Monday, October 17, 2011

The Conservative Who Changed His Mind

Conservative columnist David Frum, by his own admission, was a "strong opponent of same-sex marrriage," yet when New York adopted marriage equality he found himself "strangely untroubled."

Frum says the reasons was "that the case against same-sex marriage has been tested against reality,. The case has not passed its test."

One of the bizarre thing about the claims by anti-gay religious fanatics like Jennifer Morse and Maggie Gallagher is that they simply can't really produce any evidence as to what harm is done by allowing loving couples to marry. They make vague, generalized statements which never get particularly precise. They seem to think that their fear is sufficient cause to deny others legal equality. It is a conservative "precautionary principle" and one that I feel is an invalid as the one presented by radical environmentalists. That one can imagine bad things possibly happening is not reason for precaution given that humans imagine all sorts of non-existent monsters. The history of species is full of such campaigns against non-existent creatures and threats. H.L. Mencken went to far as to say that the very nature of politics in a democracy is the pursuit of such imaginary monsters.

There are all sorts of issues regarding marriage that upsets the religiously-minded but what is missing is any link between gay marriage and these issues. Even where their are valid concerns, these conservatives tend to grossly exaggerate them or to ignore fairly clear cut reasons for the changes. Frum notes that what problems do exist simply are not possible "to connect [them] to same-sex marriage. As he put it, a 15-year-old girl becoming more likely to get pregnant in Van Nuys just doesn't seem connected to the fact that "two men in Des Moines, Iowa can marry." He says that perhaps there are some people who can prove such a connection, but he can't.

The bigots were given their chance in the Prop 8 trial and they were unable to point to any concrete harms. The attorneys for Prop 8 even admitted as such. Of course, the likes of Gallagher and Morse are unlikely to make such admissions. Their case was never built on evidence, but on fanciful religious presuppositions that they dare not announce in public. Since they fear that appealing to their own religious fantasies will lose the battle for them, they simply concoct unspecified dangers that they never will elucidate, or substantiate.

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