Why Accommodate? Reflections on the Gay Marriage Culture Wars

Gallagher, Maggie | January 1, 2010

If same-sex marriage is a basic right, then why accommodate opposing views? This Article proposes four potential types of reasons why citizens, legislators, and/or judges who endorse gay marriage should consider accommodating those with opposing views on marriage: practical, civic, moral sympathy, and principle. It argues that the most urgent need is to develop the argument arguments from civic good and moral sympathy, such as those which have undergirded conscience protections for abortion.The Article further explains why people from traditional faith communities reasonably fear that same-sex marriage will be used as a weapon to repress religious and moral dissent and dissenters and argues that such a result would be are bad not only for traditional faith communities, but ultimately for gay and lesbian people: gay people who have concluded that gay sex is good deserve to live in a society where that decision is respected as the result of moral reflection, not policed by government and law as if it were a characteristic over which human beings have no control.Conscience protections attached to same-sex marriage ultimately serve the human rights of all.