Why A Conservative Supports Gay Marriage In The SCOTUS Debate
With gay marriage being argued in front of the Supreme Court this week, conservatives find themselves at a crossroads, which has the potential to rock the left. By embracing same-sex marriage, conservatives can for once, define for themselves what it truly means to be a conservative instead of having the left do it for them.
Embracing gay marriage should not be a difficult position for conservatives to take if they truly are for limited government, stricter adherence to the Constitution, and the belief that all men are created equal. However, many conservatives are split on this issue and do not agree with this point of view.
There are several key arguments many conservatives have made against same-sex marriage. They include the religious argument, the libertarian argument, the federalist argument, and the slippery slope argument.
The Religious Argument
Those that fall back on religion don’t really have a leg to stand on for several reasons. First, marriage in America does not necessitate a church. No church is being forced to sanction gay marriage, or perform same-sex ceremonies. Should a church choose to sanction same-sex marriage, it will be of their own volition. The First Amendment protects a religion’s right to choose either path. If the government tries to force churches to perform these ceremonies against their will, count on conservatives to be the first to stand on the side of religion.
Those who quote from Leviticus 18:22, or anywhere else in the Bible, to justify their anti-gay marriage reasoning are projecting their beliefs on others, and being selective with their adherence to the Bible. For example, how many of the same people wear clothing of mixed fibers? If they are, they are in violation of Deuteronomy 22:11. Yet, we do not see the masses petitioning the government to outlaw suit makers. What about farmers who sow their field with mixed seed? This is a violation of Leviticus 19:19. Leviticus 19:27 mandates we do not shave. What about divorce? Shouldn’t this be banned too?
Asking the state to define marriage, or any act in accordance with a religious belief, is simply advocating for more government intrusion into our lives. This is completely at odds with the fundamental tenets of conservatism.
The Libertarian Argument
There are those that advocate for government getting out of the marriage business completely. This argument is a great one to have in academia. Unfortunately, the massive overhaul needed to extract marriage from our tax code and legal system, is far too heavy of a lift for our government to handle. Especially, with a legislature that hasn’t been able to pass a budget in over five years. It is a pipe dream at best, and should be left in the classroom.
Many along this line of thinking feel civil unions are an acceptable intermediary, which offers a separate but equal solution, as it takes religion out of the equation, while preserving all of the other privileges government bestows on married couples. This would be fine if this were easy to do – but it isn’t. The rights that heterosexual couples enjoy with a simple marriage license and/or certificate, require hundreds of papers and often lawyers for couples going the civil union route, and even then, it has been found that a simple change in phrasing can make all the difference in the world. To this end, civil unions are separate and not equal.
The Federalist Argument
Federalists will say this is a state issue, as it isn’t directly addressed in the Constitution. This would be correct if the federal tax code did not give preferences to married couples filing as such. Additionally, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), makes it so the federal government cannot recognize same-sex marriages, even if they are legal at the state level.
The Slippery Slope Argument
Some conservatives argue that if we expand the right of marriage to same-sex couples, we may have to extend the right to people who want to marry in groups of three or more. As long as all members are of sound mind, legal age, and consenting, then conservatives should have no issue with this. Those that want to take it to an absurd level by including animals or inanimate objects are wrong, in that the animal or object, does not have the ability to be a consenting party. Therefore, it would go against their Natural Rights, the Constitution, and conservative principles.
The Case For Supporting Same-Sex Marriage
The fundamental belief in our Constitution is that all men are created equal. There is no homosexual exception to this verbiage, nor should there be. Those who advocate for a separate set of rules for an otherwise equal class of people, must also be in favor of affirmative action, or they are being intellectually dishonest with themselves.
It is no wonder we lose the LGBT vote when we treat criminals with higher regard. In Turner v. Safely, the Supreme Court ruled that prison inmates have a fundamental right be get married behind bars. Surely, if a mass murderer has the fundamental right to be married, a law-abiding homosexual should be extended the same right.
One would be foolish to ignore the fact that the LGBT community crosses all racial and gender lines. Since the 2008 and 2012 Presidential elections, conservatives have been grappling with ways to attract minority and female voters to their side; this is one way to do this. Moreover, standing against gay marriage not only alienates the gay community, it alienates family members and friends sympathetic to their plight. These numbers are only going up, as it is becoming more acceptable in our society to be “Out” as LGBT.
The Evangelical movement is shrinking. What was once a massive conservative voting bloc, has dwindled to about 20 million. With our nation’s population increasing at a rate of about 2 million a year, Evangelicals are going to find themselves increasingly irrelevant in future elections. Upsetting this group of people should not weigh too heavily on conservative politicians, especially when one considers the fact that 6.4 million of them voted for Obama during the last election.
Times are changing, and changing in a way that should have conservatives beaming. The Millennials (those born around 1981) are a near perfect fit for conservative beliefs. It should come as no surprise that Romney garnered a larger percent of this generation than McCain. They tend to be fiscally conservative, pro-life and are also 70 percent in favor gay marriage. The over-arching trend should be that they want their freedom – socially and fiscally (i.e. less government intrusion). What conservative could argue with that?
The country is going this way no matter what. More and more states are voting to allow gay marriage every year. Even states such as California, which has rejected it multiple times, have found the margin of victory shrinking in each successive election. If conservatives fail to get on board soon, they will wear the discrimination stain for years to come.
The ramifications of rejecting same-sex marriage will be far-reaching and unnecessary. If our republic is to stand, conservatives have to win elections. Without the support of the gay community and their supporters, we stand to lose against liberals in all of our conservative beliefs.by