At NRO's The Corner, Maggie Gallagher notes that out-of-wedlock birth rates in the U.S. have resumed their long-term rise, after a period of flattening. And then she asks:
Is it mere coincidence that this resurgence in illegitimacy happened during the five years in which gay marriage has become (not thanks to me or my choice) the most prominent marriage issue in America — and the one marriage idea endorsed by the tastemakers to the young in particular?
On this view, not only does gay marriage contribute to heterosexual irresponsibility, but even advocating gay marriage sets it off. This is a lot to lay on a few gay couples in Massachusetts and a stack of unread law review articles. Jon Rauch responds that there's not even a correlation here. There are multiple other problems, starting with the arbitrariness and manipulability of the starting point (why choose five years ago?). And note this: this resurgence in illegitimacy happened during the five years in which gay marriage bans have become (not thanks to me or my choice) the most prominent marriage issue in America, and the one marriage idea emphasized by "pro-family" conservatives to Americans, helping tar it as an invidiously discriminatory institution.
But leave all that to one side. Here's my deal for Maggie: I'll admit that "gay marriage," or I should say more precisely its "prominence" among the trend-setting pointy-heads, contributed to more heterosexual irresponsibility, circa 2003-08. In exchange, when illegitimacy stabilizes or goes down, or when unmarried cohabitation falls off, or when deadbeat dads start paying their child support, or when the rate of second and third and fourth and umpteenth heterosexual marriages declines, or when the traffic at websites promoting adultery eases, she will insinuate that gay marriage contributed to these trends too. Deal?