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David E.

Firester, 19 November 2012, Word Count: 804

A Conservatives Case for Gay Marriage

On 6 November 2012, same-sex marriage had scored a modest legal victory. Nine states will now be legally recognizing such marriages. It appears that American attitudes toward gay marriage are beginning to shift, albeit slowly, toward legitimation. As the country appears to move in this direction, it would be wise for the GOP to get onboard. Otherwise, they run the risk of becoming irrelevant in the face of societal change. I argue that gay marriage is actually more in consonance with conservatism than conservatives are apt to fathom. It is time to accommodate this change in American values. Perhaps one of the defining principles of conservatism is that an effort is made to preserve traditional values. Typically, the institution of marriage is believed to be valid only between one man and one woman. Any modification of this institutional claim is said to have pernicious effects upon the fabric of American society. The logic is rooted in the idea that heterosexual marriage is the traditions foundation a nd any arrangement that tends to contradict it inherently erodes the edifice of civil society. I dont believe that such an argument rests on solid ground. I will now attempt to challenge this conservative theory by using conservative logic. My counterintuitive notion is simple. Legally, morally, and culturally homosexual marriage is equal to (and possibly superior) to heterosexual marriage. Legal. As any American knows, the pursuit of happiness is a central tenet of the countrys founding document, the Declaration of Independence. Generally, this is thought to mean that each person may decide what happiness means to them and proceed, unfettered, to further their aims. The only caveat is that one persons right may not trample upon that of anothers. Therefore, if one were inclined to seek a union with a fellow human it would be

David E. Firester, 19 November 2012, Word Count: 804

improper for another to intervene, as they are not a party to such a pursuit. Consequently, whether marital genders are the same or not, it cannot be a decision made by anyone other than the two people involved. In other words, your pursuit of happiness that doesnt impinge on mine is not my business, and vice versa. Moral. The divorce rate in the U.S. is arguably high. Add to this the number of folks who stay in a loveless marriage for practical reasons; children, joint property maintenance, family pressure, fear of ones spouse. We must not forget to consider the largely unquantifiable cheating population. Although the divorce rate has apparently leveled off, the marriage rate is said to be declining. One can therefore see the institutional degradation of marriage by heterosexual couples. So, what claim could be supported by facts that gay marriage undermines straight marriage? None really, since gay marriage has not been fully legalized its efficacy (or, conversely, its adverse impact) cannot be properly gauged. Not only is there no reason to assume that gay marriage is a threat to the institution of marriage itself, but having fought so hard for its legislative parity could lead one to assume that it would be more successful. It would be interesting to study gay marriage vs. gay divorce figures to determine the success/failure rate of the two in America. Gay marriage could turn out to be the stronger form of marriage! It appears that this supposition receives some statistical support from Denmark, where same-sex marriage (and divorce) has been legal since 1989. What this means is that the tradition of marriage, a principle that conservatives claim to uphold, is potentially enhanced by expanding the unions composition to incorporate same-sex couples. Cultural. This is the harder case to make. The reason is that it requires some introspection. We must ask ourselves why it is that we, as Americans, may feel threatened by

David E. Firester, 19 November 2012, Word Count: 804

same-sex couples. I have asked myself this question. My answer has come from the personal experience of having been in a long-term interracial relationship some time ago. I gather that some people felt squeamish about seeing what they deemed to be unattractive for them. Im going to be honest. When I see two men kiss, I feel the same way. However, that is my discomfort. The kissing couple is very comfortable. So, my uneasiness with the mutual attraction that others may feel is irrelevant. To be good Americans we owe it to our fellow citizens not to impede their pursuit of happiness as they see fit. This is especially true for my fellow conservative Americans. We have recently lost much ground on Election Day 2012. Let us endeavor not to lose electorally on cultural grounds by excluding those whose gender configuration does not fit neatly into our own sense of traditional values. After all, marriage is a social construct. Societies change. We must adapt along these lines in order to remain a relevant voice in domestic politics.