Maggie’s recent newsletter on the gender divide and the “new conversation on marriage” has started a real debate on the web. First, The Atlantic conceded her point on changing definitions of marriage and now Juicy Ecumenism (the blog for the Institute on Religion and Democracy) is exploring the same theme. See the excerpt below or go here to read the full article.
Searching for Common Ground in the “Marriage Culture Wars”
Kristin Rudolph (@kristin_rudolph)
Recently the Institute for American Values launched a “New Conversation on Marriage,” including the possibility that same-sex marriage (SSM) advocates could bolster help bolster the institution. The “conversation” was launched in February this year, and follows IAV president, David Blankenhorn’s announcement last June that he now approves of SSM. On March 5th, IAV held the first of a nine part series of discussions about marriage with a variety of leaders from different fields. This first “conversation” featured Jonathan Haidt, a NYU professor and author of The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion discussing “Can We Get Beyond the Marriage Culture Wars?”
Blankenhorn and Haidt began by discussing a major premise of Haidt’s book, that to understand those you disagree with, you must know what they hold “sacred.” Haidt explained how in reaction to the sexual revolution, conservatives emphasized the importance of the family, and “marriage, gender roles … became the front line in the Culture Wars.” These became sacred issues for conservatives, while the opposite was true for liberals. Because marriage was viewed as oppressive and patriarchal toward women by liberals, whose “sacred value was inclusiveness,” conservative emphasis on marriage was offensive.
They addressed what factors have lead to potential points of unity between conservatives and liberals regarding marriage. Haidt suggested a major shift happened for liberals last July following a New York Times article titled “Two Classes in America Divided by ‘I Do,’” which explored the link between marriage and socioeconomic inequality. Blankenhorn said marriage could now be seen as “a social justice issue,” so liberals might promote it for reasons besides traditional morality.