Opinion Brief

Is straight monogamy the sexual 'ideal'?

Many of the conservative arguments against gay marriage are bogus, says Ross Douthat in The NY Times, but a lifelong commitment between a man and a woman is still the "ideal"

In the wake of a federal judge's decision to overturn California's gay-marriage ban, many on the Right are renewing their defense of "traditional marriage." New York Times columnist Ross Douthat says his fellow conservatives lost the Proposition 8 case because their stock argument — that heterosexual monogamy is "natural," and gay relationships "unnatural" — is "wrong." But lifelong, heterosexual monogamy remains the marriage "ideal," Douthat says, because it offers "an organic connection between human generations." Does the "potential fruit" of a heterosexual marriage really make it superior to a monogamous gay relationship? (Watch Pat Buchanan label gay marriage "unnatural")

Calling straight marriage ideal denies the humanity of gay couples: Yes, there's something "miraculous" and "sacred" about "heterosexual life-long coupling that produces new human life," says Andrew Sullivan in The Atlantic. But Douthat's saying that gay couples "are forever uniquely excluded, by their nature, from being a 'microcosm of civilization,'" and from being part of a true, "ideal" marriage. Sorry, Ross, "we gays are here," and our families are real and legitimate, not some "drop-shadow to the ideal heterosexual relationship."
"The unique quality of 'lifelong heterosexual monogamy'"

Marriage, between a man and a woman, is different from gay relationships: Heterosexual monogamy isn't just the ideal form of marriage, says blogger Hogan at RedState, it's the only true marriage there is. "For reasons of pro-creation and parenthood, to start with, but also for reasons of faith and morality, for some of us, any marriage other than such a union can never be, whatever society says, a 'marriage' at all." So let's not force "a false notion of equality that will amount to the biggest breach of societal stability in the history of mankind."
"Ted Olson pushes for judicially mandated gay 'marriage'"

Discriminating against gays is not the way to save heterosexual marriage: Even Ross Douthat admits marriage isn't about lifelong monogamy any more, says Matthew Yglesias in Think Progress. Yet he wants to uphold "an ideal of lifelong heterosexual monogamy by legally requiring the heterosexual part, but not the lifelong or monogamous part." What a cop out.
"Douthat on gay marriage"

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