Response to commentators — Day 3:

I think I’ve written more than enough today for everybody. Again, readers are responding to each other quite a bit, relieving me of that duty. Just three quick replies to some commentary.

First, I want to highlight what one commentator said today that I think sums up what I’ve called the malign neglect of many conservatives toward gay families. The commentator basically said, I’m seriously paraphrasing here, that it doesn’t matter whether marriage would be any good for gay families because there are so few gay families. They’re trivial. They don’t matter. This is what they have been told by our society almost since they were born and that is what they are being told now through the denial of marriage. I spent two days on this blog pointing to the real ways in which millions of adults and children living in the U.S. will have their families made stronger. Those things may not matter to the tens of millions of people in this land who can get married, divorce, get married again, and divorce again, at will. But it matters a great deal to gay families. And to their children. And to their families and friends. And to anyone who thinks these are human beings whose needs really do count for something in the world.

I’m all in favor of giving careful consideration to the claimed harm to opposite-sex marriages that might come from uniting these gay families in marriage. We must do that. But really, to consider only these claimed problems, without even pausing for a moment to reflect on the good that might come of marriage for gay families, is a form of single-entry book-keeping. And it is a cruel form of single-entry book-keeping at that. I think Americans are better than that.

Second, let me emphasize again that I am not making a case against polygamy. I could be wrong about all, some, or none of the claims I made about polygamous marriage. It doesn’t much matter. My only real point is to note that the questions raised by polygamy are distinct from the questions raised by gay marriage. They are independent issues. Gay marriage will not take us any further down the slope toward polygamy. And no argument I’ve yet heard tells me clearly why it would.

Third, some commentators have suggested that I’ve been attacking “strawman” arguments (definitions, contagious promiscuity, slippery slopes). Others believe these arguments are devastating against gay marriage, central to the matter. All I can say is that if these are strawman arguments, they are cluttering up just about every field. They are ubiquitous in the arguments against gay marriage.

Why do these posts always end up being longer than I plan them to be?

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