Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Privilege of Marriage

I have, for the most part, stayed away from the discussion of marriage in the blogosphere. I have made a few comments, usually stating that I am suspicious when people who enjoy a privilege want to deny that privilege to others. There is, however, a more fundamental argument to be made, not only about the marriage debate, but about other controversial issues.

Several summers ago a speaker at the Chautauqua Institution suggested that people whose position on an issue is based upon religious conviction need to move beyond simple assertions about God's law when they engage the issue in the public square. In our increasingly diverse country, to be effective arguments need to be based upon common values, values shared by religious and non-religious citizens.

In the current debates about extending the privilege of marriage to same-sex couples, I have yet to hear a convincing argument based upon common values. (I also haven't heard one that is based upon the Bible, but that is another matter.) All the fear-mongering about the threat that gay marriage would pose to opposite-sex marriage doesn't convince me. Same-sex couples who marry are incapable of doing the kind of damage to marriage that heterosexuals have been doing for decades. Whether or not churches decide to bless same-sex marriages, I think it is high time that states extend the privilege of marriage to same-sex couples.

No comments: