family reengineering

you may recall a previous post on my blog regarding a liberal anthropologist’s case against homosexual marriage.

today I present a conservative atheist’s questions about reengineering the family. worth a read. I like Heather’s ending the best:

These are not easy questions. The deprivation to gays from not being able to put the official, public stamp of legitimacy on their love is large. If one were confident that gay marriage would have at most a negligible effect on the ongoing dissolution of the traditional family, I would see no reason to oppose it. And fertility technology is hardly the only source of stress on families; heterosexual adults have been wreaking havoc on the two-parent family for the last five decades in their quest for maximal freedom and choice. The self-interested assumption behind that havoc has been that what’s good for adults must be good for children: If adults want flexibility in their living arrangements, then children will benefit from it, as well. Perhaps children are as infinitely malleable as it would be convenient for them to be. But if it turns out that they thrive best with stability in their lives and that the traditional family evolved to provide that stability, then our breezy jettisoning of child-rearing traditions may not be such a boon for children.

The facile libertarian argument that gay marriage is a trivial matter that affects only the parties involved is astoundingly blind to the complexity of human institutions and to the web of sometimes imperceptible meanings and practices that compose them. Equally specious is the central theme in attorney Theodore Olson’s legal challenge to California’s Proposition 8: that only religious belief or animus towards gays could explain someone’s hesitation regarding gay marriage. Anyone with the slightest appreciation for the Burkean understanding of tradition will feel the disquieting burden of his ignorance in this massive act of social reengineering, even if he ultimately decides that the benefits to gays from gay marriage outweigh the risks of the unknown.

so. what do you think?

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