Matthew Franck Takes on Jonathan Rauch's Arguments for SSM


Matthew J. Franck is director of the William E. and Carol G. Simon Center on Religion and the Constitution at the Witherspoon Institute.

In this substantial article for First Things, he takes on gay-marriage advocate Jonathan Rauch, who recently tried to assail five "myths" about same-sex marriage. Franck insists that these "myths" about same-sex marriage are actually true.

Here's an abbreviated excerpt but obviously the entire thing is well worth reading:

1. Rauch’s first “myth” is that “letting gay couples get married redefines marriage.” He accepts as a “true premise” the proposition that “with few exceptions, marriage has always been about uniting the two sexes and linking mother and father to children.”...

2. Rauch’s second “myth” is that “same-sex marriage hurts children.” Once again, Rauch (to his credit) does not go easy on himself, accepting another “true premise,” this time that “other things being equal, children do best when raised by their married biological parents.” But again he claims that those of us who believe this have drawn a false conclusion, while it is he himself who commits the fallacy...

3. Rauch’s third “myth” is that “a collision with religious liberty is unavoidable.” Absolutely every religious leader of any faith group that holds to the traditional, conjugal understanding of marriage believes this is true. They’re in a position to be informed about what threatens their liberty, and they have a deep interest in being informed. But Rauch thinks it is a myth. Oh wait, except he doesn’t, actually. In fact, he thinks it is “a real problem.” He just thinks it is not an “unmanageable one.” Yet he is remarkably casual about “working out the precise balance.” Probably because the folks doing the working out and the managing will be the ones with the whip hand–the authorities who have brought about the collision with religious liberty that Rauch, after all, concedes is unavoidable. That is, the enforcers of the new normal called same-sex marriage. Somehow I am not reassured.

4. His fourth “myth” is that “the entire country must have the same policy.” He cites the trivial and unimportant differences among the states with respect to consanguinity and age of consent to marry (he mentions divorce too, but just why is a mystery). Meanwhile, the most persistent argument of every same-sex advocate is that their case is exactly like the case of inter-racial marriage, against which quite a few states had laws until the Supreme Court struck them down 45 years ago...

Franck's answer to no. 5 is his shortest:

5. Rauch’s fifth myth is that “the battle is almost over.” This is the only myth that is truly a myth in his article.