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Tuesday, 13 July 2010

A conservative case for gay marriage (Again).

This is not the first time that a conservative case has been made for gay marriage, but every new presentation of the argument is worth noting. I particularly like this post's use of impeccable conservative credentials - Barry Goldwater - and the standard argument of the opponents turned against them: the interests of the children.

The lack of support for legalizing gay marriage amongst conservatives is surprising because the push to legalize gay marriage serves conservative aims.
The conservative case for gay marriage begins with Barry Goldwater’s landmark book, The Conscience of a Conservative—the manifesto that forms the intellectual foundation of modern American conservatism. As Goldwater put it, “the Conservative looks upon politics as the art of achieving the maximum amount of freedom for individuals that is consistent with the maintenance of the social order.” Legalizing gay marriage would do just that.
The argument that legalizing gay marriage would increase individual freedom is pretty straightforward: government regulation of who can and who cannot marry limits individuals’ control over their own lives, and thus decreases individual freedom. Therefore, the government should turn a blind eye to individuals’ sexual orientations, and extend the right to marry to the estimated 15 million gay Americans.
But for gay marriage to increase individual freedom isn’t enough, given Goldwater’s definition of conservatism. For legalizing gay marriage to qualify as a conservative political act, it must also “be consistent with the maintenance of the social order.”
Gay marriage does this too. For one, marriage benefits society by creating a safe, stable, and healthy environment for parents to raise children. Study after study has shown that children raised in wedlock are healthier, happier, and ultimately more productive members of society than children raised out of wedlock. And according to a study conducted by University of California, Davis professor Gregory Herek, this is as true for families in which both parents are members of the same sex as it is for traditional families.

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