Saturday, October 22, 2005

Placeholder for a post on the Maggie Gallager arguments at Volokh against ssm same sex marriage.
I think I've figured out what she meant, and why and how I mostly disagree,
but I don't have it written up yet, and it's not my highest priority right now, but I might come back to it.
A few notes toward what I want to say:
Some areas of agreement between me and ghallager (sp?)

Liberal are very good at identifying social problems. What they aren't so good at, is solving the problems by government intervention, which tends to have unanticipated consequences, either making the original problem worse or introducing new problems.

Legal recognition of SSM may change what we think marriage is, in ways that will have broad and as yet unknown consequences.

I also think that's she right that SSM isn't just an end in itself; it's a stepping stone toward a broader agenda of quotas and entitlement and attitude that has been terribly destructive in the black community, and isn't good for gay or society or government.

Some areas of disagreement:
Being conservative, she has a bias toward status quo good, change bad.
Being radical, I tend to have a bias toward status quo bad, change potentially better, potentially worse.
As I see it there are several possible angles of disagreement.
Her minor premise: legal recognition of OSM promotes two-parent familes.
Her major premise: legal recognition of SSM destroys the social script in which most people get married and become mommies or daddies.

So one area of critique is that SSM would create more two-parent families willing and able to provide good homes for children. Given the number of abortions and wards of the state, there's no shortage of kids for such familes.
Another area of critique is that the compulsory heterosexual monogamous nuclear family ain't all its cracked up to be - patriarchy, alcoholism, domestic violence, is not a role model to insist on preserving.
A third area is that the damage from keeping two women who love each other from getting married is very concrete, while the notion that same sex marriage will cause a mental conceptual shift is somewhat speculative and remote.

So where I end up is that on balance, SSM is better than the status quo, and the benefits appear to outweigh the risks and costs, based on imperfect knowlege.
But it's a mixed bag, and there is some risk of the sort she talks about, and that's worth further study so we can learn to mitigate damges.

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