Or does Dr Mayman make the same error as other progressives in believing that the passage from tradition to liberal modernity is inevitable? Fair enough - almost. It is worth noting that the various landmark decisions in the United States on same sex marriage have been unable to rest their arguments on principles of equality alone. This didn't seem to do justice to either to what marriage means, nor the profound change to that meaning that same sex marriage entailed. But that is the whole point:
Dr Mayman accuses me of blaming the marriage equality campaign for the failure of the Australian parliament to change the law.
Why Supporters of Same-Sex Marriage Need Better Arguments
And why does the rationale matter if we all want the same outcome? Will the rhetoric of rights, freedoms and individual choice carry the day for same-sex marriage in the rest of the world? It's simply not obvious how any society should adjudicate a decision as profound as changing the definition of marriage. I suggested that the "marriage equality" framing of the issue had situated same-sex marriage within a particular liberal conception of justice that made support for same-sex marriage neutral and obvious: But it would be difficult to dispute that the message of "equality" - not "social good" - has animated the moral dimension of the pro-same-sex marriage campaign. For these people, be they genuine conservatives or people of faith, changing the definition of marriage is to change what it is. Typically, we reject them because we think they are bad or at best, trivial.
We should listen carefully to the other side, think harder about the foundations of their political instincts and, paradoxically for progressives, be a little more broadminded. Different countries have taken different approaches for different reasons. To dismiss their case is not merely disrespectful, it might be dangerous. But we are routinely blind to our own parochialism. This became the prevailing line of reasoning among same-sex marriage supporters. Supreme Court's landmark same-sex marriage ruling:. Sometimes they formulate their views in ways that seem unsophisticated: