Bench Memos

“Same-Sex Marriage” and Square Circles

California’s Proposition 8 is routinely said to “ban” “same-sex marriage.” But as Sherif Girgis, Ryan T. Anderson, and Robert P. George—co-authors of What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense—point out in the course of an outstanding interview with Kathryn Lopez:

[T]here is no ban on same-sex marriage. Unlike bigamy or polygamy, for example, nothing about it is illegal. In all 50 states, two people of the same sex may choose to live together, choose to join a religious community that blesses their relationship, and choose a workplace offering joint benefits.

Proposition 8 defines an inherent element of what marriage has forever been in California. It no more “bans” “same-sex marriage” than a proper definition of a circle bans square circles. Rather, under Proposition 8, the concept of “same-sex marriage,” like that of a square circle, is an oxymoron, a self-contradiction, an absurdity—just as it has always been under California’s marriage statutes and, until very recently, everywhere for as long as marriage has existed.

To understand why marriage exists, read the rest of the interview.

Most Popular


Hurray for the NBA

Last month, just before the Final Four, I did a Q&A on college basketball with our Theodore Kupfer. Teddy K. is back, by popular demand, joined by two other experts: Vivek Dave, an old friend of mine from Michigan, who has long lived in Chicago, and David French, National Review’s Kentucky Kid, now ... Read More
Economy & Business

Trade Misunderstandings

I was distracted by other policy topics last week but not enough not to notice Peter Navarro’s article in the Wall Street Journal, headlined “China’s Faux Comparative Advantage.” Considering Navarro’s position in the White House, it is unfortunate that it demonstrates some serious misunderstandings ... Read More

Joy Reid Denies Writing Homophobic Blog Posts

MSNBC personality Joy Reid's former blog, The Reid Report, published a series of anti-gay posts, which she claims were added to the site after it was shut down, by a hacker intent on destroying her reputation and nascent cable-news career. Reid, who discontinued the blog roughly a decade ago, apologized in ... Read More

Monday Links

A Supercut of Epic Movie Explosions. Can You Solve These 10 Medieval Riddles? The cost to make a Margherita pizza: $1.77. How much restaurants charge on average for a pizza: $12. The actual costs of restaurant foods. Vintage animation lessons -- how to make things cute. London's "Great ... Read More

On Trade, No One Is Waiting for Washington

President Donald Trump’s flips and flops on trade are now as ubiquitous as his 5:00 a.m. tweets. Many predicted that trade-expansion efforts would come to a standstill and world commerce would suffer amidst all the uncertainty. Instead, the precise opposite has happened. In the last few months, it’s become ... Read More
National Security & Defense

Trump’s Syria Quandary

President Trump raised eyebrows recently when he ended a tweet lauding the airstrikes he’d ordered against chemical-weapons facilities in Syria with the words “mission accomplished.” The phrase, of course, became infamous in the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq, when President Bush used it in a speech ... Read More