Wednesday, May 27, 2009

An update? Burkean Approach to Gay-Marriage?

Yes, a real update this time. School is over and I have my time back again.
To start off this update I need you to read this great article from Jonathan Rauch. -----> link feature not working, sorry.

Below is my rebuttal, if you will, and is a copy of the email I sent to him.I would appreciate your comments and I will post his response if appropriate as an update.

Open Letter to Jonathan Rauch:
I first off need to confess that I am new to this issue and am a younger American (19), however I have been soaking up the information from both sides of the political spectrum and have immersed myself in the debate about gay marriage. I wrote this email to address an issue in regards to your article. The Economist helped direct me to your work, and I have to say it is refreshing to hear a voice like yours using facts and philosophy to compile a compelling argument. The issue I have with your article, is that you fail to address the real voice against gay-marriage, and more specifically prop8. I feel this issue also needs to take into account a fact you briefly mentioned but largely passed over, that the majority of the country is ready for this change. Furthermore, I question your idea that the current approach has helped "take the edge of the hysteria off the issue", in the past I would agree with you, however, the recent campaigns from both sides of Proposition 8 seem to tell a different tale.

Addressing my issues, I site a recent CBS news poll ( that argues that 42% support gay-marriage, 25% support civil unions, and only 28% support no legal recognition. I assume a man of your intelect would question this results, an indeed I am no way indicating that this is indicative of the nations views, after all 973 adults isn't necessarily a great reflection of over 300 million Americans. In addition this older survey finds contrasting results, ( I agree with your assertion that support for both sides is growing but If CBS's poll numbers continue to grow, and the nation as whole continues to grow in support for Gay-Marriage, at what point should the federal government declare it legal? Civil Unions is a huge compromise to gay rights activists as you rightly pointed out, however, the nation is more accepting of this scenario at this time which explains your support for this solution. I agree that civil unions will gain ground in the near future but looking beyond I see an interesting argument shaping against your Burkean approach.

Proposition 8 has hijacked the media of late and set fire to a powder keg issue. California, I fear, has become a staging ground for the rest of the large, more important states, especially NY. The debate in California has descended into Rove-ian politics with both sides using the media and questionable tactics to edge people's opinions. The side for prop8 has engaged in this debate with a vigor not seen since the Christian backing swept George W. Bush into office. Reports have surfaced that the main funding behind this incredible campaign was the Church of the Latter Day Saints, Mormons. Further reading has shown how this fundamentally different christian organization has created a strong coalition between other religions and even some Catholic Churches. Given that the debate is not playing out in a "what the people want" manner but more in a "persuading and dissuading forcefully" manner, I would have to say that your argument that this nation has and will take a Burkean approach to this issue is moot.

-Eric Morel

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