• Why marriage equality is a win for conservatives too

    flagrThe platform of the official Republican Party¹ lists 14 principles and positions that it holds as what it “means” to be republican, which is partly based on what republicans have said about themselves.

    Of these, 7 are not relevant to this issue. The remaining 7 are reasons why conservatives (or at least republicans) should be just as pleased with the recent SCOTUS ruling as anyone else:

    [I believe that our…]
    Country is exceptional
    Today it truly is. Most countries in the world deny the freedom that is today upheld. Even Europe, ordinarily seen as far more politically progressive than the US, has a long way to go. There is no marriage equality in Italy, Poland, or Greece, among others. Germany, Austria, Switzerland and others have special “civil union” sort of arrangements instead of full equality.

    Constitution should be honored, valued, and upheld
    There is no better definition of what happened today than this.

    Families and communities should be strong and free from government intrusion
    The marriage equality ruling overturns many laws, federal and state, that sought to impose restrictions on families and communities. That means less intrusion, not more.

    Government should be smaller, smarter and more efficient
    One of the ways to do this is to not busy it with intrusive laws attempting to regulate personal affairs.

    Health care decisions should be made by us and our doctors
    Which includes decisions about spouses and children. Previously, de facto parents and spouses have been denied medical rights, responsibilities, and privileges.

    Military must be strong and prepared to defend our shores
    During the second Gulf War, the Department of Defense kicked out several Arabic translators because they were gay people. There are very few people with the skills those soldiers had; they are worth their weight in gold. Such discrimination hurt the war effort substantially. Openly gay people have been at liberty to serve for several years, but the prospect is now much more attractive because gay now spouses can now be dependents. If we want the very best soldiers and leaders, we can’t ask them to be treated as second-class citizens and not enjoy equal benefits.

    Institution of traditional marriage is the foundation of society
    The word “traditional” seems to demean the idea of marriage. Traditions are relatively arbitrary things a people decides that it likes enough or finds useful enough, to make a staple. Pancakes are for breakfast. Jackets and ties denote formality. Attempt self-improvement at the start of the year. Conversely, consider how absurd it sounds to attach the word to other prime virtues:

    The institution of traditional freedom of speech is the foundation of liberty.
    We support the traditional view that murder is wrong.

    Traditions are fleeting. They are born, they can radically mutate, and they die- they all die, sooner or later. Shouldn’t basic liberties and foundations of society be much more robust than capricious traditions only temporarily useful or favored?

    But, let’s take this statement as it is: traditional marriage is a foundation. Since traditions evolve constantly, and so does society, it seems to me that what “traditional marriage” is must change over time for the statement to remain true. We’re America, a nation born by rejecting old and broken political ideas and drafting newer, better versions. Isn’t that as much an American tradition as anything?

    See also: Skeptic Ink alum Russell Blackford has written a similar article, Conservatives should embrace same-sex marriage.

    1. I realize that the GOP and conservatism are not synonymous. I am merely using it as a convenient example that is roughly typical of political conservatism.

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  • Article by: Edward Clint

    Ed Clint is an evolutionary psychologist, co-founder of Skeptic Ink, and USAF veteran.