Gay Marriage and Conservatism

A St. Louis Missouri House Member has introduced an amendment to the Missouri Constitution to allow gay marriage. The amendment is unlikely to be voted upon because of opposition from Conservative lawmakers. But at some point Conservatives are going to have to support gay marriage; not doing so is counter to the movement’s values.

Cultural norms matter. They help foster the success of individuals and in aggregate the success of our nation. The moral character of our nation matters. I know many conservatives are concerned about the impact of the “gay lifestyle” on our moral character and the future of our country. By chance I was a long-time part owner of a late night lounge with a very broad clientele. I can tell you from experience that what Conservatives refer to as the “gay lifestyle” is about the same as the rock and roll lifestyle or the hip hop lifestyle, just with house music. When you get right down to it, it’s the party lifestyle, regardless of musical choices or sexual orientation.

I’ve seen my share of people living the different party lifestyles, and certainly went through long stretches as a fellow traveler. My partying friends think it shouldn’t be anyone else’s business how they live their lives. But maximizing fun rarely maximizes economic gain. Again, speaking from personal experience, it’s harder to focus on getting ahead each day if you are staying up until 2:00 in the morning many nights of the week. And if you don’t accumulate some wealth during your prime working years there is a pretty good chance you will not have enough to live on in your later years, which means that the government will have to do more to support you.

“Government” is an abstraction – it is other taxpayers that will have to pay. And serious people tend to pay more in taxes than less serious people do. So it’s not unreasonable that the serious people want the less serious people to get a grip. There is an old saying – “Your right to swing your fist ends at my nose”. The same holds true with respect to lifestyles – your right to party ends at my wallet.

The way most people leave the party lifestyle is to get married and have kids. Our country has numerous reasons to want two people to get married. Financially, a married couple is far more likely to do a good job preparing for their future and less likely to be dependent upon other taxpayers. A person that grows old alone is more likely to need government – taxpayer – support. And marriage provides a stronger framework for rearing children hopefully into self-sufficient, tax-paying citizens.

The same benefits for both the state and the couple are realized with gay marriage. Certainly there are physical differences in the union because there are two men or women instead of a man and woman, but the physical differences don’t change or lessen any of the benefits to the state or the couple. Having children for a gay couple might take the input of a third person, but regardless of how the child is conceived and birthed the state still benefits from having the child born into a two person family, and certainly the state benefits from any vehicle that allows two people to better accumulate wealth and care for themselves. Allowing gay couples to step into a ready-made body of laws and norms instead of having to contractually define the parameters of their relationship greatly eases the process of starting and living a life together.

And this is why Conservatives need to support gay marriage, and yes, even adoption by gay couples – it is the best antidote for the “gay lifestyle”. Yes, the antidote to the gay lifestyle is gay marriage. Again, speaking from experience, the gays I know in committed relationships are no more likely to party like rock stars than the married people – gay couples in committed relationships are easily as boring as any straight married couple I know.

Missouri will continue to be a Conservative state, and also a very religious state. I know that many of my more religious friends consider homosexuality to be a sin. But if that is the case, it is for God to judge, not other men and women. From the standpoint of the state, and from the principles of Conservatism, gay marriage should be allowed and even encouraged – it will improve the moral character of our nation.

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