Maggie said a lot two weeks ago and I will not begin to respond to it all here. A big problem I have with her argument is that she never gets around to acknowledging how gay marriage might help gay families. I don’t think she hates gay families, I just don’t think she’s thought about them much. I’d be very curious to see what she has to say about my Monday and Tuesday postings. For her, gay marriage is, on one side of the ledger, all potential cost (to marriage, to society, to traditional families) and, on the other side of the ledger . . . nothing.
Another big problem I have with her argument is that she conceives gay marriage as simply an effort to satisfy adult needs, or as just another trophy gays want to carry around in the culture wars to show how inclusive and tolerant we’ve all become. I can understand why she has that impression; many gay-marriage advocates have talked about gay marriage in these rather loose and abstract terms. But I don’t think these views even begin to explain the deep yearning of gay families to be united in marriage. Their struggles are not abstract.
Maggie’s argument against gay marriage comes down to her answers to two important questions: What is marriage for? How will gay marriage undermine it?
1. What is marriage for?
Maggie’s answer to this question, as I understand it from her posts here two weeks ago, comes in this key quote (obviously her argument is much longer than this), followed by my response:
“Procreation . . . is the reason for marriage’s existence as a public (and yes legal) institution.”
I can imagine three different possible views of the role of procreation as the public purpose of marriage: (1) Procreation, […]