David Brooks pens a column on the growing support for gay marriage.
[L]ast week saw a setback for the forces of maximum freedom. A representative of millions of gays and lesbians went to the Supreme Court and asked the court to help put limits on their own freedom of choice. They asked for marriage.
Marriage is one of those institutions — along with religion and military service — that restricts freedom. Marriage is about making a commitment that binds you for decades to come. It narrows your options on how you will spend your time, money and attention.
Whether they understood it or not, the gays and lesbians represented at the court committed themselves to a certain agenda. They committed themselves to an institution that involves surrendering autonomy. They committed themselves to the idea that these self-restrictions should be reinforced by the state. They committed themselves to the idea that lifestyle choices are not just private affairs but work better when they are embedded in law.
I'm not sure what he means by the "Whether they understood it or not" line at the start of the third paragraph (pretty sure they do understand it), but the broad implication of the column is this: a good life for human beings is about more than living as an unattached individual. We need social connections and ties that require us to surrender a degree of personal autonomy.
Gay and lesbian couples are demanding society recognize existing social arrangements as what they most closely resemble: marriages. Society is finally catching up, and that's great!
I'm unsure what these changes will ultimately do to marriage, but like other changes in the past, marriage will survive this evolution. And unlike a potential movement demanding an end to marriage, this is a case of a long-oppressed group of people asking to be treated just like everyone else on a crucially important part of civil society.
Good. And I can't wait to go to my gay friends' weddings.