As expected, the ruling in California allowing gay marriage has produced responses from the anti-gay marriage crowd. Unfortunately they consist of the same, tired, inconsistent, question-begging we've come to expect on this issue.
First comes Dinesh D'Souza, arguing, by mere assertion, that the government has a right to mandate who can marry, but not how one should raise one's children. Having dismissed the right to marry who one wants by fiat, he then attacks the ruling's basis, the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment:
"In issuing its ruling the California court appealed to the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The basic logic is that gays have a right to be treated like everyone else. But just like everyone else, gays do have the right to marry. They have the right to marry adult members of the opposite sex! What gay activists want is something else: the right to marry members of the same sex. This is not a right currently enjoyed by anyone. What these gay activists seek is not equal treatment but rather to change the definition of marriage. "
Interesting. Not so long ago, there were laws forbidding interracial marriage, and it does not take much imagination to see how someone supporting those laws might have argued exactly as D'Souza does:
"The basic logic is that these people in interracial relationships have a right to be treated like everyone else. But just like everyone else, they do have the right to marry. They have the right to marry adult members of the same race! What these activists want is something else: the right to marry members of a different race. This is not a right currently enjoyed by anyone. What these activists seek is not equal treatment but rather to change the definition of marriage. "
There is not a dime's difference between the two arguments. All that changes is who's ox is getting gored. D'Souza does get one thing right. This is about changing the legal definition of marriage. However, as the Loving vs Virginia case that ended the laws against interracial marriage illustrates, as well as the laws previous to that in human history that allowed polygamous marriages attest, we have a rich history of changing the rules as it suits our society. D'Souza's argument is either arbitrary, disallowing gay marriage simply because he doesn't care for it, or circular, amounting to arguing that gay marriage should be illegal because the law says it is wrong.
The rest of D'Souza's article is the usual "activist judges going against the will of the people" tripe we've come to expect from the civically challenged right, and is unworthy of further response.
Worse yet is Carol Platt Liebau. In rich irony, Ms. Liebau waxes melancholy about the lack of persuasive arguments from "traditionalists" opposed to gay marriage, while offering none of her own. She lays out a fairly cogent summary of how our society, through medical advances like birth control, and the associated social changes, separated the act of sex from both procreation and marriage. Yet she fails to understand how this negates all the arguments one would make for returning to the good old days. One cannot put the genie back in the bottle, and why would we? Sex is, after all, a wonderful experience. Why should we wish to put it back in the married-only box, insofar as it ever was there. Liebau has no answer.
It certainly isn't this pathetic effort from William Murchison, filled with brillant gems of reasoning like this:
"Marriage it ain't. That's between people of opposite but complementary attributes and physiologies. The merger, so to speak, of those attributes and physiologies is what we call marriage. Flap your arms and attempt to try an aerial passage across the Grand Canyon: You'll have as much luck at that as at same-sex marriage. Can't do it. Period."
In other words, you can't change the definition of marriage because it isn't defined that way. Nice circle Bill.
Liebau is right about one thing. Those opposed to gay marriage are going to have to do a lot better than this. The kinds of arguments proffered by her and D'Souza are the kind that only play to the choir, and that choir is getting smaller every day.