Argument: Gay marriage is a radical social experiment

Issue Report: Gay marriage


Jack Kerwick. “The failed case for gay marriage.” Intellectual Conservative. February 19th, 2010: “It may very well be the case that ‘gay marriage’ will not have the deleterious effects on the institution of marriage that its critics predict, and it could also be true that ‘gay marriage’ could contribute to the cultivation of the virtues of individual responsibility and selflessness, as its supporters claim. We can’t know for sure. […] And that is precisely the point. […] In varying degrees, virtually every person has a conservative disposition with respect to change. Now, contrary to what leftists of various types have been telling us for centuries, there isn’t a single person, conservative or otherwise, “opposed to change,” whatever such a ridiculous expression could possibly mean. Change is constant. But the conservative disposition to which I refer is a disposition to prefer small changes over large ones, gradual changes over revolutionary changes, changes that are to as great an extent possible continuous with the past over those that radically depart from it. […] That every person is “a creature of habit,” as we say, decisively establishes the universality of the conservative disposition, for to develop a habit, to say nothing of multiple habits-a person without any habits at all is inconceivable-is to acquire an attachment to the present, and thus, an aversion to anything that threatens to disrupt, much less radically disrupt, it. […] “Gay marriage” would mark, at the very least, a potentially radical alteration in the institution of marriage. We don’t know what its impact, not just on marriage, but on a host of institutions, will be, but we do know that it will have an impact, and a considerable one at that. The critics of ‘gay marriage’ do no one a bad turn, then, in refusing to exchange a certain present for a most uncertain future.”