In his response to Ryan Anderson’s comments on marriage, David Blankenhorn explained:
I changed my view on gay marriage for two reasons. The first is fairness. And the second is to get out of the very box that Ryan Anderson wants to put me and everyone else in — the little box inside of which the culture war on gay marriage must precede and overwhelm and define everything else.
No thank you. And, no thank you. And I can report from personal experience that the air is much easier to breath, once you are outside that stifling little box.
That third sentence isn’t a fair summary of what Ryan is arguing in the symposium or elsewhere, and Ryan has responded. I’m more interested in David’s idea of a stifling box. He is right about it and he uses a metaphor that’s occurred to me from time to time.
To take the position Ryan and we do is restrictive and being a cultural minority (a minority among the elites, that is) holding to a position harder to articulate in ways effective in our society can feel stifling. It can feel, to offer another metaphor, as if you’re trying to walk while your knees tied loosely together. It would be nice to run.
One knows exactly how David feels, but it’s a terrible reason for doing anything. It only means that you’ve joined a broad cultural consensus that may or may not be right — to extend the metaphor, you may get outside in the fresh air only to find that you’re standing at the south pole in a t-shirt — and that may shift so that you once again feel yourself stuck in the stifling box. David wants to defend marriage, and defend (the question of the sex of the spouses aside) a fairly strict understanding of marriage, but already for many people that’s a quaint and slightly reactionary and oppressive idea. It may not be too long till someone’s patronizing David with a remark about the stifling box he’s trying to keep everyone in and urging him to come out into the fresh air.