I've seen some contorted arguments against legalizing gay marriage, but one proffered by the Discovery Institute's Jay Richards takes the cake. Richards appeared on Phyllis Schlafly's radio show on Monday, and argued that marriage equality would actually trample on individual rights (h/t to PFAW).
We argue that there are other pre-political realities besides just the individual that a limited government has to recognize and marriage is one of those realities, it’s a universal human institution, we find it in every time and place, in every culture, every religious tradition has this basic concept of marriage as between one man and one woman with a special connection to children. So a limited government is going to recognize that institution rather than try to redefine it, so that’s why we think, in fact, if you believe in limited government you need to believe in laws that protect marriage as it actually is historically. The institution of marriage is one of those things that is outside the jurisdiction of the state, so quite apart from the consequences, we think, if you believe that government should recognize individual rights, then you need to believe that the government is also going to recognize the rights and realities of this institution which it can’t dictate.Richards and Schlafly were in a larger discussion about how to "save America" after losing the culture war. Listen to the whole thing (if you can stand it) here.
Am I the only one wondering what planet this is from? Granting people rights--or more accurately, recognizing rights that we already have--is a violation of individual rights? The mind reels.
Richards' argument also makes me wonder ... is this the same line of reasoning the segregationists used back in the day? It's hard not to think so. After all, they contended that integration violated their right to associate with whom they chose. And we know how patently loony that sounds now. Hopefully sentiments like Richards' will sound just as loony as time goes on.