(How) Will Gay Marriage Weaken Marriage as a Social Institution?: A Reply to Andrew Koppelman

The following article is from the Fall 2004 University of St. Thomas Law Journal Symposium on the Federal Marriage Amendment:

In his provocative essay, Andrew Koppelman reiterates the new conventional wisdom: arguments against gay marriage are failing, and the future of gay marriage is practically assured.  Opponents of same-sex marriage are, he says, “tongue-tied”:

Life in a  democratic and pluralistic society tends to promote more egalitarian attitudes toward differences of gender and sexual orientation.  That’s reflected in the generational divide over same-sex marriage: while most Americans oppose it, most 18-to-29-year-olds are in favor.

. . .

The story of opposition to same-sex marriage is one of steady decay.

Indeed, Koppelman describes the case against gay marriage as so irrational as to be something close to evidence of mental illness.  Those of opposed to gay marriage are: “blasting away at invisible phantoms . . . insulat[ed] from reality,” displaying an unseemly “eagerness to scapegoat innocent people,” and rather like those ignorant Salem villagers who hunted down witches, “unable to understand the forces . . . transforming their world.”  Opposition to gay marriage is thus merely “a report of a mental association,” which amounts to “magical thinking”:

“Gay people appear to be associated in many people’s minds with social trends that they dislike.”

Scholars don’t usually talk like this.

To read the essay in its entirety, click here . . .