At the beginning of February, I noted that Good Republicans who are accommodating to current trends in liberal sexual politics are going to help Democrats marginalize Bad Republicans (the religious right). At the New York Daily News James Kirchick simultaneously reports on the latest from the Good Republicans and proves himself a Good Republican.
Kirchick writes, “In the past week, more than 100 prominent Republicans and conservatives have added their names to a legal brief advising the Supreme Court to grant gay people the right to marry. Spearheaded by Ken Mehlman, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee who came out as gay three years ago, signatories include figures ranging from Beth Myers (Mitt Romney’s 2008 campaign manager) to Paul Wolfowitz (former World Bank Chairman and deputy Secretary of Defense) to Stephen Hadley (former National Security Advisor to President George W. Bush). The friend-of-the-court brief was filed in support of a lawsuit to overturn California’s Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot initiative that added a clause to the state’s constitution defining marriage as a union of one man and one woman. Later this month, the Supreme Court will hear the case alongside another which seeks to overturn the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, a law prohibiting federal recognition of gay marriage.”
He points out that gay marriage was first proposed by “center-right” gay writers like Andrew Sullivan and Jonathan Rauch and comments, “contrary to the right-wingers who view it as “radical” and the left-wingers who similarly champion it as a uniquely “progressive” achievement, same-sex marriage has always been a conservative cause. . . . Extending marriage rights to gay people is just that: broadening an ancient institution to a population long denied access to it, not transforming it from without. If conservatism is predicated on the belief that tradition is worth conserving, then there are few better ways of doing that then letting gay people marry — and strengthen — the convention.”
By this argument, it seems that the sexual revolution as a whole has been a conservative cause. It didn’t change sex from without but broadened an ancient (one of the most ancient) practices to “a population long denied access to it” – namely, the unmarried. In fact, it’s hard to see what couldn’t be identified as a conservative cause on this basis.
It’s a wondrous sight: Tradition and revolution kiss each other; conservative and progressive graze together.