Frum on New York Marriage
June 27th, 2011
He served in the George W Bush White House, was a fellow of the American Enterprise Institute, and wrote for the National Review. Although he has been, in more recent years, harshly critical of the Republican Party and some of their less intellectually competent political candidates, there is no questioning that Frum is a conservative Republican.
And Frum has been a vocal opponent of marriage equality. Noting the growing instability of the family and the associated social problems that statistically increase with divorce, single parenting, and out-of-wedlock parenting, Frum viewed same-sex marriage as but one aspect of a culture that had generally devalued marriage. And in 1997 he engaged in an on-line debate with Andrew Sullivan on the subject.
But those of us who oppose gay marriage, and we remain the majority at least for now, believe that these new values are not changing the family–they are destroying it, and harming those within it. As such beliefs become more widespread, so do divorce and illegitimacy. The proponents of gay marriage can only get what they want by weakening Americans’ attachment to the traditional family even more than it has already been weakened. And as such, these proponents are hastening a process of social dissolution that has already brought misery to untold millions of people, with children suffering most grievously of all.
So one might expect Frum to be furious – or at least saddened – by New York’s marriage equality bill. One would be wrong.
Writing in CNN today, Frum said
Yet I find myself strangely untroubled by New York state’s vote to authorize same-sex marriage — a vote that probably signals that most of “blue” states will follow within the next 10 years.
I don’t think I’m alone in my reaction either. Most conservatives have reacted with calm — if not outright approval — to New York’s dramatic decision.
The short answer is that the case against same-sex marriage has been tested against reality. The case has not passed its test.
The sky didn’t fall. As same-sex marriage gained recognition in a handful of states, the family structure didn’t continue to spiral into disarray. In fact, there have been no known negative social ramifications that can be directly linked to expanding the marriage institution to include same-sex families.
And so Frum did what an honorable person should do, he admitted his error.
In the heat of debate, it can sometimes be difficult to see our opponents as admirable. It’s much simpler to see them as vile bigots who are motivated by hate and religious extremism. And some are.
But there are also a good many people who oppose marriage equality out of a legitimate concern for the future of the family structure. They fear that same-sex marriage is another challenge to their efforts at restoring respect for the institution and the social contract that it entails.
They are wrong.
But while they are wrong, they are not bigots. And we will see a great many more who, like Frum, have publicly fought us but are honest enough to recognize – and admit – that they were wrong.
Let’s be gracious in welcoming them to our side.