Matt Yglesias is right that public policy must deal with the broad abstractions of the common good, not just with issues that affect lawmakers personally. And Anne Thériault is certainly right that a woman's value, dignity and rights are not contingent on who cares about her personally. Still, both posts seem too dismissive of the role personal relationships play in our formation, our view of the world, our very personhood.
National Organization for Marriage board chair John C. Eastman recently called adoption a “second-best option” for children. He was speaking to the Associated Press about Chief Justice John Robert’s position on the rights of same-sex couples: “Certainly adoption in families headed, like Chief Roberts’ family is, by a heterosexual couple, is by far the second-best option.” The comment reveals less about adoptive families than about Eastman’s willingness to jettison religious tradition for political gain.
Nowhere has our callow politics asserted itself more thoughtlessly and noisily than in the politicization of personal or private life.
In a recent editorial calling for same-sex marriage to be legal, the Century editors noted that if and when legalization happens at the national level, the First Amendment will protect religious groups that have their own position on the question. The government won’t, for example, be able to force a church or minister to perform a same-sex wedding against their will. Yet as Mark Silk notes, a range of religious liberty questions will likely have to be addressed—and probably litigated.
A specifically Christian understanding of marriage doesn't insist on procreation. It insists that marriage mirrors God's fidelity.