The Civil-Rights Movement of Our Day?

by Daniel Foster

I’ve never really written about my views on gay marriage, in part because I’m squishy on the issue and vacillate between lukewarm opposition and benign indifference. I know this will annoy some of my colleagues — and a good number of readers — but I think gay marriage, or something functionally equivalent to it is 1) inevitable 2) not the end of the world. If the institution of marriage underwritten by the State were the same as the one underwritten by God, I might be able to get my blood up over it. But as it stands, I endorse Kevin Williamson’s view on the matter pretty much word-for-word (Representative sentence: “Your contract with your cell-phone provider is legally enforceable, and your marriage vows — ‘forsaking all others until death do us part’ and all that — are not.”)

I think conservatives would be better served at this point by focusing on managing the process and containing the fallout from inevitability of gay marriage. E.g., by making sure things like this aren’t allowed to stand, and that, once civil marriage is opened to all, there is still a wide berth for Free Exercise, and for the bonds of holy matrimony to be defined by holy authorities.

This all being said, I also don’t think “marriage equality” is especially important. In particular, I think the analogy between the gay-marriage movement and the civil-rights movement of the 50s and 60s is ludicrous. I make that case — as well as the case that gays are not going to be embraced by mainstream America by staging Chick-fil-A “kiss-ins” etc. — in this clip from Bloggingheads.tv’s “The Good Fight.” My (exceedingly polite and reasonable) interlocutor is Amy Sullivan of Time and sundry, a pro-gay-marriage blogger on religion. You can click through and watch our entire conversation, which proceeds from an end-of-the-day analysis of the Chick-fil-A brouhaha and winds up taking a number of interesting detours.

UPDATED: Original embedded video showed the wrong segment of our conversation.