Marriage

“Bake Me a Cake”: Three Paths for Balancing Liberty and Equality

gayweddingcake

At the CU-Boulder “What’s Wrong?” blog, I respond to religious conservatives who claim that anti-discrimination laws that cover sexual orientation strip them of their liberty. From the essay:

It’s worth emphasizing, however, that this concern is not unique to same-sex marriage. Oregon prohibits discrimination in public accommodations on the basis of “race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status or age . . .” If Ron and Nancy want a wedding cake, the Kleins may not refuse them on the grounds that one of them is previously divorced. If Rebecca and Mohammed want a wedding cake, the Kleins may not refuse them on the grounds that they have an interfaith relationship. If Richard and Mildred want a wedding cake, the Kleins may not refuse them on the grounds that they’re of different races—and so on.

Notice that virtually no one would frame these cases as “forcing” the Kleins to be “complicit” in the resulting marriages. That’s partly because there’s greater moral consensus on these other issues. But it’s also because people recognize that baking a wedding cake is not tantamount to participating in a marriage: If it were, there would be a lot of polygamous bakers in the world.

Read the full essay here.

If Gay Marriage, Why Not Polygamy?

In his Obergefell dissent, Chief Justice Roberts trots out a familiar slippery-slope argument:

[F]rom the standpoint of history and tradition, a leap from opposite-sex marriage to same-sex marriage is much greater than one from a two-person union to plural unions, which have deep roots in some cultures around the world. If the majority is willing to take the big leap, it is hard to see how it can say no to the shorter one.

Actually, it’s not that hard at all. For a detailed analysis of the constitutional problems with this argument, I recommend Stephen Macedo’s latest post at Slate. In terms of logic and public policy, however, we can answer Roberts with a short video, from my 2012 marriage series:

John on Polygamy in NYT “Room for Debate”

Corvino meme

In a New York Times “Room for Debate” discussion on plural marriage, John rebuts the slippery slope:

Polygamy raises a number of public-policy concerns that same-sex marriage does not. That said, the gay-rights movement has bolstered the polygamist-rights movement in one key way: by insisting that finding a practice weird or icky or religiously anathema is not sufficient reason to make it illegal.

Read his full post, and watch the accompanying video, here.

John in The Philosophers’ Magazine

TPM

In a recent issue of The Philosophers’ Magazine, John dismantles the “Definitional Objection” to same-sex marriage offered by Sherif Girgis, Robert P. George, and Ryan T. Anderson, among others. From the article:

How did we end up in such a spot? Part of the problem is that ‘comprehensive union’ is a rather vague and slippery notion: suitable for greeting-card poetry, perhaps, but not the sort of thing on which to build a marriage theory.

Read the full piece here.

John at Family Scholars Blog

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At the Family Scholars blog, John participated in a forum on “Advice for the New Marriage Conversation,” David Blankenhorn’s initiative to move past the same-sex marriage debate to a common-ground effort strengthening marriage. From his post:

Good conversations involve both talking and listening. The marriage conversation, especially when focused on “gay marriage,” has involved scant little listening. This must change.

Read John’s full post here.

What’s Left to Argue


From my New Year’s column:

2013 should also be a time to explore more deeply the significance of marriage: Now that we have it (in 9 states and counting), what should we do with it? What does it mean to aspire to it? What does a healthy marriage culture look like, and how can LGBT people make a distinctive and valuable contribution to that culture?

Read the full column at PrideSource.com.

What’s Next for the Marriage Movement

Just posted a piece at The New Republic in response to our game-changing victories in the four states with marriage votes:

It is one thing for the state to allow you to marry, and quite another for your parents to show up at your wedding and be happy for you. Both are significant….

The election is over. The pro-equality forces won, and won big. But the fight for marriage is a long game.

Read the full piece at TNR.

D’Souza: The Real Problem

My take on the D’Souza affair:

Last week, the conservative luminary Dinesh D’Souza resigned as president of The King’s College, a New York City evangelical school, after it was revealed that he brought his mistress to a Christian conference, apparently shared a room with her, and introduced her as his fiancée — even though he was still married to his wife of 20 years.

Andy Mills, chairman of the college’s Board of Trustees told students, “God has a mighty future for Dinesh, but there are some things he has to go through first” — which is evangelical-speak for “WTF was he thinking?!?”

Read the rest over at HuffPo.

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