Why Do Conservatives Fear Gay Marriage?

I’m just asking…
Opinion • Views: 32,031

Since President Obama’s recent endorsement of gay marriage, and the ensuing backlash from the Right, a question has been bugging me…

Just why do many people - particularly religious conservatives - fear gay marriage, especially when they seem willing to at least tolerate the legality of gay behavior? I realize that looking for reasons in a case like this is often bound to produce only frustration, but it might be interesting to catalog at least the sorts of explanations those who fear same-sex marriage usually set forth.

A common explanation cites the biblical condemnation of gay behavior as an “abomination”. A problem with this explanation is that, presumably, gay people in our society will engage in gay sex whether they are married or not; there is no reason to think that preventing them from marrying results in less gay sex, and at least some reason to think that it actually results in more gay sex, and hence in more “abomination”. Surely adopting policies that keep gay sex more promiscuous than it might otherwise be isn’t a very effective way of pleasing God!

There are, of course, many other arguments against gay marriage, including an obvious instance of the slippery slope fallacy and various economic concerns, all of which are easy to debunk, as this article by Tom Head rather effortlessly demonstrates: “10 Really Bad Arguments Against Same-Sex Marriage…”.

As you can see from that article, theological arguments against same-sex marriage apparently all have countervailing theological arguments, and the empirical arguments - alleging deleterious effects on society, children, or straight marriage - have no evidential support that stands up to even the most cursory scrutiny. This fact, of course, provided the basis of Judge Vaughn R. Walker’s famous decision that California’s Proposition 8 violated the Equal Protection clause. If you’ve never read Judge Walker’s decision, you can read it here. Here’s the conclusion, after 135 pages of careful legal reasoning-

Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples. Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.

Now, putting aside the technical legal arguments, perhaps the most common argument against legally recognizing same-sex unions is that “normalizing” such unions would result in their becoming more common, and that this would devalue or diminish heterosexual marriage. Such arguments often use analogical reasoning, and the sorts of analogies that come to mind in this context might include devaluation of the dollar (via inflation) by printing more dollars, or diminishing the quality of a wine by diluting it with water. Such analogies are obviously weak: the value of a particular marriage has nothing to do with the overall number of marriages, and producing more wine, even a new category of wine, does not dilute other bottles of wine. This is true even if those new bottles of wine are diluted relative to the others (as conservatives argue gay marriages are less valuable than straight marriages). Of course, if the new category of wine were diluted, then the average quality of all of the wine in the world would be diminished. But surely the value of marriage, in the only sense that has practical consequences, depends on the value of each marriage, and on the additive effects of those marriages on society - not on any merely theoretical average number. So… just how could expanding the category of marriage to include a new “vintage” devalue the other, pre-existing vintage? Well, only if the new vintage were perceived to be better

Could this be the correct explanation of the fear? Could it be that conservatives (subconsciously?) believe that if same-sex marriage were to become more accepted and hence more common, heterosexuals would actually begin converting their sexual orientation? Could conservatives really (subconsciously?) believe that gay sex is so much better than straight sex, or that switching one’s sexual preference is, at least for most people, as easy as switching brands? It sounds silly, but you do often hear conservatives fantasizing about gay folks - especially teachers - “recruiting” children who would otherwise be straight, as if changing or determining someone’s sexual orientation - even a child’s - were as easy as giving them the right sales pitch!

I’m sure that there are plenty considerations I’ve missed, including some that might buck up the conservative case against gay marriage. It is true, for instance, that legally recognizing gay marriage would be a social experiment whose long term consequences are not entirely predictable. What is disappointing is that in the very next breath, conservatives are likely to deny the much more predictable and clearly dire consequences of that other “social experiment” in which we’ve been engaged for a hundred years: dumping millions of tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Since changing marriage law would be a lot easier than repairing the atmosphere, I’d much rather experiment with same-sex marriage than with global warming.

Anyway, I’m just asking the question; I haven’t settled on any answer. So if you feel like venturing an opinion, I’d love to hear it. The comments are open.

More: blogherenow.net

Jump to top

Create a PageThis is the LGF Pages posting bookmarklet. To use it, drag this button to your browser's bookmark bar, and title it 'LGF Pages' (or whatever you like). Then browse to a site you want to post, select some text on the page to use for a quote, click the bookmarklet, and the Pages posting window will appear with the title, text, and any embedded video or audio files already filled in, ready to go.
Or... you can just click this button to open the Pages posting window right away.
Last updated: 2016-01-01 10:29 am PST
LGF User's Guide RSS Feeds Tweet

Help support Little Green Footballs!

Subscribe now for ad-free access!Register and sign in to a free LGF account before subscribing, and your ad-free access will be automatically enabled.

Recent PagesClick to refresh
Chez Pazienza: Saying Goodbye to a Lovable Irascible Voice Miss you, @chezpazienza ... love and light to all of your loved ones. pic.twitter.com/JXrHZX4C7X — Allen Robert (@AllenOnHisWay) February 26, 2017 Bob Cesca announced on Twitter that his podcast partner in crime has died. My dear friend and podcast ...
teleskiguy
1 hour, 57 minutes ago
Views: 96 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 9 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Jordan Peele’s ‘Get Out’ Scares Way to No. 1 at Box Office During his Sundance post-screening Q&A, Peele added that Get Out “was a missing piece in the genre. One of my favorite movies is the Stepford Wives and the way it dealt with social issues in regards to gender. I ...
Tarkloon
7 hours, 1 minute ago
Views: 90 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Democratic Victory in Delaware Special ElectionMore of this, please: In the most expensive special election in Delaware history ― a contest to decide which party controls the state Senate ― Democrat Stephanie Hansen was on track to annihilate her Republican rival on the back of ...
jhncsy
7 hours, 10 minutes ago
Views: 161 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Widow of Olathe Shooting Victim: ‘I Need an Answer’ on How U.S. Stops Hate Crimes Two days after her husband was shot to death in an Olathe bar, the widow of Srinivas Kuchibhotla on Friday publicly sought answers to what she perceived was a spread in American hate crimes. “I have a question in ...
Tarkloon
8 hours, 10 minutes ago
Views: 131 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 2 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Of Monsters & Women - Guernica As the magnifying glass is passed around, body parts take on exaggerated significance. The problem, most (women and men) around the table agree, lies somewhere between her heart and her ring finger. More: Of Monsters & Women – Guernica ...
Birth Control Works
9 hours, 21 minutes ago
Views: 121 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
John Mayer - Emoji of a Wave (Audio)John Mayer's song "Emoji of a Wave" off 'The Search for Everything - Wave Two' is available now: smarturl.it iTunes: smarturl.itSpotify: smarturl.itApple Music: smarturl.itAmazon Music: smarturl.itGoogle Play: smarturl.it Follow John Mayerjohnmayer.comfacebook.com@johnmayerinstagram.comjhnmyr.tumblr.comsnapchat.com
Tarkloon
12 hours, 2 minutes ago
Views: 90 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Ayreon - Everybody Dies (Official Lyric Video) the Source 2017 The latest from Dutch Progressive Rocker Arjen Anthony Lucassen. Official lyric video for 'Everybody Dies' from the new Ayreon album 'The Source' which is scheduled for release on April 28. You can pre-order THE SOURCE here: arjenlucassen.com We pulled ...
Tarkloon
12 hours, 27 minutes ago
Views: 99 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
George Harrison - What Is LifeMusic video by George Harrison performing What Is Life. (C) 2002 G.H. Estate Ltd, under exclusive licence to Calderstone Productions Limited, a division of Universal Music Group vevo.ly
Tarkloon
12 hours, 33 minutes ago
Views: 148 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Tom Perez Elected as First Latino Leader of Democratic Party ATLANTA — Former Labor Secretary Tom Perez was elected as the first Latino chair of the Democratic National Committee on Saturday, defeating Rep. Keith Ellison at a contentious party meeting in Atlanta. “With hard work and a hell of ...
Tarkloon
13 hours, 5 minutes ago
Views: 291 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
2013 SALON: Even Nixon Knew That Birth Control Reduces Spending For more than 40 years, Title X has provided family planning and reproductive health services to millions of American women. More recently, conservative lawmakers have targeted Title X as part of their obsession with shrinking the social safety net ...
Birth Control Works
1 day, 19 hours ago
Views: 362 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0