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The Marriage Buffet

David Frum

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Read this to understand what's at stake with gay marriage.

A week ago, the writer Andrew Sullivan issued on this very page a challenge to political conservatives: Now that the Supreme Court has declared that homosexuality can no longer be considered a crime, what do you think it is? If homosexuality is not a crime, on what grounds can conservatives justify denying homosexuals any of the rights they seek, including the right to marry a person of the same sex? In short, there is a demand that conservatives state some kind of "policy" on homosexuality.

Something like 25% of the American population describes itself as "conservative." That's nearly 75 million people. It would be hazardous to generalize about what this large population thinks or does not think on the subject of homosexuality. Some no doubt think it a terrible sin. Others surely regard it as a harmless preference. A good many of them are no doubt homosexual themselves. But if I had to guess, I'd guess that the very large majority of American conservatives have for many years regarded homosexuality as something that just is, and that should be tolerated in the same spirit of live-and-let-live with which they tolerate all the other variations of the human species.

But for some advocates of change, "live and let live" is not enough. They are riding a very fast train, and it does not halt at any stops between the criminalization of homosexuality and full state recognition of homosexual relationships. But there are many such stops, and marriage is the most important of them.

Let's start with a basic premise: The gay marriage debate is perceived by many as a debate about gays. It is not. It is a debate about marriage.

Read the entire article on the Wall Street Journal website.



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