The chances of me agreeing with a Catholic lesbian blogger on any issue is roughly equivalent to me being a Catholic lesbian blogger – nonetheless, here we are.
Eve Tushnet is a former philosophy major from Yale, an open and celibate lesbian conservative Catholic whom has what I think is an extremely insightful view of what ‘gay marriage’ really would mean in our culture. From the recent NYT’s article about her:
But same-sex marriage, she wrote in The New York Post in 2007, “can bring one of three outcomes: A two-tiered marriage culture, where heterosexual couples are asked to do the hard things (sex only within marriage, marriage for life in most circumstances) and homosexual couples work out their own marriage norms; reshape marriage into an optional, individualized institution, ignoring the creative and destructive potentials of ‘straight’ sex; or encourage all couples to restrict sex to marriage and marry for life, and hope that gay couples accept norms designed to meet heterosexual needs.”
It’s an interesting argument, one I have touched on in certain ways in the past. Heterosexual marriage isn’t an institution created merely for the pleasure of the participants, or to impart certain property right (indeed marriage existed long before any notion of property rights) but rather marriage exists as a critically essential institution to aid the raising of children that result from the procreative process. Society cannot exist apart from this function of marriage – in fact, in places where children are born with significant frequency outside of this marriage (for example in many of our inner cities) the results are devastating in terms of poverty, violence, and hopelessness. As much as this is true, it is in the interest of the state to promote and protect heterosexual marriage.
Gay marriage on the other hand isn’t necessary to the well being of a society at all – it advances none of the child rearing benefits of heterosexual marriage, and doesn’t emanate in any way from the procreative process. While arguments can be made that it advances the property rights of individuals who participate, this doesn’t particularly benefit society as a whole, and is a completely separate basis for the existence of marriage than that which underpins the heterosexual variety. Tushnet rightly comprehends that the existence of gay marriage will essentially create a two tiered society which caters in a very specific way to participants in gay marriage for their benefit, and supports heterosexual marriages for completely different reasons. In short, homosexuals will never actually have the same marriages that heterosexuals have, because their reasons for marrying are wholly different to begin with.
It is refreshing to see that Tushnet, a lesbian herself, sees this. Of course opponents will see her as merely a ‘bigot’ which is perhaps one of the richest ironies of all.