Just to be perfectly clear, conservative writer Andrew Sullivan, wrote this piece in the formerly liberal The New Republic, back in 1989, of all places. And the New The New Republic, (ha ha) reposted his piece about same-sex marriage last Friday. I once heard Sullivan on a panel talk show, I think on PBS, or maybe CNN, say that he opposed same-sex marriage, because of how straights have ruined marriage and hurt it so badly. With half of all American straight marriages ending in divorce and all the adultery that goes on in marriage. Kids, growing up in single-parent households, or being shipped from their father and mother back and forth. Perhaps only seeing their father on weekends and holidays, because their parents are divorced. And I’m not sure how Sullivan currently feels about same-sex marriage.
As far as the conservative case for gay marriage. I agree with Andrew Sullivan and I think he makes an excellent conservative case for it. But for me even as a Liberal talking about Conservatives and conservatism, it depends on what you mean by conservatism. Do you combine both political conservatism, which has more of a federalist conservative libertarian bent to it and is more constitutionally based. With religious or cultural conservatism, that takes us back to a time that Christian Conservatives and Neoconservatives see as an American Utopia, what they view as Traditional America. Where things that are considered mainstream and even legal today and homosexuality would just be one example of, would’ve been unacceptable and even illegal back in the 1950s and 1940s.
Or do you separate political conservatism, classical conservatism, conservative libertarianism even, with religious or cultural conservatism. I mean, are Barry Goldwater, who is Mr. Conservative and Phyllis Schlafly, who is Miss American Traditionalist, both Conservatives, or do they come from different political camps on the right. Are Rand Paul, perhaps the modern Mr. Conservative and Mike Huckabee, perhaps the hero of today’s Christian-Right, both Conservatives, even though ideologically they look and talk very differently and have very different views when it comes to their politics. And social issues might just be an example of that.
Does conservatism, mean conserving the growth of government and even shrinking it when it becomes big, so it doesn’t threaten our economic, or personal freedoms and doesn’t violate the U.S. Constitution, as well as conserving freedom both economic and personal? Or to go back to Phyllis Schlafly, doesn’t conservatism mean conserving the 1950s and taking America back to that point, or perhaps even the 1920s pre-New Deal and saying through government force, “this is what America is and what it means to be an American. And people who move away from this way of life and lifestyle, are Un-American and perhaps should even be in jail.”
Again I’m a Liberal and it would be easy for me to lump all Conservatives and anyone on the Right into one big camp of traditionalists and neanderthals and say that conservatism, is really the big government ideology in America. Because they want to force their way of life through government force on the rest of America. But that wouldn’t be accurate of me and it would even be dishonest. I go with the Barry Goldwater/Rand Paul wing as far as who I see as the Conservatives in America. And say the Conservative case of same-sex marriage, is that marriage is about two people who are in love, in most cases and want to be legal romantic partners with each other for the rest of their lives. Or at least give it their best shot. And that marriage just like domestic partnerships, should be a civil issue between consenting adults. Not for government to decide.
Greg Hengler: Andrew Sullivan- On The Gay Marriage Decision