Continuing his writing on gay marriage, Douthat rebuts Noah Millman and Glenn Greenwald. He also notes that a response to the Dish is forthcoming. The Greenwald debate is a classic liberal-Tory divide. The liberal sees the law and culture operating independently; the Tory sees the law as influencing culture. I lean toward the Tory view. And I do not believe that the desire of so many gay couples to join together in civil marriage somehow undermines the institution. If anything, it is surely a sign of the resilience of the institution that in this day and age, so many are demanding access to it, who would previously have been excluded.
Who else is celebrating civil marriage today the way gay couples are? Have not gay people actually affected the culture recently in ways that celebrate rather than demean civil marriage? And have we not also in many ways adopted tradition as opposed to radicalism in this respect? My own vows, for example, were quite specific: till death do us part. I am sure we will have bumps on the road, and we are both human and will fail. But we committed to be there for one another for ever. We meant it. We are not alone. In this, many gays are actually embracing an ideal of civil marriage that many straights do not. Why can this not fit into an understanding of the social impact of this reform?