What is going on in the Republican Party? In a major departure from the national party’s stance—and even from past statements by the candidates—at least 75 Republicans signed a legal brief on Monday that says gay people have the constitutional right to marry. The brief will be submitted to a California court this week as part of a suit against the state’s controversial Proposition 8, a 2008 ballot measure that outlawed gay marriage. Among the signatures were 2012 Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman…
From Huntsman’s recent Marriage Equality is a Conservative Cause
[W]e must demand equality under the law for all Americans.
There is nothing conservative about denying other Americans the ability to forge [a marriage] with the person they love.
[T]he American people will not hear us out if we stand against their friends, family, and individual liberty.
Yasmin Nair: Gay Marriage IS a Conservative Cause
All of this has led gays and their straight allies to exult in having the support of conservatives. Apparently, there is nothing that confirms that a cause is right and progressive and just dandy more than the fact that a bunch of fat cat capitalists who have supported the looting of the world and generally have appalling politics around race, gender, and neo-colonialism also support it.
Out of all this emerges an implicit statement, that even conservatives support gay marriage, that even conservatives admit that gay marriage is a good thing. It means that there is somehow a left argument to be made for gay marriage.
But there has never been a left case for gay marriage. Nothing that the left, progressives, or liberals have stated in support of gay marriage has ever been anything but a profoundly conservative argument.
Gays and lesbians should be allowed to marry for healthcare? That simply shores up the power of the neoliberal state, compelling people to marry and take on the burden for their own care, instead of creating, for instance, a system that grants life-saving benefits to everyone, regardless of marital status.
This is a matter of “simple equality?” How is a system that systematically denies those same benefits to single people ever anything but fundamentally unequal?
That denying marriage to some is denying them their ability to love or to have their love affirmed? If your love depends upon the recognition of the state, your relationship is in greater trouble than you think.
That poor people will somehow benefit from marriage by accessing healthcare through their partners? Poor people’s problems don’t arise from their inability to get married and in a country without universal healthcare, marriage only compounds your poverty. And, really, if you’re poor, neither you nor your partner is likely to have healthcare anyway; the last thing you want is to increase the burden on your household by increasing the number of people in it.
There is no separate conservative case for gay marriage. There has never been a left/progressive case for gay marriage. The surprise is not that gay marriage is now being embraced by conservatives and neoliberals. The surprise is that it took them so long to do so.