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In today’s On the Square, David Mills pushes back against the libertarians’ attempt to redefine of conservatism and marriage :

But what first struck me was Steorts’ claim—one of the bases for his prescription for his radical reinterpretation of marriage—that “a conservative wants the state at a large remove from his life.” A libertarian does, yes, but does a conservative? This is not an idea to be found in Russell Kirk’s lengthy introduction to his Portable Conservative Reader , which is more concerned with the protection of the civil order and “a man’s desire to walk in the paths his father followed.”

Applied to marriage, this claim seems to me the equivalent of the pro-choicers’ “Keep your rosaries off my ovaries” and “It’s a decision solely for the woman and her doctor,” insisting on the mother’s personal autonomy over the life of her child—keeping the state at a large remove from her life, and from her unborn child’s. Few conservatives accept this reasoning. It is a matter for the law to regulate. With marriage as with abortion, the conservative, concerned with the civil order, and therefore with the moral order, and with walking in the fathers’ path, would hold that this was a matter for the law to regulate.

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