Douglas Murray Douglas Murray

Why conservatives should welcome gay marriage

David Cameron just told the Tory conference that he supported gay marriage “because I am a Conservative”. In last week’s issue of the Spectator, Douglas Murray said that the best arguments in favour of gay marriage are conservative ones. For the benefit of CoffeeHousers, here is Douglas’s piece.

In America a new generation of Republicans is challenging the traditional consensus of their party on gay marriage. They — as well as some of the GOP old guard like Dick Cheney — are coming out in favour. In Britain the subject is also back on the agenda with the coalition government, at the insistence of the Prime Minister apparently, planning a ‘public consultation’ on the matter.

Though not exactly political leadership, this nevertheless constitutes a change — not least in stealing the mantle of gay equality from the left. For decades it was presumed that conservatives could only oppose such moves. But as young Republicans like Margaret Hoover (author of American Individualism) are showing, that needn’t be the case. Indeed the best arguments for gay marriage are conservative ones.
But first there are the non-arguments. Among them are those claiming that giving gays the right to marry somehow destabilises heterosexual marriage. But divorce and adultery are the biggest underminers of marriage. Has any man abandoned his wife because of gay marriage? Then there is the slippery-slope argument. Tory MP Edward Leigh worries that if gays are allowed to marry, ‘There is no logical reason why the new alternative institution should be limited to two people. Why not three?’ he asks. ‘Or 33?’ All of which tells us more about his imagination than his logic.

Few sights in politics are quite as risible as the male politician in full, puffing flight from an issue of basic gay equality.

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