Douthat's never worth reading, and this column's no exception. He never lets the text of what he reads get in the way of his desire to just list a bunch of unsupported junk in a true-sounding way. If the "one token conservative columnist" rule doesn't finally die with Ross in for Kristol, it won't be for his lack of trying to kill it.
"But if we just accept this shift, we’re giving up on one of the great ideas of Western civilization: the celebration of lifelong heterosexual monogamy as a unique and indispensable estate."

Because all those heterosexuals are going to convert to homosexuality once they see just how fabulous gay life is? Marriage will be tarnished by the "icky factor" if we have to share it with the gays?

Lets get real here. Its all just another way of saying "Keep it behind closed doors where I don't have to see it, and get off my grass!"

Sad, isn't it, that the Woodstock generation, of which I am a part, grew up to be such intolerant asswipes.
Dan: I appreciate your even-handed take on Douthat's piece. Douthat is clearly someone who will eventually come around to marriage equality. You can almost see it in his writing.
I'd also argue Dan, that what really gets my goat about the anti-gay marriage people that claim opposite-sex marriage is the "foundation" for which society is able to function is utter bullshit.

When John Doe looks into Jane Doe's eyes and proclaims his love and desire to marry, not ONCE does the idea that his union to her is the foundation to this society. That he does so to propagate the species. That in doing so, he is making society "better."

No. He is doing so because he LOVES her. PERIOD. That he wants to build his life with her and make a better tomorrow for "THEM," not society. At the very moment John Doe asks for Jane Doe's hand in marriage, he and her could give a rat's ass what society thinks of them doing so.

I'm just waiting for the anti-gay marriage people to finally wake up to this. Then maybe they'll understand that same-sex marriage is truly about one thing, marrying the person that you love and want to build a life with.

But, this is just my opinion, so I could be wrong.
Supporting inequality requires mental gymnastics and arguments based in fear.
Well said, Dan! His passage that "committed gay relationships" are superior to serial monogomist straight relationships" sounds positive at first. But really what he is saying is that there is an order to it, and in that order, the implication is that while committed gays are superior to serial straights, committed straights are superior to committed gays.

And here we are at square one again.
Bunch of blather. It amuses and irritates me when people try and philosophize their discrimination. And how in the hell did Limbaugh get such a hot wife? Crap.
My brain hurts.

Dan, let me get this straight, and please correct me if I'm wrong. The crux of Douthat's argument is, the substantive arguments again gay marriage are all bullshit...but we should continue to discriminate anyway in favor of upholding what remains of some nebulous sexual ideal of marriage. Despite the fact that (1) such an ideal does not (and in all honesty at no point in history really did) exist; and (2) there's nothing Douthat provides to support the notion that gay relationships are inherently less-than-ideal.

I fail to see how this is more decent than the arguments from, say, a Maggie Gallagher. She's a crazy bitch, but at least she honestly believes that gay and lesbian couples are a threat. Douthat openly acknowledges that they aren't, and yet believes we should continue to deprive millions upon millions of people of their civil rights for the sake of...something.

Dan, as you yourself acknowledge (and quote), his argument comes down to, "Straight people are just better, and we should continue to discriminate against gay people as a result." What's that about decency now?
At least Douthat comes right out and says that opposing gay marriage is straight up legal discrimination in the name of tradition. He may have not meant it that way, but there it is. It will take time, but they are going to lose.
For quite some time I have mentally pronounced his name as a slightly slurred 'Douch-hat'.
Judge Walker's decision: the gift that keeps giving. I can't stop laughing over all the theopaleocons trying to tart up their views with a diaphanous veil of reason.
The man is desperately clinging to his prejudice, even as he sees all of its justifications being swept away from under him.

I'll be if someone invited him to a gay wedding, he'd finally let go.
The pope is his ghost writer. This is the same old clap trap the Catholics have been trotting out for forever. It's bullshit. Oooh! Western civilization is in peril if you allow equal justice under the law! How scary! The opposite is true.
Why should we worry and fret and comment about anything the LOOSERZ say? What counts is what happens in court, and there, we are (and will continue to be) the WINNAHZ!!!

Just let the babies cry. They'll stop eventually.
What is surprising is how obvious the flaw in Douthat's argument is, even if you agree with all his factual claims. Even if you admit that lifelong heterosexual marriage is BETTER than lifelong homosexual marriage (not an admission I'd make, but for argument's sake), it doesn't explain why a) banning homosexual marriage would increase the number or quality of heterosexual marriages, or b) even if it did, why it would it increase the number or quality of heterosexual marriages more than banning divorce or criminalizing adultery, OR c) why it's moral for straights to ban the one thing they won't want to take part in (gay marriage) while keeping all the things they might want to take part in (divorce, adultery, etc.)

Given how obvious these holes in his argument are, how gaping the gap between assumption and conclusion, it is stunning that he lacked the self-respect to throw this nonsense column in the trash.
Another argument for expecting people who are discriminated against to live up to a higher standard than people who are not. It's not enough to make life difficult, they want people to smile while enduring the hardships. Good lord will it ever end?

Can't wait til Gov Douthat bans divorce (or at least second marriages).
I was reading that Douthat column last night, and it was so full of nuance, feigned perspective, "on the one hand, this; on the other hand, that," that by the time I'd reached the start of the next-to-last paragraph, I stopped and asked myself, "Is this guy pro-gay marriage or an anti-gay marriage?"

By the time I'd reached the end, I asked myself, "That's it? That's his argument?" Douthat himself could shoot countless holes through that as Marooner so ably explains @15.

Y'know, ideologically-tethered opinion columnists are a bit like lawyers. They can make just about any case you want them to, just sometimes they have to stretch a little to do it. And I say this just as much about Douthat's left-wing Monday NYT counterpart, Paul Krugman. In fact, I find Krugman almost as annoying as Douthat and his column today even more annoying than Douthat's latest drivel.
@18: On behalf of Mr. Krugman, I'd like to apologize to you for his annoying you by pointing out the disastrous consequences of the tax cutting and anti-government rhetoric prevalent in this country in the past few decades. Crumbling infrastructure, spiraling debt, and massive unemployment certainly aren't worth spoiling your peace and quiet about.
Cressona, I think you're barking up the wrong tree with Krugman on this one. He and Douthat aren't comparable in any way (except for annoying you, which I suspect most of us do). He's far from right about everything, but today's piece is very, very important. Srsly.
Brett Alan and gloomy gus, it wasn't fair of me to hijack this "Ross Douthat is wrong on gay marriage" thread to turn it into a "Paul Krugman is wrong" thread, especially when I agree with his larger point about the role of government. I just hate to see this guy to go back to the same traditional liberal arguments that fail to advance the debate. But again, that's another debate for another thread, and Gus, maybe you're right that I'm too easily annoyed.
Small point, but there is an anti-divorce movement in California:…
@22 The original attempt was for 2010, but I don't think it got certified in time. There are petitions out for the 2012 elections. Registered CA voters can print, sign and distribute these petitions to help get it on the ballot. It's supported by a bizarre mish-mash of people who are pro-gay rights and neo-Puritans who don't understand irony.
Ross Douthat has major sexual issues... he's either horribly repressed or a massive closet case, and he clearly doesn't much care for women. (Google "chunky Reese Witherspoon"...)
Savage writes:

'Unless Douthat is prepared to call for laws that would compel straight people to live up to the same "sexual ideal" of marriage that somehow justify discrimination against same-sex couples—and calls for laws that would punish straight people who fail to live up to that ideal (no more marriage licenses for you, Mr. Limbaugh)—then the Douthat's case for discrimination is just another bullshit patties.'

The funny thing is, Douthat *is* prepared to call for exactly those laws. He is utterly consistent, which is one reason he is the best columnist the Times has had since Bill Safire.
If you don't like divorce, end divorce.

If you don't like serial marriage, end remarriage.

If you don't like adultery, punish it.

If you don't like out-of-wedlock births, punish it (and treat the spawn like dirt for their whole lives - we've done it before, we can do it again!).

But none of things has anything to do with homosexuality. You could impose a moral system with all the usual "Christian" sexual requirements or any combination of them and it would all work just as well for a society that accepted the fact that some people form opposite-sex relationships and some form same-sex relationships.

The only connection between homosexuality and their parade of horribles is in their heads.
I'm somewhat puzzled by the dispute over "gay marriage". The term itself is redundant, like "gay Englishman". Why? Because marriage is gay!

The sappy love songs? Gay.
Best man/bridesmaid? Gay.
The husband promising to obey the wife? Very gay.
Use of the word "cherish"? Extremely gay!

The idea of trying to exclude gay people from an inherently gay institution is just so...


No, there isn't. It is being driven almost entirely by a pro-gay individual and people he has inspired in an effort to show the anti-gay marriage voters what hypocrites they are. His point is that if threats to marriage must be stopped by law, divorce should definitely be banned.

Since he knows it will never fly, his point will be to wave it in their faces and cry "Hypocrite."

Personally I wish people would stop using divorce as an example of any of the following: an indicator that straight marriage is "failing", a threat to marriage, or in any way a bad thing.

Divorce is a positive good. It allows people who are, for any reason, stuck in a bad marriage to get out of it and free themselves up for a good one.

The parade of horribles about divorce are, when you look at them, not about divorce (in the sense of ending a bad relationship), but about our societal toxicity in the WAY people divorce - screaming matches, using the kids as pawns, sullenly holding onto being married too long, or the ever popular social pressure to change the previous One True Soulmate into the Antichrist as a justification for being willing to divorce.

If divorces were amicable (and why, not? The couple at least agrees they don't want to be married to each other) most of those would evaporate. More and more people remain friends with their exes - a natural and obvious thing we need more of.

Divorce isn't a bad thing. It's just routinely done badly.
Y'know, I'd be willing to go a long way to defend an ideal, and I can even imagine circumstances in which I could find it ethical to suspend some civil rights in order to do so - a war to defend freedom, say.

But the ideal would have to have some basis in reality. It would have to actually exist, and actually be threatened, and the suggested breaches of civil rights would have to be demonstrably useful in preserving the ideal. Oh - and the people asked to give up their rights would need to agree that the ideal *is* ideal - that it is something good that is worth preserving.

I don't see any of that here. The ideal of marriage that millions of people are being asked to give up their civil rights to preserve does not exist, and it never has. Until fairly recently, marriage was mostly an economic institution. The "monogamy" part, while lip service was paid to it, was mostly only enforced when it came to women - a blind eye was turned to discreet adultery on the part of men. The ideal of lifelong monogamous marriage isn't falling apart now - it never really existed in a widespread fashion, except in the pages of sentimental novels. Individuals have always been able to have successful "ideal" marriages, but they have never been the pattern for society as a whole.

I fail to see the justification for denying rights to living breathing humans to preserve an ideal which has as much concrete reality as Santa Claus.
I like this phrase: "a uniquely admirable institution."

There are individuals who make observations about the people around them, and of nature, and also expose themselves to different viewpoints in order to get a handle on these complex ethical challenges... these are people who listen a lot and think a lot...

And then there are people who try to twist reality into knots in order to get it to cooperate with ideas that were planted in their head a long time ago...

In Douthat's case, reality is not COOPERATING!

Oh my god, he is so frustrated!
Is it just me, or did Newt, Larry and Rush marry the exact same woman?

Please wait...

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