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A friend of mine recently dismissed an argument on the grounds that it was “not incorrect, just passé.” I found this striking: By his standard, we must take care not only do distinguish right from wrong and truth from error, but also intellectual fashion from what is out of date. Ideas function as markers of social status that become tattered with time and in need of exchanging.

As much as any idea (and perhaps more than most) gay marriage has carried the day not because it is sound but because it is a fashionable. Hence the enthusiasm for French  Elle ‘s endorsement of gay marriage in its “Marriage for All” issue. This opinion is not only correct, it is stylish , and has been said to be so by our foremost arbiter. (The cover image, of two beautiful women presented as a lesbian couple, appeals not to our liberal faculties of pity for the oppressed so much as our anxiety before the wealthier, more beautiful, and better connected.)

None of this is surprising. What is notable is the note of caution Elle’s editors raise about the issues of insemination, surrogacy, and adoption :

Among Elle’s editors, if yes to marriage seems the majority,the question of insemination, surrogacy, and adoption, how these things affect transient mothers, gives us pause and splits us. One thing brings us together: the conscience that these discussions that affect the female body deserve a long debate, including in the columns of our magazine.

Worried about not swelling the ranks of bickerers, the government chose to separate insemination from the issue of marriage. It was a wise choice. But we must go further. We must not above all rush to put these things into law this spring, as was initially called for. There is a range of things to talk about — ethics, science, law, which needs an open debate among competing viewpoints. Please, call for an Estates General for Babies. We owe that to the children of tomorrow, to those who will make children of tomorrow, and those who will raise them.


It’s hard to imagine the American Elle printing even this mildly conservative. Perhaps next season will bring Paris’ fashions to New York?

h/t Robert Oscar Lopez

Articles by Matthew Schmitz

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