Letter: Conservatives and Marriage Equality

To the Editor:

As a lifelong conservative, I feel compelled to speak up on behalf of marriage equality. While the issue of legalizing same-sex marriage has been splattered across news pages for years now, the first shifts in opinion among Republican flanks have only come recently. Within the past month alone, no less than a hundred prominent GOP figures have come out in support of legalizing same-sex marriage, and that number is expected to increase with the pending Supreme Court decision.

Until now, we’ve been concerned that same-sex marriage may weaken the institution of marriage, add to our nation’s economic burdens and challenge the values of traditional marriage. Closer inspection will convince you to the contrary. Of the nine states that have legalized same-sex marriage, half are among the 10 states with the lowest divorce rates. Analysts have also indicated that allowing same-sex marriage could actually be revenue-positive for state and local governments, due to gains from marriage licenses and higher income taxes. In turn, considering the human race’s long history of concubines, mistresses and polygamy, there is arguably no such thing as traditional marriage. Heterosexual monogamy is actually quite unusual. Infertile couples, which have included five of our former presidents, would not be allowed to marry if reproduction was the sole aim. Numerous studies indicate that laws permitting same-sex marriage have no adverse effect on marriage, divorce or abortion rates.

Though there are over a thousand federal benefits associated with marriage, from legal protections to medical decision-making rights, the union of same-sex couples does not negatively affect any other party; as such, it should be no other party’s matter. This is a distinction we must not lose sight of if the Republican Party wishes to retain its viability in the 21st century. At a time when a majority of Americans have indicated support for marriage equality, I offer the following counsel to my fellow conservatives: Steer our party to the right side of history.

Thomas Wang