Monday, January 11, 2010

The conservative case for gay marriage

I have been a big fan of Ted Olson for many years.  Appointed to solicitor general by President Bush in February of 2001, Mr. Olsen has served the United States for many years with honor and distinction.  Sadly his wife, Barbara, was killed on 9/11 when her plane crashed into the Pentagon.

Today, Mr. Olson takes up a case which has surprised many of his conservative supporters.  He is attempting to invalidate California's Proposition 8—the voter-approved measure that overturned California's constitutional right to marry a person of the same sex.  He makes his case in Newsweek:
My involvement in this case has generated a certain degree of consternation among conservatives. How could a politically active, lifelong Republican, a veteran of the Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush administrations, challenge the "traditional" definition of marriage and press for an "activist" interpretation of the Constitution to create another "new" constitutional right?

My answer to this seeming conundrum rests on a lifetime of exposure to persons of different backgrounds, histories, viewpoints, and intrinsic characteristics, and on my rejection of what I see as superficially appealing but ultimately false perceptions about our Constitution and its protection of equality and fundamental rights.

Many of my fellow conservatives have an almost knee-jerk hostility toward gay marriage. This does not make sense, because same-sex unions promote the values conservatives prize. Marriage is one of the basic building blocks of our neighborhoods and our nation. At its best, it is a stable bond between two individuals who work to create a loving household and a social and economic partnership. We encourage couples to marry because the commitments they make to one another provide benefits not only to themselves but also to their families and communities. Marriage requires thinking beyond one's own needs. It transforms two individuals into a union based on shared aspirations, and in doing so establishes a formal investment in the well-being of society. The fact that individuals who happen to be gay want to share in this vital social institution is evidence that conservative ideals enjoy widespread acceptance. Conservatives should celebrate this, rather than lament it.

Legalizing same-sex marriage would also be a recognition of basic American principles, and would represent the culmination of our nation's commitment to equal rights. It is, some have said, the last major civil-rights milestone yet to be surpassed in our two-century struggle to attain the goals we set for this nation at its formation.
Read the whole thing.

I applaud Mr. Olson's courage and clarity in taking up this cause.


  1. Thank you for posting. We won't likely see this in mainstream media. Many people now have gay and lesbian loved ones and want them to have what other people have. I hope this will encourage conservatives to think it over.

  2. A post that I can applud you for making.

    Surpised none of your fellow conseratives have set the christian goon squad out to correct you of your unholy ways.

  3. Thanks for your comments. Actually anonymous #2, I have had a few polite rebukes on Facebook for this post. The fact is, many do not agree with me on this topic. I respect their right to disagree. However, I believe that our constitution guarantees equal protection under law to all citizens. As it has righteously and thankfully evolved to become race blind, I believe it must also become gender blind. That is what I believe.