Thursday, April 08, 2010

Pro-marriage (as "least bad" institution) argument makes indirect case for gay marriage

Robert Wright has a posting on the Opinionator of the New York Times, “Why Tiger Matters”, here.  Wright says “the Tiger Woods scandal is as important as Kandahar and the Catholic Church”. Why? Because monogamous marriage matters. Wright characterizes marriage as “the institution that seems to be, on average, the least bad means of rearing children is an institution that doesn’t naturally sustain itself in the absence of moral sanction”. “Least bad” sounds like a way to refer to “minimum maximum” problems on calculus tests.

He also mentions another advantage of marriage as “sheer economic efficiency – over single-parent child rearing.” He then adds parenthetically “All of which, I think, is an argument for legalizing gay marriage, but that’s another story”. That sounds like Jonathan Rauch’s “win-win” argument for gay marriage. Back in the 1990s, in an anthology named “Beyond Queer: Challenging Gay Left Orthodoxy” (Free Press), Rauch had written that the greatest problem with gay marriage is that gays would win it and then not use it. “A singleton is an accident waiting to happen” he wrote. But some people like to stand alone.

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