April 22, 2009

Required reading

Jonathan Rauch types a thoughtful essay on the subject of gay marriage. Unlike most proponents, he doesn't engage in strident attacks on his opponents, but rather seeks to understand them while simultaneously presenting his rebuttal. Excerpt:

Meanwhile, the national consensus has moved in the direction of civil unions for gay couples. Civil unions confer all or most of the legal incidents of marriage, but they withhold the word “marriage” and are treated as a formally distinct status. Gay opinion regards them as second-class citizenship, but they are a lot better than nothing, and they have the advantage of conferring most of the state-level protections and prerogatives of marriage with little or none of the controversy. ... But the quintessence of Burkeanism is that we do not live in an ideal world, and we should be thankful that we do not. On the whole, the path the country is taking is a grand vindication of the virtue of muddling through. Localizing gay marriage has taken the edge of hysteria off the issue and bought the country the time it needs to deliberate. Experimentation offers the opportunity to learn from experience, which is the only way social learning happens. Civil unions provide a way to give gay couples at least some of what they need and could easily be converted into marriages if society evolves in that direction. When all is said and done, the country adapts to a changing reality without rushing ahead of it.

Kudos to Gay Patriot for the link.

Posted by Physics Geek at April 22, 2009 07:26 AM | TrackBack StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble It!

Certainly better thought out and presented than most rebuttals on the subject, which tend to start out at extreme and go downhill from there.

Posted by: diamond dave at April 23, 2009 10:56 AM

I was impressed. I don't agree with his conclusion, but I can't say that he hasn't tried to understand the opposition in a respectful manner.

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