Is same-sex marriage distracting conservatives from the greater threat to marriage?

Greg Forster, like fellow First Thoughts bloggers David Mills and R.R. Reno, is skeptical about David Blankenhorn’s call for a new conversation on marriage, a call that seemingly seeks to unite those unwilling to oppose same-sex marriage yet concerned about the catastrophic decline of marriage in American society. Yet Forster wonders whether conservatives are placing too much emphasis on the struggle against gay marriage, and despite his initial skepticism, encourages us to take this development seriously.

In this post I want to ask: is gay marriage really the best place for the marriage movement to be making its big investments? Isn’t that threat avoidance rather than opportunity seeking? ….

The question is, can we do this kind of thing without repudiating our consciences on gay marriage, as Blankenhorn’s manifesto seems to be asking us to do? If not, I see no hope for a humane outcome to the present crisis – one side or the other will have to be crushed. But that kind of thinking is threat avoidance. What we have to do is focus on seeking the opportunity for another kind of outcome….

Rest assured, Blankenhorn’s caucus is where all the cultural power is. Therefore, the terms of the discussion going forward will depend on who engages with them and how. Let’s seize that opportunity. A new movement to destroy casual divorce that brought together supporters and opponents of gay marriage would reframe the marriage debate in America. Such cross-ideological coalitions are actually very common in politics – consider the immigration debate, which pits libertarians and ethnic collectivists on one side against big business and big labor on the other. This is often the way old battle lines get redrawn. The way the lines are drawn now, we are losing badly. Time to get entrepreneurial.

Foster’s argument is consistent with what I’ve argued on this blog. You can read his whole piece here.


About Matthew J. Tuininga

Matthew J. Tuininga is the Assistant Professor of Moral Theology at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Posted on February 1, 2013, in Divorce, Marriage and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Is same-sex marriage distracting conservatives from the greater threat to marriage?.

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