Maggie Gallagher

What's all the fuss about?

A couple of hundred same-sex couples in California flock to the justice of the peace -- why should anybody care?

This is the single most powerful argument for gay marriage out there: Why should you care?

The second most powerful argument is its twin sister: Gay marriage is inevitable, so stop worrying about it.

Oddly, at the moment of its greatest apparent victory, the consequences of gay marriage are becoming ever more clear.

As the gay marriage movement becomes more confident of inevitable victory, it is also becoming more open and explicit about what gay marriage will mean for the rest of us.

For example, redefining "infidelity." Back in the '90s, when Andrew Sullivan first suggested gay couples had a thing or two to teach opposite-sex couples about our rigid insistence on sexual fidelity, public reaction was so negative that he recanted (and to this day he gets mad if you even mention he said it!).

But from the new-won confidence of his legally recognized gay marriage in Massachusetts, Eric Erbelding is quite comfortable explaining to The New York Times: "Our rule is you can play around because, you know, you have to be practical." Eric says most married gay couples he knows are "for the most part monogamous, but for maybe a casual three-way."

For the most part ... except for the casual three-way?

Try explaining that one to your wife.

But hey, if the word "marriage" can be redefined as a civil rights imperative, why balk at lesser ideas like "monogamy" or "fidelity"?

Similarly, gay marriage advocates are becoming quite candid about what this ruling, if left undisturbed, will mean for traditional faith communities. A May 30 Washington Blade story asked, "What about religious adoption agencies or daycare centers? Will they be forced to accommodate gays?

"Experts say organizations that receive state and federal funding will not be allowed to oppose working with gays for religious reasons," the Blade forthrightly reports. "Some, most notably Catholic Charities of Boston (gay marriage is legal in Massachusetts), have opted to get out of the adoption business rather than be forced to allow gays to adopt."

What about the next step: "Could churches in time risk their tax-exempt status by refusing to marry gays?"


Maggie Gallagher

Maggie Gallagher is a nationally syndicated columnist, a leading voice in the new marriage movement and co-author of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.