Love Has Nothing to Do with It

South Texas Law Review, Fall 2008.


And now, for something completely different. When I say something completely different, I am afraid that it is perhaps more different than the organizers of this event would really prefer. In some respects, gay marriage has the same relationship to my remarks as the assassination of the Archduke at Sarajevo had to the conduct of World War I. The assassination got World War I started, and gay marriage got me thinking about a variety of issues, but I’m going to spend most of my time talking about those other issues than about gay marriage itself.

First, a quick remark about Jonathan’s book.  I was last on a panel with Jonathan four years ago, just after Gay Marriage had come out. It is a brilliant statement of the argument for gay marriage. It also affected my thinking enormously. For example, his argument against civil unions completely persuaded me – if we are going to have gay marriage, better to make it as close to the real thing as possible. Gay Marriage is a book that needs to be read and taken seriously because Jonathan is certainly conservative in this respect: he takes marriage seriously. He sees marriage as much more than a legal contract and understands the depth of its importance. No one can be sure about one’s own position on gay marriage until having taken Jonathan’s arguments on board.