Russell Kirk once said conservatism was not a set of ideas as much as “a mood.” If so then conservatism is in a curious mood as gay marriage gains wider acceptance. There has always been a schism between fiscal conservatives and social conservatives but as homosexuality has become more normalized and less taboo, particularly to younger people, the conservative movement seems to be confused and having new and strange feelings towards progressive social positions. But when confronted with their hidden truth they lash out. A love that dare not speak its name?
Take Kevin Williamson of National Review.
For the record I object to being called a Democrat.
But more to the point. Williamson wrote a piece defending himself and his National Review colleague Jonah Goldberg on their support for gay marriage being conservative.
Gay marriage is somewhere around No. 8,373 on the list of things I care about, as I think I’ve mentioned before, but I think I’d still go with Cheney and Portman and Deroy. The tendency among conservatives to read out those who disagree with them on one issue out of every hundred is tedious and self-defeating, not to mention distasteful.
But is supporting gay marriage conservative? Or are conservatives once again trying to pull a fast one on everybody as they did previously with civil rights, claiming that racial equality was somehow traditionally an American value despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. To reverse the famous John Kerry gaffe – they voted against it before they voted for it.
It still seems a little late in the game or perhaps early in the historical record to attempt revisionism and claim that supporting gay rights is in the conservative tradition.The conservative movement built its Reagan-Bush(-Bush) coalition with the Moral Majority a group that could not be more clear on their view of gay rights – Hell No!
The column Williamson took issue with by National Organization For Marriage Political Director Frank Schubert lays the argument out rather clearly.
You can’t support gay marriage and claim to be a conservative any more than you can be “pro-choice” on abortion and claim to be a conservative.Is Michael Bloomberg or Arnold Schwarzenegger a conservative? Any Republican who supports same-sex marriage is in a similar boat.
Homosexual activists are hoping that these statements by moderate or liberal elites in the GOP will appeal to Republicans who make up a majority on the Court — especially Justice Anthony Kennedy. The fact remains, though, that support for true marriage is rock-solid among Republicans in general, and conservatives in particular.
Schubert’s logic is pretty sound. You can certainly be a Republican and be for gay marriage but being for gay marriage is antithetical to the most basic values of conservatism such as abortion. What would one call a pro-choice pro-gay marriage public official? I imagine conservative does not come to mind.
Then again, given that according to some conservatism does not really mean anything concrete in the abstract, well, the more the merrier. Please enjoy the rest of the conservative blog we run here at FDL.