Michael, thanks much for your comment. I see abortion as a much greater moral outrage than same-sex marriage (for the obvious reasons you outline), but seeing one outrage as greater than another is more of an argument about relative intensity of effort than it is an argument on the merits. As for myself, I’m light years more concerned and grieved by abortion (and by the collapse of marriage in the heterosexual community, which is intrinsically linked to abortion and a host of other social ills) than I am by the rise of same-sex marriage. But that doesn’t mean that same-sex marriage isn’t serious and worth engaging. Nor does it mean that one is the “good war” and the other “bad” (to go back to the question in my original post). I would phrase it as “more serious” versus “less serious.”
And Jonah, I think you’re exactly correct that the other side is making its greatest progress in the court of public opinion by absolutely owning the “rights” rhetoric. But just behind the rights argument is another favorite — hypocrisy. Right now, social conservatives are getting killed on both. I’m not going to deny that it’s a tough sell in our culture, but the restoration argument I outlined acknowledges and attempts to roll back the grievous heterosexual damage to marriage and opts out of rights language entirely. We can at least try to change the paradigm. After all, obsession with viewing life through the prism of rights independent of duties is partly what got us in this mess.