Saturday, January 09, 2010

Ted Olson's conservative case for gay marriage

Attorney Ted Olson, renown champion of conservative and Republican causes, is currently involved in persuading a federal court to invalidate Proposition 8, a voter-approved measure that overturned the constitutional right of same-sex couples to marry in California in 2008. His article, "The Conservative Case for Gay Marriage," appears in Newsweek today.

Reactions to our lawsuit have reinforced for me these essential truths. I have certainly heard anger, resentment, and hostility, and words like "betrayal" and other pointedly graphic criticism. But mostly I have been overwhelmed by expressions of gratitude and good will from persons in all walks of life, including, I might add, from many conservatives and libertarians whose names might surprise. I have been particularly moved by many personal renditions of how lonely and personally destructive it is to be treated as an outcast and how meaningful it will be to be respected by our laws and civil institutions as an American, entitled to equality and dignity. I have no doubt that we are on the right side of this battle, the right side of the law, and the right side of history.

In 1996 Andrew Sullivan made the first conservative case for civil same-sex marriage in his book Virtually Normal. After reading his arguments in 2000 I became persuaded that I could make a conservative Christian case for civil same-sex marriage, aimed at Christians who might think homosexual practice is sinful but weren't interested in hindering the freedoms of those who would disagree. Evidently my essay was only one example of how Sullivan's ideas were spreading. Now, six years after I was forced out of my old denomination for expressing my views, Olson's article appears in today's Newsweek. The snowball has long been gathering speed and momentum. Given enough time, justice and truth will eventually win out.