Why Conservatives Should Abandon the Gay Marriage “Issue”

Hilarious sign supporting gay marriage

From "Hilarious signs supporting gay marriage" at HappyPlace.com

At the risk of invoking hate mail from either pole of this debate, I’m calling for Conservatives to abandon ship on the “issue” of gay marriage. It’s time we – politically speaking – build a bridge and get over it.

Pause for the collective gasp from the audience…

Here’s the “issue:” Fighting over gay marriage is a lose-lose scenario politically. While standing firm that marriage is between a man and a woman might engender some support among some minority groups (African-Americans and Hispanics, for example) and may invigorate some portion of the “base”, the stance ultimately gives the Left cannon fodder for the continued claim that the GOP is the party of hate, misogyny, homophobia and exclusion. (If you don’t get what I’m saying, read the really lousy rhetorical arguments posed by one Christian in this dreadful argument in support of gay marriage…)

The reality of gay marriage is that it isn’t any of the government’s damn business in the first place who you choose to marry.

While I believe we live in a Center-Right culture based on the Judeo-Christian values, I also believe that a government that can regulate if two men or two women can marry can also regulate a lot of other things that heterosexual people won’t be so happy about.

My faith tradition supports the concept of marriage as a Union blessed by God that exists between a man and a woman. My interpretation of Scripture supports that. If my church were to choose to start performing same-sex marriages, I might have an issue to deal with personally.

Political cartoon on gay marriage

Political cartoon from "The Conservative Case for Gay Marriage" at Angry Black Lady Chronicles.

If the government allows two committed, loving people to openly pledge themselves to a life together based on the underlying precepts of marriage, that is in no way an affront to what I believe, nor does it cheapen my own marriage, consecrated by a minister in the sight of God.

Let me explain a different way – we’re dealing with two concepts of marriage here: the spiritual, and the secular. The issue of gay marriage should be debated in the spiritual community, and the different religious sects, creeds and denominations can choose how they feel, believe or interpret the Word of God (or teachings of their particular Deity, I suppose). The secular issue – should states (or the federal government) allow same-sex marriage – is one that is a distraction from the true role of government.

Barrack Obama, for once, is right – even if he’s right for the wrong reasons. As a would-be political analyst, I think the President made a politically-calculated move. I don’t believe his stance on gay marriage is any different today than it has ever been, but I believe the President decided it was in his best political interest to stake his claim as a supporter of gay marriage – and states’ rights.

Even so, he’s absolutely right that it’s time that the rights and benefits afforded to “traditional” married couples be extended to homosexual couples who choose to make the same commitment and covenant. Medical benefits, property rights, insurance issues, etc., are a no-brainer here.

Continuing to rage against the desire of people to live inside the commitment of a marriage is not only a gross misappropriation of the role of government (remember, Conservatives believe first and foremost in a limited government), it is – more importantly – politically foolish. Those within the Conservative movement who rally behind social causes aren’t going to vote for a Liberal anyway, so there is little to lose and not much to gain from clinging to this issue as a battle standard.

From Forbes on why "gay marriage will win the Democrats 40 more years."

In fact, let me say this: social issues, in general, need to play a distant role compared to the major issues of the day – namely the economy, our national defense, and the proper role of government.

If a candidate for office doesn’t get it right on issues of a fiscal or defense nature, it doesn’t matter that he is pro-life or not. Likewise, if a candidate is great on the economy and national security, but is a little squeamish about gay marriage, it’s time to say “two out of three ain’t bad.”

The extremism that comes from backing or rejecting candidates on social issues is damaging to the overal scope of what a well-run government can and should do in the first place. When I was starting my career, I worked at a Christian talk radio station. A number of the hosts and listeners clearly based their voting decisions primarily on the issues of abortion or gay marriage. While those are certainly very big, very important, and very controversial issues, they pale in comparison to the importance of maintaining a strong fiscal policy and national security posture.

We have to keep first things first – we can continue to have the differences inherent in the spiritual aspect of the gay marriage debate, but it’s time for Conservatives to recognize that homosexual voters are still voters, too.

This isn’t about Adam & Eve vs. Adam & Steve, it’s about good politics, good policy, and ultimately, good government.

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About Andy Vance

Grains and Biofuels Editor at Feedstuffs, the weekly newspaper for agribusiness, and resident blogger at BeefProducer.com. If the pen is truly mightier than the sword, I may be the most dangerous man I know...

7 Responses to “Why Conservatives Should Abandon the Gay Marriage “Issue””

  1. C’mon Andy — you’re saying give up because someone who doesn’t like you already, might not like you for standing your ground ?

  2. I don’t think that’s how I would characterize my comments, John… I’m saying that I think it’s silly that we’re fighting over how a secular institution chooses to recognize the domestication of a pair of its citizens. As a Christian man, I can believe one thing about gay marriage, the gay lifestyle, etc., and still believe the limited government I so desire has no compelling reason to legislate or regulate this issue.

  3. Thanks Andy for one of the more common sense statements on this issue. We conservatives want government out of our lives until we want government to regulate something we don’t agree with.
    If you replaced race for sexual orientation, you would find the issue of same-sex marriage almost identical to the debate about inter-racial marriage – a debate that occured not that many years ago. Just like that debate, we will look back on this one with equal puzzlement 25 years from now. Again – good comments.

    • Jon, you’re right on the money – that is exactly why I get really steamed about the dogged focus of some of our ideological brethren on social issues. Yes, they may be important, but if we believe the foundational principle of Conservatism is limited government, social issues can’t have the primacy we see in debates like these.

      And I totally agree with the interracial marriage analogy.

  4. The dreadful article you mention http://bit.ly/JeChHq in your post appears to be popular – one thousand two hundred likes. Perhaps it appeals to the more liberal minded christians

  5. I think we are forgetting the reason we are all here. Freedom. The freedom to practice the religion of our liking. We must continue separation of church and state. The point of this issue should be not whether it is right or wrong. That is the judgement that will be from our Maker. The issue is to financially benefit as you said Andy, “a pair of citizens.” I think it would be beneficial to allow “pairs” to enter into agreement for the finical benefits.
    There are many friends, sisters and sisters that are heterosexual that would benefit greatly from the perks of a “marriage.” Think about those relationships that when an adult sibling cares for another for a lifetime (remove disabled persons from this scenario) and in the eyes of health insurance he or she is merely a roommate. One example is a sister pair that lived together for all of their lives. They raised their children together and both worked. One had insurance and the other did not. It would have benefited them greatly if they could have enjoyed a family insurance plan.

    Some people marry for benefits.. stay married for benefits, divorce for government benefits… Insurance is a large factor in this movement that I can see. I will agree that indeed there are “pairs” that truly want the acknowledgement of their relationship status and that should be between them and their god and have nothing to do with taxes or health insurance.


  1. More on the ‘trouble with boys’ | Andy Vance - June 5, 2013

    [...] This belief isn’t, by the way, a condemnation of the so-called metrosexual, and it certainly has nothing to do with the increasing acceptance of homosexuality in our culture (before you brand me a racist/bigot/homophobe, read my piece supporting gay marriage). [...]