I had an insight the other day about Gay Marriage. Based on my friend Jon Haidt’s work on the moral foundations of different political stances, I tend to see conservatives as among other things big on ordered-hierarchy. The sort of primate Alpha male stuff. They tend to see society as needing a pecking order or it is anarchy. And no pecking order resonates with them more than male-female (though I guess race too is another profound pecking order they like as is class/income inequality).
So when conservatives talk about ‘traditional marriage’ they are often talking consciously or unconsciously about one in which the power clearly resides with the male and the female is submissive. Whereas most modern liberals I know have an ideal of the equal marriage where men and women are equal though not necessarily identical. And of course this is an ideal not how it often works out.
But to many conservatives I read or hear from, marriages should be clearly man in charge. So the real sub-conscious horror of same sex marriages is that they are between two people without the ‘normal’ hierarchical gradient between men and women: men-men and women-women are an abomination because no one is in charge, no ordered hierarchy. So that is the sense in which they threaten ‘traditional marriage’ in all its unequal, hierarchical man in charge patriarchal glory…They promote a marriage equality idea by their very nature that indeed deeply threatens ‘traditional marriage’ if unequal marriage is what you mean by this.
Just a thought; interested in any perspectives from personal experience, especially from conservatives who don’t see things this way. As this is a blog about conflict so we welcome contesting perspectives that challenge our views.