It's interesting to me that Noah Millman and Josh Claybourn, two political and religious conservatives, are both inching toward the same position on gay marriage: that it should have some status that is legally equivalent to, but not culturally or religiously the same as, heterosexual marriage. Josh and his various commenters note that there has long been a blurring of church and state in regard to marriage. I imagine the blurring hasn't been noticed much till now because, except for the business with the Mormons 100 years ago, there hasn't been much happening to draw attention to it.
I think Noah makes a good point that marriage isn't just a legal status -- it's a cultural myth, in the best sense of the word:
When a Jewish boy is circumcised, one of the prayers recited is the hope that the boy will be reared to torah, huppah and ma'asim tovim - study, the wedding canopy, and righteous deeds. Our account of the Creation culminates first with the creation of male and female as natural and equal partners, and then retells the story of our creation specifically to illustrate how we are one flesh, working the myth of marriage into the very fabric of the universe. These myths are present at every wedding ceremony, and they are essential cement to help hold a marriage together through the inevitable tough times...
Gay couples need their own myth if their unions are to be something other than and greater than friendships. I do not belittle friendship, and certainly one's spouse should be one's friend, but friendship is not the same thing as marriage, and the advocates of gay unions sometimes suggest that it is - that marriage is, to use a phrase current in the college set, "friendship with privileges."
I don't know how it will all work out eventually. But Noah's and Josh's posts both seem to underscore a point Andrew Sullivan makes a lot: for the younger generation, gay people are a fact of life. It doesn't matter whether you like them or approve of them; you're not getting rid of them by acting like they don't exist. This is something that separates young conservatives from the old, and it will be interesting to see where it leads.Posted by Camassia at June 23, 2003 07:20 PM | TrackBack