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Why They Fight
Bar Harbor
Reposting this in my own LJ by request, adapted from comment threads elsewhere.

Many of my friends deplore the anti-gay-marriage protesters. They frequently say things like, "There is no reason for them to worry so much about what other people do. What we do has no impact on them. So why are they irrationally fighting us so much?"

Actually, it's not irrational at all. While acceptance of gay marriage may not *directly* impact anyone else's marriage, it *does* undermine the axioms which their whole world-view (including, but not limited to, the nature of marriage) is based on.

This is a long article talking about what I mean. It's well worth reading all of, but here's two key excerpts:
Same-sex marriage. The husband/father and wife/mother roles in the Inherited Obligation model are timeless, unchangeable, and necessary. Someone has to be the husband/father and someone has to be the wife/mother. Same-sex couples just can’t cover both roles, no matter how well-intentioned they may be.

But no comparable difficulty exists in the Negotiated Commitment model. A child has needs, and the parents have to negotiate a plan to meet those needs. Whether the parents are a mixed-sex couple or a same-sex couple - or even a single parent with a lot of committed friends - the problem is the same.

If the government recognizes same-sex marriages and same-sex couples as parents, then it is tacitly siding with the Negotiated Commitment model of marriage and parenthood, and undermining the Inherited Obligation model. This is why conservatives believe that marriage needs to be “defended” from same-sex relationships. But from the Negotiated Commitment point of view, “defense of marriage” is nonsense. How a same-sex couple negotiates its relationship has no effect on the negotiated relationships of mixed-sex couples.

Should We Just Give Up?

As I have discussed these ideas with my friends, surprisingly often they jump to the conclusion that I’m advocating surrender. “So what are saying? That they’re right? What do you want us to do, give up?”

Not at all. But I am saying that we have to drop our self-image as nice guys. The mere fact that people think I’m advocating surrender demonstrates just how attached we are to that image. It’s comforting to think that we only want what’s best for everybody, and that the only reason people oppose us is because they’re stupid. But it’s not true.

Liberals have a vision of how the world should be. I believe in that vision. It is a fairer, more just world than has ever existed before. It is better adjusted to the realities of modern life. And it is, in my opinion, the only vision of the future that does not eventually lead to competing fundamentalisms fighting a world war.

But no matter how peaceful and good our vision is, eggs will be broken to make our omelet. Eggs have already been broken. We need to take responsibility for that. And we can’t expect people with cartons of half-broken eggs to simply shrug and let us do our thing.

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Indeed, I wrote something similar sometime back.

What we need to acknowledge, IMO, is:

1) We are proposing a significant change in the social order (although it is the final culmination of a change that has been building since after WWII).

2) This change is justified because it reflects a recognition of the fundamental right of all adults to marry the partner they love and to raise children -- biologically related or adopted -- together.

Those hurt by this transition because it introduces new uncertainty or for other reason will, indeed, need to undergo adjustment. But there is no right to inherit to social order of your parents.

(Deleted comment)
Thank you for the link to the article. I've been reading it off and on all day and it's answered quite a few questions. Raised a couple, too. *G*

Why do you (we?) zero in on the gay marriage issue in reading this article?

Edited at 2009-04-28 12:55 am (UTC)

Re: Point of curiosity

This conversation started in another (friends-locked) LJ. The original post of that discussion was about opposition to gay marriage, and how it made no sense. I posted something very similar to the above to show how it *did* make sense, when looked at in a certain way.

So, conversational context is why, in this case. Note that I did say "It's well worth reading all of".

Thanks for posting that; I found it very interesting. The Worcester angle is interesting too!

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