Republish our articles for free, online or in "Homosexual marriage news letter," under Creative Commons licence. In its decision last week, the High Court of Australia cleared the way for a voluntary survey of the electorate to gauge community support for same-sex marriage.
Still, the will go ahead whether I prefer it to or not. It will ask us whether we support same-sex marriage. This need not be an issue that divides small-l liberals like me and realistic conservatives.
Conservatism has its place. It stands as a barrier to revolutionary, perhaps irresponsible, change. Liberalism acts as a needed social force pushing back against restrictions of individual liberty. In this case, continued denial of same-sex marriage would be illiberal, but it also goes against the best instincts of conservatives. Admittedly, some conservatives will never accept same-sex marriage because they wish to impose a traditional Christian moral code on the wider community.
Note, however, that this is more reactionary and theocratic than merely conservative. Same-sex marriage is no longer a revolutionary idea or even a novelty. Many other "Homosexual marriage news letter," such as the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and even the staunchly Catholic nation of Ireland, have increasingly provided for same-sex marriage, and Homosexual marriage news letter has become an outlier among Western liberal democracies.
The experience in other countries provides ample evidence that extending marriage to same-sex couples is not an irresponsible step.
It can be workable and need not harm the social fabric. More fundamentally, same-sex marriage makes sense because marriage itself has changed over the past two hundred years - and especially over the past fifty years or so - along with its social meaning. The institution of marriage was subjected to fundamental criticism, and, to be frank, it was largely deserved.
Marriage, as it was understood and practised in European Christendom and its colonial offshoots, had a dubious history. It functioned as a form of social, and especially sexual, control.
In particular, it constricted the sexuality of women.