Here inside the Beltway, a kind of nervous hush has settled over the church-state battlefield while everyone waits for the U.S. Supreme Court to issue its ruling on the status of gay marriage in the battleground state of California (for sure) and perhaps even in the United States of America. There have been some hints from the legal left that the court will — fearing another Roe v. Wade apocalypse — issue a narrow ruling.
Most of the elite mainstream press have, of course, remained in full-voice cheerleader mode. As Arthur Brisbane described his own company, in his swan song last year as public editor at The New York Times:
When The Times covers a national presidential campaign, I have found that the lead editors and reporters are disciplined about enforcing fairness and balance, and usually succeed in doing so. Across the paper’s many departments, though, so many share a kind of political and cultural progressivism — for lack of a better term — that this worldview virtually bleeds through the fabric of The Times.
As a result, developments like the Occupy movement and gay marriage seem almost to erupt in The Times, overloved and undermanaged, more like causes than news subjects.
Stepping back, I can see that as the digital transformation proceeds, as The Times disaggregates and as an empowered staff finds new ways to express itself, a kind of Times Nation has formed around the paper’s political-cultural worldview, an audience unbound by geography (as distinct from the old days of print) and one that self-selects in digital space.
But miracles happen. Every now and then, a major media outlet breaks loose and reports some voices who do not easily and quickly fit into the familiar templates, voices that might even point journalists toward the compromise that may still be possible between the entrenched armies on the cultural left and right.
The BBC team did that the other day with an entire piece dedicated to gays and lesbians who are opposed to gay “marriage.”
Now, the scare quotes around “marriage” are there for a reason. It’s clear, in this story, that the people who are in this camp are fully on board when it comes to full legal rights being granted to other gays and lesbians. The problem, for them, is the word “marriage” with all of — yes — its religious and moral overtones.
In other words, religion is a key part of this debate. Here’s a key block of material right up top:
Jonathan Soroff lives in liberal Massachusetts with his male partner, Sam. He doesn’t fit the common stereotype of an opponent of gay marriage. But like half of his friends, he does not believe that couples of the same gender should marry.
“We’re not going to procreate as a couple and while the desire to demonstrate commitment might be laudable, the religious traditions that have accommodated same-sex couples have had to do some fairly major contortions,” says Soroff.
Until the federal government recognises and codifies the same rights for same-sex couples as straight ones, equality is the goal so why get hung up on a word, he asks.
“I’m not going to walk down the aisle to Mendelssohn wearing white in a church and throw a bouquet and do the first dance,” adds Soroff, columnist for the Improper Boston. “I’ve been to some lovely gay weddings but aping the traditional heterosexual wedding is weird and I don’t understand why anyone wants to do that.
“I’m not saying that people who want that shouldn’t have it but for me, all that matters is the legal stuff.”
And what about viewpoints on the lesbian/feminist side of the aisle, where the word “marriage” has rarely been a happy word?