Why Do Conservatives Fear Gay Marriage?

I’m just asking…
Opinion • Views: 32,262

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.

Donate with
PayPal
Square Cash Shop at amazon
as an LGF Associate!
Recent PagesClick to refresh
Washington Will Now Alert Survivors When Domestic Abusers Try to Buy a Gun Washington just took a big step to protect survivors of domestic violence. According to The Trace, Washington will be the first state to enact a law that requires law enforcement to alert victims when their abusers attempt to buy ...
Birth Control Works
14 hours ago
Views: 199 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
‘Silent Coup’: Limbaugh Says ?!?! In an impassioned commentary, Rush Limbaugh said he believes the Washington establishment - both Democrats and Republicans - are involved in a "silent coup" against President Trump. Silent coup? Wrong and wrong. As silent as Rachael Maddow, Keith Olberman ...
Unshaken Defiance
16 hours, 51 minutes ago
Views: 217 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Trump Administration Ends Affordable Care Act Contracts in 18 Cities - Talking Points Memo CHICAGO (AP) — President Donald Trump’s administration has ended Affordable Care Act contracts that brought assistance into libraries, businesses and urban neighborhoods in 18 cities, meaning shoppers on the insurance exchanges will have fewer places to turn for help ...
Ace-o-aces
17 hours, 2 minutes ago
Views: 370 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 2
Tweets: 3 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 4
Comments: 0
: 4
Trump’s Biggest Success: Proving the Inadequacy of Federal Ethics Laws Welcome to the greatest jacking in modern history. Money, reputation, our very brand as a nation. My congratulations to the writer. In fact, if the hapless Trump administration has shown anything, it is that our current ethics laws are ...
Unshaken Defiance
17 hours, 53 minutes ago
Views: 240 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Immigration: Focus LocallyIn these days of Trump and the Republicans attacking everything decent about America, it's too easy to focus on the immediate threat. Trump's Muslim band is back, but everyone is paying attention to the Republicans trying to steal our healthcare. ...
jhncsy
1 day, 15 hours ago
Views: 215 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
‘Submit to Your Husbands’: Women Told to Endure Domestic Violence in the Name of God (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) The culprits were obvious: it was the menopause or the devil. Who else could be blamed, Peter screamed at his wife in nightly tirades, for her alleged insubordination, for her stupidity, her lack of sexual pliability, her refusal to ...
Birth Control Works
2 days, 15 hours ago
Views: 421 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
West Virginia Families, Just Learning About Health-Care Access, Fear It Will Be Taken Away - Rewire In Vienna, West Virginia—just north of Parkersburg, along the Ohio River separating the two states—the only Planned Parenthood health center in the state sits among a scattering of gray and tan buildings beside the main road. A few days ...
Birth Control Works
2 days, 16 hours ago
Views: 517 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Trump Election Commissioner Used Dubious Data to Allege an “Alien Invasion” - Mother Jones Election officials and experts say there’s plenty of reason to doubt those claims.But they could still provide a blueprint for Trump’s commission, which has so far hinted at tighter restrictions on voting in the name of cracking down on ...
Tarkloon
2 days, 22 hours ago
Views: 457 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Inside the Middle East’s First Rape & Domestic Violence Crisis Program For the last year and a half, there’s been a new sight in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Lodged into stacks of newspapers, stuck to mirrors in restaurant bathrooms, and pinned to grocery store notice boards are small, blue-and-white fliers ...
Birth Control Works
3 days, 19 hours ago
Views: 489 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
First Aid Kit - My Silver LiningFirst Aid Kit perform My Silver Lining at Glastonbury 2017
Tarkloon
4 days, 14 hours ago
Views: 427 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 2 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0