New York and Marriage

A reader writes:

My reading of the court opinion you posted suggests a slightly different interpretation. I don't think the opinion necessarily suggests that straights are more irresponsible than gays so much as that the consequences of the same irresponsible behavior (promiscuous unsafe sex) are greater when straights engage in it because it can produce children.

I certainly don't agree with any law banning marriage between any two people, but assuming the legal point at issue was whether or not the law was overtly irrational, it appears that the court has ruled correctly. Keep in mind that by saying that, I'm not saying that the court has ruled correctly on gay marriage in general because (if my assumption is correct) they haven't ruled on that at all. But they have presented a possible rationale for the legislation (even if it's reasonably clear that their rationale is not the one used by most members of the legislature).

Agreed. But the ironies I mention remain. The good side of this is that it will, with luck, reorient gay activists toward the primary task of persuading people that we are right about equality in civil marriage. We need to keep arguing that allowing gays to marry in no way renders straight marriage more vulnerable (in fact supports it), and that our main goal should be persuading legislatures to pass marriage laws (as has already happened in California). If this ruling prompts gay couples and our allies toward legislative rather than judicial action, then it will be for the good. It has already done this, in fact. We have the better arguments. Let us trust the American people and get on with job of persuading them. We've already made great strides. And our gains will be more secure if they are achieved legislatively, rather than through courts.