Marriage And Discrimination

Pete Wehner is offended that his view that his relationship should be worth more than mine under the law because he's heterosexual can be described as "discriminatory." How can it not be discriminatory? You may want to describe your view as merely wanting "to preserve the traditional meaning of marriage," but when that preservation is entirely limited to keeping gays out, and you want the law to enforce such a distinction, then it is simply a fact that discrimination is your policy. You think it's good discrimination, but it's still discrimination unrelated to any civil marital responsibility a gay couple is prepared to fulfill.

This remains true however such a policy is maintained or arrived at - by courts or legislatures or, as is usually the case in the US, some combination thereof. What neither Wehner nor Obama have fully grappled with is that there are really only two coherent positions: civil equality or civil discrimination. Obama wants to end discrimination but not embrace equality; Wehner wants discrimination but not the moral taint of being a bigot. These straddling positions are not unusual in the midst of social change. But we have reached a point at which the useful fictions on which they rest are crumbling.

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Horrors of Rat Hole Mining

"The river was our source of water. Now, the people won't touch it."

Video

What's Your Favorite Slang Word?

From "swag" to "on fleek," tweens choose.

Video

Cryotherapy's Dubious Appeal

James Hamblin tries a questionable medical treatment.

Video

Confessions of Moms Around the World

In Europe, mothers get maternity leave, discounted daycare, and flexible working hours.

Video

How Do Trees Know When It's Spring?

The science behind beautiful seasonal blooming

Just In