It’s not government that has redefined marriage — it’s the people who have

By Allen Hutson

Ryan Anderson of the Heritage Foundation blog recently posted another piece on gay marriage. It is further proof that the social conservative view on gay marriage isn’t just wrong, it’s anti-Republican. Anderson rushes to frame recent same-sex rights decisions as judicial activism. As Stephen pointed out the argument is hypocritical, but the flaws don’t stop there. Anderson is also wrong in claiming that the government is redefining marriage:

Redefining marriage to include same-sex relationships is the culmination of this revisionism, and it would leave emotional intensity as the only thing that sets marriage apart from other bonds…Redefining marriage would legislate a new principle that marriage is whatever emotional bond the government says it is.

You don’t have to look very far to see who revised the definition of marriage—it’s the people of this country. Businesses proudly employ gay people and offer benefits to same-sex partners; same-sex couples raise children and participate in school functions; same-sex couples function in communities alongside straight couples. In short, courts aren’t redefining marriage—they are keeping up with a changing social institution.

Lisa Murkowski’s op-ed supporting gay marriage from awhile back not only reflects this social change, but it also explains how Republican principles should lead Republicans to support. The U.S. Senator from Alaska rightly argues that legalizing gay marriage isn’t a matter of government intervention—it is about personal autonomy—the freedom to pursue your life without government interference—it’s the stuff that Republicanism is made of!

By opposing the legalization of gay marriage, Republicans fail to honor their party’s principles when those principles matter the most—when some in the party disagree with the way others live their lives. Whether you agree with gay marriage in your church, your community, or your family is irrelevant. Legalizing gay marriage is about personal autonomy and freedom from government interfering in your life. Anderson and the folks at the Heritage Foundation should recognize this before they push more people, especially younger voters and independents, away from the Republican Party.

Allen Hutson is a risk analyst in the private sector, writer based in Indianapolis, and Purple Elephant contributor.

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