Comment from “MidGaGuy” at National Review:
As a gay man who is an adoptive father — can’t we all agree that children raised by caring loving parents are better off than those in unstable, broken systems or institutions. My three children were adopted from the foster care system but part of what opened my heart to adoption was spending time in Eastern European orphanages. No child should ever be subjected to that life. When my partner and I were training for adoption we met many couples who came from a conservative religious perspective, I hope we found some common ground during those 30 hours because a caring parent regardless of religious affiliation or sexual orientation beats instability or an institution hands down any day. This ought to be an issue that unites the right and the left.
The comment came as part of the discussion of a post by David French responding to suspicions of evangelicals’ supposed “orphan fever.” Relatedly, Ramesh Ponnuru at National Review has responded to my recent post on the adoption-unfriendly tone taken by certain social conservatives in denouncing gay parenthood, and I’ve added a brief addendum to my post indicating some of our areas of agreement or otherwise.
Writing at the American Conservative, Rod Dreher posits that public acceptance of gay marriage represents not just a social revolution but “a cosmological one,” meaning, as he sees it, “the gay-rights cause has succeeded precisely because the Christian cosmology has dissipated in the mind of the West.” He intones:
Christianity, as articulated by Paul, worked a cultural revolution, restraining and channeling male eros, elevating the status of both women and of the human body, and infusing marriage—and marital sexuality—with love. …
Rather, in the modern era, we have inverted the role of culture. Instead of teaching us what we must deprive ourselves of to be civilized, we have a society that tells us we find meaning and purpose in releasing ourselves from the old prohibitions. …
Gay marriage signifies the final triumph of the Sexual Revolution and the dethroning of Christianity because it denies the core concept of Christian anthropology. …
Still, if the faith does not recover, the historical autopsy will conclude that gay marriage was not a cause but a symptom, the sign that revealed the patient’s terminal condition.
It’s sad that Dreher doesn’t seem to know any of the hundreds of thousands of deeply believing Christians (or, for that matter, Jews or those of other faiths) who are gay and favor the right to wed not because they seek unrestrained sexual excess (that would be the queer radicals who reject marriage), but precisely because their spiritual belief leads them to favor marital sexuality infused with love.
Among the strongest communities of faith I’ve experienced have been gay religious congregations, and some of the weakest, most hypocritical and shallow expressions of spiritual understanding have been among those safely conventional religious followers who mistake the status quo for God’s eternal plan.
More. It’s good to see at least some Mormons discussing gay marriage, and some defending the idea that promoting marital fidelity among gay people is a far better idea that trying to force gay celibacy.
The Washington Post‘s Fred Hiatt writes that the gulf between blue America and red America has been deepening since Obama became president, and neither side is shamed by its hypocrisy. For instance:
One result is that purported adherence to states’ rights has become more situational than ever. Red-staters want to ignore Roe v. Wade while insisting that the most permissive state’s concealed-carry law be accepted across the country. Advocates of gay marriage find themselves simultaneously against the federal Defense of Marriage Act because it doesn’t recognize Massachusetts’s primacy in allowing same-sex marriage and against California’s ban on same-sex marriage because it violates the U.S. Constitution. …
Unfortunately, across a range of issues state diversity won’t work very well. A ban on assault weapons in Maryland is of limited use if you can buy a gun in Virginia. A married gay couple with children could risk custody if they move from Massachusetts to Mississippi. But with Americans living in two separate worlds, that may be the reality we face for some time to come.
Mix and match: At its best, federalism allows us to see what works (less onerous business regulation, less confiscatory taxation, school choice, public employee benefits on par with private-sector workers, marriage equality) and what doesn’t. But overcoming the backward-focused paradigm of a left/right divide that separates social and economic freedom into opposing camps remains the ongoing challenge of our time.
More. An optimistic note on gays and guns, from Instapundit Glenn Reynolds.
David Boaz blogs at Cato@Liberty:
Whatever the merits and popularity of the specific [gun control] measures that went down to defeat in the Senate on Wednesday, I think the Establishment fails to appreciate the depth of American support for the Second Amendment. NPR and other media have lately noted a growing libertarian trend in American politics. That’s not just about taxes, Obamacare, marijuana, and marriage equality. It also involves gun rights. …
If political scientists Herbert McClosky and John Zaller are right that “[t]he principle here is that every person is free to act as he pleases, so long as his exercise of freedom does not violate the equal rights of others,” then we can expect Americans to cling to their gun rights for a long time.
And then there’s this from the liberal New Republic:
Congressional consideration was also delayed by gun control proponents’ insistence on a ban on assault weapons. … Even if the law could be passed, it wouldn’t have made any dent in gun violence statistics because these guns are rarely used in crime. Focusing on assault weapons played right into the hands of the NRA, which has for years been saying that Obama wanted to ban guns. Gun control advocates ridiculed that idea—then proposed to ban the most popular rifle in America.”
Next up, attempts to ban pressure cookers.
Bruce Bawer’s latest look at the warped world of LGBT academia, in this case CUNY’s Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies (CLAGS). Read it and weep for what kids in college are being taught.
Washington Blade editor Kevin Naff finds more signs of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation’s decent into rank Democratic partisanship. He writes:
This misguided strategy of turning LGBT rights into a partisan issue and the LGBT movement into a wing of the Democratic Party is as much a mistake today as it was 20 years ago.
That’s what I’ve been saying.
James Kirchick has more to say about GLAAD’s decline into irrelevance.
Shifting gears a bit, today Britain is saying farewell to Margaret Thatcher, and here’s an interesting look at how the former prime minister—no friend of gay rights—expanded economic freedom and by doing so created the underpinning for increased social freedom. As well as a view of Thatcher as “gay icon.”
The left is again disgracing itself by celebrating her demise.
Via Salon, Paul Ryan to GOP: Don’t abandon abortion fight:
The two issues have long been linked, but it seems likely the two will cleave apart from each other in coming months as mainline Republicans moderate themselves on marriage but remain committed to the fight against abortion. That was the general consensus among activists we spoke to at CPAC, the annual gathering of conservatives in March, where many seemed ready to embrace marriage equality, but thought abortion was still a critical issue for the GOP. Even many pro-gay conservative activists, like GOProud founder Jimmy LaSalvia, are pro-life.
Progressives and party operatives will hoot, as usual, but there are a great many of us who fervently support marriage equality and are not pro-choice on abortion, or are at least equivocal (e.g., first-trimester vs. late-term, especially partial-birth murder of the kind defended by Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius). The hegemonic liberal media has long failed to report abortion horrors such as this, to its continuing and utter shame. More here.
At the Wall Street Journal, columnist Bret Stephens offers A Conservative Case for Gay Marriage (behind the subscription firewall, alas, as it should be widely read). Stephens writes:
As conservatives debate the subject of gay marriage, maybe they should pause to consider their view about the other kind of gay marriage. You know the one: He works mind-boggling hours and only comes home once his wife is sure to be asleep. He beams at the sight of an old college buddy. Two years into the marriage, she starts murmuring to her closest friend that he just isn’t very interested in her, that way. Five years later he starts acting out in odd ways when he drinks. And he drinks a lot. …
I have a crazy theory; see if you agree. It’s that gay people generally want to lead lives of conventional respectability. So much so, in fact, that many are prepared to suppress their sexual nature to lead such lives. The desire for respectability is commendable; the deception it involves is not. To avoid deception, you can try to change the person’s nature. Good luck with that. Or you can modify a social institution so that gay people can have what the rest of us take for granted: The chance to find love and respectability in the same person. …
[A photo of a gay couple at their wedding shows] a picture of happiness, respectability and pride. Does that look like the end of Western Civilization? Or does it look like the fulfillment of America’s basic promise, the pursuit of happiness, honest, unembarrassed, at nobody else’s expense? Don’t you prefer it to a picture of the other kind of gay marriage—you know, the one of the groom with the faraway gaze, the bride with that look of anxious foreboding?
More. Stephen Sondheim’s lyrics to Richard Rodger’s music, “We’re Gonna Be All Right.” Near the end, the battling pair shift from reflecting about themselves to remarking on troubled couples they know: “Sometimes she drinks in bed. Sometimes he’s homosexual. But why be vicious? They keep it out of sight. Good show, they’re gonna be all right.” Or not.
Furthermore. Similarly, from the Washington Post, My father’s gay marriage:
Gays have always been able to marry. But I fail to see how society is strengthened when they are forced by convention to marry someone whose body is unattractive to them, whose voice isn’t what they want to hear in the morning or whose touch may be as grating as sand in the bed.
But because there are many truths, there’s this rejoinder as well.
OK, still more. I didn’t really intend to “invisibilize” bisexuals and I do believe, to a large extent, in the Kinsey scale. So yes, bisexual men are going to be able to have marriages with women that can’t be characterized as “quiet desperation” even if they sometimes seek sexual relationships with other men. But for gay men (Kinsey 5+) married to women, it’s a different story.
Jon Rauch favors a federalist approach to both gay marriage and marijuana legalization:
That some states could try same-sex marriage without betting the whole country reduced the stakes and contained the conflict. States’ experiments with gay marriage educed valuable information about its real-world consequences, or lack thereof, allowing for a better-informed, more rational debate. …
State leadership on marijuana policy has all of the same advantages as on marriage. It contains conflict by reducing the stakes; educes knowledge about what happens if marijuana policy is changed; and allows incremental adjustment to social change. For the federal government, yielding some measure of control over marijuana policy to the states is not a threat; it is an opportunity to manage change and preserve options. Painting federal policy into a corner serves no one, not even drug warriors.
Mark Oppenheimer suggests that when you meet a social conservative willing to blast the late President Ronald Reagan vocally for his role in de-stigmatizing divorce, you will have met a truly consistent so-con, worthy of defending the state of family values circa 1950. But you hardly ever meet such a person:
Maybe same-sex marriage is, as they like to say, “the last straw” in this sexual revolution. But rights for the most marginalized people will always be the last straw in social revolutions. The marginal people will always get everything last. If you’re honest and ethical, you have to go after the elites who started the revolution, not the marginalized who later said, “Me too! Please, me too!” And you can’t just pay it lip service, like, “Oh, straight people are culpable, too, since they began divorcing at higher rates in the 1970s…”—you have to actually try to shame straight divorcés more than you are trying to shame gay people for wanting to marry, because the straights started it. If you aren’t horrified by Rush Limbaugh being married four times—if you didn’t see Ronald Reagan as a less fit leader because of his divorce—then you simply have to shut the hell up about gay people marrying. You can’t ethically go after the marginalized people who try to eat the fruits of a revolution. You have to go after the revolutionaries. …
If it were the goal of the traditionalists at First Things and National Review and The American Conservative to help us re-think the Reagan presidency on the grounds that he helped normalize divorce, and thus helped usher in all that is terrible about libertine USA ca. 2013, they could.