Andrew Sullivan’s 20-Year-Old Argument For Gay Marriage Still Holds Water

The argument that gay marriage would subtly undermine the unique legitimacy of straight marriage is based upon a fallacy. For heterosexuals, straight marriage would remain the most significant–and only legal social bond. Gay marriage could only delegitimize straight marriage if it were a real alternative to it, and this is clearly not true. To put it bluntly, there’s precious little evidence that straights could be persuaded by any law to have sex with–let alone marry–someone of their own sex. The only possible effect of this sort would be to persuade gay men and women who force themselves into heterosexual marriage (often at appalling cost to themselves and their families) to find a focus for their family instincts in a more personally positive environment. But this is clearly a plus, not a minus: gay marriage could both avoid a lot of tortured families and create the possibility for many happier ones. It is not, in short, a denial of family values. It’s an extension of them.”

An excerpt from Andrew Sullivan‘s landmark 1989 essay, “Here Comes the Groom: A (Conservative) Case for Gay Marriage” for The New Republic, recently reprinted by Slate.

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  • EdWoody

    What we’ve all been saying.

  • mighty

    In a word, Yes

  • gaym50ish

    Nobody really knows how many gay men and women are in heterosexual marriages, but divorce consultant Deborah Moskovitch, author of “The Smart Divorce,” estimates that 2 million gay men and women in America have married someone of the opposite sex. According to statistics from the Family Pride Coalition, 20 percent of all gay men in the country are in heterosexual marriages and 40 percent of all lesbians are married to a man.
    That’s a lot of people who are unfulfilled, often unfaithful and almost always untruthful with their spouses. That is not a healthy state for the institution of marriage, and those who think our marriages will destroy it are the ones who are allowing the institution to be undermined.
    In more homophobic countries it’s much worse. Professor Zhang Bei-chuan at Qingdao University in China estimates there are as many as 16 million women on the Chinese mainland who are married to homosexual men. He says that it’s due to traditional family values in China that about 90 per cent of homosexual men are pressured to conform and get married.

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