Why Do Conservatives Oppose Gay Marriage?

The ongoing battle between the supporters and opponents of gay marriage has left me with a question: if you’re a conservative opponent of gay marriage, what leads you to oppose it?

This isn’t just a question for Republicans, and no, I’m not unaware of the amount of political influence that conservative evangelicals exercise in this country. I’ve always looked at conservatives as the kind of people who want to limit the government’s power, hence their opposition to federal regulation in the private sector.

So why would conservatives want the government to have so much power that it can decide whether two adults can marry each other?

Thoughts?

(And please, if you’re going to comment, be respectful of each other.)

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4 thoughts on “Why Do Conservatives Oppose Gay Marriage?

  1. Brendan Shea January 8, 2012 / 3:01 pm

    I don’t think the government should have any say in any marriage. The very system of marriage licensing harkens the day when two people couldn’t get married without the king’s blessing. Our nation was founded as a “nation under God” because we wanted to proclaim in an era when nations were not viewed as legitimate without royal authority that we could be legitimate without royal authority because our authority comes from the grand architect of the universe (to steal the freemason terminology). But this doesn’t mean we don’t have a secular nation. We DO have a secular nation because a theocracy is no different than an autocracy. And as a secular nation, our government should have no say in how we conduct our personal lives.

    The conservative movement in our country has been co-opted by Christian extremism (abortion clinic bombers, racial, religious and sexual bigots, militaristic Zionists), and with it has come a desire for groups of people to use the government to force their views on everyone else. It is a pro-theocracy movement that is ironically anti-Sharia. It is a movement, that for all intents and purposes, is not true conservatism. (Which I guess is why it is called Neo-Conservatism). So, to try and reconcile traditional conservative views of small government and non-interventionism with the neo-conservative views of moral absolutism and militaristic crusades is an exercise in futility.

    • Justin January 8, 2012 / 8:22 pm

      I think there are some good points there, but I don’t believe that no one was trying to force their views on the rest of the country until right-leaning Christians started blending religious views with political agendas. Isn’t everyone, regardless of their political leanings, trying to do that in some fashion?

  2. Fr. Anastasios Hudson January 11, 2012 / 4:59 pm

    I go back and forth on the question of whether the government should be involved in marriage at all. After all, I don’t really believe in democracy or a republic (I would prefer a constitutional monarchy with strong reserve powers such as Thailand), but since we live in such a system, I tend towards libertarianism. I think abortion should be outlawed, because it hurts another person, but I don’t think that criminalizing most drugs and sexual activities is really worth it or productive. I certainly find it disturbing when religious right types like Perry mix religion and politics, although i think Brendan above paints way too broad of a stroke in his description of conservatives.

    To cut to the chase, a friend of mine is a priest and used to be a teacher in the public school system there (many priests who have to work to supplement their income work as teachers since there is a close relationship between caring for people and teaching, etc). He was careful to never push his personal beliefs in the classroom, so for instance he never told students that homosexuality was wrong because the Orthodox Church says it is, nor did he try to make arguments from natural law, etc., even though he clearly believed that homosexual activity is sinful. However, while he tried to distinguish his beliefs from what he taught publicly in the classroom, it didn’t seem to work both ways.

    After homosexual marriage was legalized in Massachusetts, curricula supportive of homosexuality was developed and implemented. Units began to be required that taught “milestones in homosexual history” akin to Black History Month, where it was clear that the curriculum assumed that homosexuality is normal, fine, healthy, and that opposition to it is bigoted, narrow-minded, wrong, etc. A friend of his was fired from a job because, when a homosexual co-worker went around announcing that she was gay and that she had just gotten married to her lover in Massachusetts now that the law changed, he did not congratulate her directly, but tried to excuse himself from the conversation/situation. She realized what was going on, and began to hound him: “do you not accept my lifestyle?” He tried to demur, but eventually he politely replied, “no, I do not, because of my Christian faith.” She then went to the manager, complained that he was bigoted, and he was fired on the spot.

    So while it would be nice if we could all just do our own thing and separate the government from social structures, in reality, Christians who support the traditional Christian view of homosexuality will eventually be pushed into a situation where they are viewed as bigots and akin to the KKK. In Britain, a Christian couple was recently denied the right to adopt, since they did not believe in homosexuality. Discrimination in the name of tolerance will continue to grow in this nation, which is why while I am skeptical of the government being involved in marriage at all, as long as it is involved, I do not support homosexual marriage because of the implications it has on the Christian population.

    Father Anastasios

    • Justin January 11, 2012 / 9:19 pm

      Fr. Anastasios,

      Did your friend’s story happen to make the news? I’d like to read more about it, if I could.

      To offer some pushback against your last paragraph, though, churches were never forced to stop discriminating against people of different races (to name one example) even as discriminatory laws were being overturned or rebuffed. So while more people will (most likely) view anti-same-sex marriage Christians as bigots, can we really expect the tide to turn that much against them?

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