A source against same-sex marriage who isn’t anti-gay

Over the weekend the New York Times’ Beliefs columnist Mark Oppenheimer profiled Eve Tushnet who is described as ” the celibate, gay, conservative, Catholic writer.”

Tushnet is a lesbian who has explained her opposition to same-sex marriage on religious grounds on her blog and in various publications. As Oppenheimer notes in the column:

Marriage should be reserved for heterosexuals, whose “relationships can be either uniquely dangerous or uniquely fruitful,” she explained in an e-mail message. “Thus it makes sense to have an institution dedicated to structuring and channeling them.”

But same-sex marriage, she wrote in The New York Post in 2007, “can bring one of three outcomes: A two-tiered marriage culture, where heterosexual couples are asked to do the hard things (sex only within marriage, marriage for life in most circumstances) and homosexual couples work out their own marriage norms; reshape marriage into an optional, individualized institution, ignoring the creative and destructive potentials of ‘straight’ sex; or encourage all couples to restrict sex to marriage and marry for life, and hope that gay couples accept norms designed to meet heterosexual needs.”

Tushnet is a prime example of the kind of sources mainstream journalists should be talking to when they want to “balance” a story about same-sex marriage. Rather than dialing up a homophobic talking head from some religious-right-wing group to peddle junk scientific claims or just wildly ignorant statements lacking in any bases of fact, there are sources out there to quote who won’t just spew more anti-gay hate speech.

Something to think about as coverage turns again to the federal same-sex marriage case here in California in which closing arguments are scheduled for June 16.

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6 Responses

  1. I agree completely. I’d point out, however, that the NYT left out a very important fact from their story. Eve Tushnet works for Maggie Gallagher and blogs on Gallagher’s website, MarriageDebate. I’m not sure why the NYT didn’t include this fact (and I don’t now whether she blogs for compensation from NOM).

  2. She certainly is thoughtful. I am baffled, though, but her statement about gay couples accepting “norms designed to meet heterosexual needs.” Monogamy, emotional support, and mutual parenting are not fundamentally heterosexual. Why would she think it unlikely that gay couples would have difficulty or reluctance in accepting them?

    In fact, I’m having trouble thinking of any “heterosexual need” that is not also a “homosexual need.” I do wish Oppenheimer had gotten her to clarify that.

  3. If your choices are between anti-gays and celibate self-loathing gays then I suppose she’s your go to gal

    It is however insulting and stupid to suggest, as she does, that there are inherent and profound differences between heterosexual and homosexual pair bonds. Gays can and do have and raise children, they can and do make fine parents and they can and do remain faithful to their partner just as heterosexuals do.

    This woman is a devote conservative Catholic. She self-denies her orientation whilst claming to speak for it. You can be gay and anti-gay simultaneously, just ask George Reckers.

    • Actually gay couples cannot “have” children. They can get them from somewhere else (ie adoption), but they can never have biological children in the way heterosexual couples do. There unions are by definition sterile. It never ceases to amaze me how so many people seem to consider that fact irrelevant.

  4. I’m curious, Ryan, since you’re obviously familiar with her, how is she “self-loathing” and “self-denies her orientation”? Is it because she’s not an atheist, liberal, gay victim?

  5. She seems to forget about pensions, health care plans, the tremendous issues around co-parenting, etc. that are impacted by this legislation. If her points were really all about the interpersonal dynamics, then the first position she should take is “dismantle legal marriage” and make it a purely religious institution, where it has nothing to do with the laws. Gotta think she’s a middle-class woman, talking to other middle-class people, where it all stays in the realm of love and ideals. Most of my working-class friends are in the fight because it’s a survival issue and an issue of economic equity.

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