Precinct 333

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Why Voters Rejected Gay Marriage

Every Sunday, I rush to the keyboard to get my weekly dose of Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist Vin Suprynowicz. And most weeks I am not disappointed by this iconoclastic libertarian.

Vin offers a different take on the adoption of gay marriage bans by 11 states this week (and 13 this year). I think he may have a good point, one which has been missed by the commentators I've read.
Look at the huge margins of victory for the "marriage is between one man and one woman" ballot measures adopted in 11 states Tuesday. Voters have shown no recent enthusiasm for jailing anyone for practicing homosexuality, thank goodness. The general attitude is laissez faire -- leave them alone as long as they don't frighten the horses. So what are these "gay marriage" votes really all about?

It's not at all far-fetched for parents to worry the next step could be federal "civil rights" lawsuits complaining the number of openly gay schoolteachers and chaperones in their local school doesn't meet "federal guidelines."

Conservatives aren't saying gay marriage is the start of the socialists' campaign to destroy the wholesome social institution of marriage; they seem to see it as something more closely approaching the last straw.

As I've been discussing with Jason over at Positive Liberty, I'm open to the whole concept of civil unions -- provided they are adopted legislatively rather than judicially -- to protect certain legitimate interests of homosexuals in relationships. I know very few (if any) folks who want to prevent someone from passing property to their same-sex partner or deny that partner the right to be present in a hospital room during a partner's serious illness (or even direct the medical care of that partner). Where we get hung up is calling the status of such partners "marriage" (we object to the redefinition), anti-discrimination laws (which have the effect of discriminating against many religious believers) and mandatory spousal benefits for partners (for the same reason). There are not many Rev. Fred Phelps-types out there, and most conservatives (even Christian conservatives) I know are more grouped around the libertarian paradigm. We are more than willing to co-exist in peace with homosexuals if they are willing to co-exist in peace with us -- but we will fight back when we believe we are under attack. To that end, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision on gay marriage and Mayor Newsom's antics in San Francisco have been the 9/11 of a culture war in our society, and the amendments have been our response.


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