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    When you’re seen anywhere with your hat off…

    My blog friend Sarah Hoyt is a sci-fi author, so she does a lot of thinking about social issues and the evolution of institutions. She has a post up about her support for gay marriage that takes what is, I think, the best tack possible: arguing that institutions such as marriage exist at least partially to push people toward beneficial behavior and away from destructive behavior that other around them may end up picking up after. I don’t know that I’m entirely convinced, but she goes far beyond the soundbites along the lines of “But my partner and I love each other just as much as straight couples do” or “Well, gee, why shouldn’t our gay friends have the same rights as my wife and I do?”

    Sarah also brings the perspective of someone reared in a country that was not the States:

    A law might be able to institute a system like the one in Portugal – and please, those of you who know me, engrave this in stone, because it’s the one time in my life where I’ll say something is better in Portugal – where you have to get a “legal” marriage before the religious one. The legal one is a right, (though I don’t think they have gay marriage, before anyone jumps on me) the religious one isn’t. In fact, the religious one isn’t needed. It is between you and your G-d. The legal is usually done quietly and not celebrated by those people who intend to have a religious ceremony later. (In Dan’s and my case we had our civil ceremony in South Carolina in July, then went to Portugal for the religious wedding in December after I got my green card. It gives us two anniversaries.) At any rate a law could spell out that no religion will be forced to perform unions that offend its tenets or beliefs.

    I know at this point my gay friends – or their sympathizers – reading this are groaning and saying that the law will never come because look at all the defense of marriage stuff going on. Well… a properly written law might have a better chance. It might calm a lot of the fears.

    She may be right about that, though one of the problems is that so many of the most voluble proponents of gay marriage are too wrapped up in using it to get approval from all quarters. I’m not so sure they could be trusted to lay off the churches in exchange for marriage performed by a justice of the peace.


    Speaking of fabulously opinionated pro-SSM blog friends, Virginia Postrel appeared on PJTV to discuss the problems that Obama’s glamour might pose when he actually tries to carry out his duties as president. It turns out that her chemotherapy, in addition to helping beat her cancer into remission, has given her a Marcel wave. Do we live in an age of wonders, or what?

    4 Responses to “When you’re seen anywhere with your hat off…”

    1. Sarah says:


      Thank you for the link.

      I confess I hadn’t thought about the whole “craving acceptance” thing. Now that I have I find myself unable to utterly dismiss it. As a Science Fiction and Fantasy writer it’s sometimes hard to avoid the feeling that at any meeting of my kind there gather people who broke their parents’ hearts by not doing something more productive with their “excellent minds.” And I know there is a lot of submerged rage and a lot of wanting to ‘show them all’.

      But I hope you’re wrong in your view of this, because if you are right, then the churches are correct in perceiving a danger of being forced to do what they don’t wish to.

      And if you’re not wrong, I hope people grow up rather fast. (Hey, I can dream!)


    2. Sean Kinsell says:

      Well, I’m definitely not wrong about some people–to judge from their own reasoning, being approved of and luvved by society at large really is a major justification for extending marriage. It’s there even in arguments by Andrew Sullivan and Jonathan Rauch–though I hasten to add that at their best, their thinking is much more fully worked out than that. What I find strange is just how quickly gay marriage has gone from something to work toward to something we must have immediately.

    3. Irene says:

      Nothing strange about that, Sean. How long have people been hammered with every flavor of “if you want it, you should have it RIGHT NOW.”?

      It’s hardly surprising activists have been infest… ahem… influenced by it.


    4. Sean Kinsell says:

      I know, Irene; it’s still irritating.

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