David and Rusty, I think you’re exactly right about the new IAV manifesto. Because of what you point out—the manifesto says good things but will nonetheless have negative rather than positive consequences for marriage—this could be a fruitful dialogue opportunity. The manifesto demands “a new conversation,” and a conversation implies two sides. The IAV support-marriage-but-surrender-on-gay-marriage caucus is one side. Who’s the other? They seem to think it’s people who dislike marriage in general. What if their dialogue partner was us—people who share their desire to combat divorce but don’t want to surrender our consciences on gay marriage, as their manifesto seems to ask us to do?
Right now, the position staked out by IAV is the one most likely to find a positive reception in the halls of cultural power. The future terms of discussion about marriage will probably depend on who engages with that caucus and how they do it. Could we build a cross-ideological movement to combat divorce that brought together people like the IAV caucus and people like ourselves? Such coalitions are not uncommon—just look at how an issue like immigration scrambles all the usual ideological alignments. Suppose divorce became a similar cross-cutting, ideology-scrambling issue? That would redraw the battle lines in our favor, I think – even on the gay marriage issue. The marriage movement needs some entrepreneurial thinking.