhetoric and that example.
Perhaps, if the advocates talked more about the meaning of the institution and the reality of (many) gay relationships, they might find (some) social conservatives more willing to embrace state-recognized gay marriage — or at least civil unions.
But, I’ve said this before. On more than one occasion.