What Evidence Would Change My Mind on Civil SSM?

by Maggie Gallagher

Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage and Dan Savage at long last came together in Savage’s living room to debate the topic “Is Christianity bad for LGBT people?” (Savage chose the topic.) Of course, gay marriage came up as well. You can watch the whole thing:


At one point Mark Oppenheimer, who moderated the debate, raises the question of falsifiability and asks: What evidence would change your point of view? He says (with some caveats, acknowledging that I could reply if he didn’t get this right) that I had said none could.

Thanks Mark for that caveat. With regard to the public policy of same-sex marriage, I had said, here is what I would want: I would want to see two generations of gay marriage and some society that in that time-span was able to create a basically functioning marriage culture i.e., one in which the ideal for a child is mom and dad was upheld as a norm and supported in theory (and at least to some degree in practice).

In that case, I might personally not believe gay unions are marriage, but I would no longer believe the law’s definition had any effect on the things I care about, and so would not oppose same-sex marriage.

I would add: If really good scientific evidence disproved the idea that children benefit from their mom and dad, that would rock my world in ways that I can’t say what would happen.

Social science rarely amounts to proof. It generally counts as “evidence” that requires judgment.

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