A Guide to the Last Anti-Gay Marriage Holdouts and What They Really Believe

Many politicians and pundits have noticed that gay marriage has become so popular that they have to evolve on the issue to stay relevant. But there are still several conservatives who do have strong feelings. There are a few distinct arguments against gay marriage, and they don't always mesh well together.

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Many politicians and pundits have noticed that gay marriage has suddenly become so popular that they have to evolve on the issue to stay relevant. Even Fox News' Bill O'Reilly said Tuesday night, "The compelling argument is on the side of homosexuals." Sure, "the homosexuals" is a dated way to phrase it, but O'Reilly said he supports civil unions and has no strong feelings about gay marriage. But there are still several conservatives who do have strong feelings. There are a few distinct arguments against gay marriage, and they don't always mesh well together. Here they are:

Case: Gay marriage is weird.

Case maker: Rush Limbaugh

Explanation: "No, I don't think the framers of the Constitution never once imagined that ever, in the history of humanity, would this question ever come up and be treated with validity," Limbaugh said Tuesday in response to oral arguments over California's Prop 8. "Do you think Washington and Adams and Jefferson and Monroe said, 'You know, we can see three, 400 years down the line where marriage isn't gonna be between a man and a woman.'?" Gay marriage supporters are using the Fourteenth Amendment to link gay marriage to civil rights, Limbaugh said, "because it's all about optics and imagery and PR, and if you've got a civil right, no matter what it is, it may as well be draped in gold. A civil right is unchallengeable. A civil right is the most powerful right anybody can have.  nd people who oppose them are bigots.... It's a civil right, and you start comparing this to slavery and women not being able to vote and all that.  And that's how normalcy ends up getting perverted and trumped up to be things that it isn't."

Translation: Rush is still not cool with the gays.

Case: Since marriage should have never been defined by government, it shouldn't be redefined by government now.

Case maker: Dana Loesch, writing for the conservative blog RedState.

Explanation: "Marriage is a covenant between a man, woman, and God before God on His terms. It is a religious civil liberty, not a right granted by government," Loesch wrote Tuesday. "It should never have been regulated by government in the first place, and government shouldn’t have an expanded reach in further regulating it now. There is no allowance constitutionally that invites our government to define the religious covenant of marriage. I’ve no issue with same sex couples entering into contractual agreements with each other or sharing benefits (the military decisions should be made by those with the credit of service day in and day out, not civilian advocacy groups)."

Translation: Government can redefine marriage if the redefiners have worked for a specific branch of the government for a long time. (For the record, this is especially important in the military, and not something to be tossed aside casually. If you are married to a soldier, for example, you can get an ID card to get on post, you get to live abroad with your spouse if he or she is stationed overseas, you get medical care, your spouse gets paid more money for housing, and if your soldier dies in combat, you are the first the know. If you are not married, you get none of those things.)

Case: Liberals want tolerance except for Christ.

Case maker: Erick Erickson, editor of RedState.

Explanation: There is "a silver lining" on gay marriage, Erickson writes Wednesday, and that is that Christians will soon see the true bigotry of the left. "The left will use the state to tell churches what to do or force churches to give up their primary purpose of going and teaching in Jesus’s name. If gay marriage advocates are successful, churches will not be able to open their doors to the unchurched unless they include everyone.... For years, liberals have peddled a emo weepy Jesus who loves everyone and tolerates everyone and everything... Individuals who sat on the sidelines or thought it could never happen are realizing the extent of hostility to the church that so many advocates of gay marriage have."

Translation: Christians are the true victims of prejudice and bigotry.

Case: There is not enough social science about gay marriage.

Case makers: Leon Kass of the University of Chicago and Harvey Mansfield of Harvard University, and several conservative publications that picked up their argument, such as The National Review and The Weekly Standard.

Explanation: Kass and Mansfield filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court cautioning that most social science research that shows having gay parents doesn't hurt kids was produced by activists, not dispassionate scientists. The Weekly Standard's Andrew Ferguson explains their argument:

It is the aim of Kass and Mansfield to wave the Supreme Court away from “scientific findings” that are produced by culture warriors, as the findings in the field of “gay studies” nearly always are. “The social and behavioral sciences,” they write, “have a long history of being shaped and driven by politics and ideology.” ...

In all aspects of gay marriage, Kass and Mansfield write, the “body of research .  .  . is radically inconclusive.” There’s good reason for this, aside from the suspect motives and methods of the researchers themselves. Same-sex marriage and child rearing by self-defined same-sex couples are recent innovations. Whatever effects may flow from these unprecedented arrangements, good or bad or neutral, they are scientifically unknowable until gay marriage and child rearing are widespread enough to yield large samples that can be studied according to a rigorous methodology. “Large amounts of data collected over decades,” write Kass and Mansfield, “would be required before any responsible researcher could make meaningful scientific estimates of the effects.”

Translation: We are not anti-gay, we are pro-science.

Case: I'm not gay.

Case maker: Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss

Explanation: "I'm not gay," Chambliss said. "So I'm not going to marry one."

Translation: Problems do not exist until they are my problems.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.