The Conservative Case for Gay Marriage

After the New Jersey Senate’s disgraceful vote to deny equal rights to same-sex couples, the fight for marriage equality turns to federal court.  Testimony began today in the effort to overturn California’s Proposition 8.

A fascinating subplot can be found in the fact that the lead legal adversaries in Bush v. Gore have joined forces to make the case for marriage equality.  The Republican, Ted Olson, is featured on the cover of Newsweek this week with an eloquent explanation of why he took the case.  An excerpt (emphasis added):

Many of my fellow conservatives have an almost knee-jerk hostility toward gay marriage. This does not make sense, because same-sex unions promote the values conservatives prize. Marriage is one of the basic building blocks of our neighborhoods and our nation. At its best, it is a stable bond between two individuals who work to create a loving household and a social and economic partnership. We encourage couples to marry because the commitments they make to one another provide benefits not only to themselves but also to their families and communities. Marriage requires thinking beyond one’s own needs. It transforms two individuals into a union based on shared aspirations, and in doing so establishes a formal investment in the well-being of society. The fact that individuals who happen to be gay want to share in this vital social institution is evidence that conservative ideals enjoy widespread acceptance. Conservatives should celebrate this, rather than lament it.