Ross Douthat, speaking at an event in New York, was asked whether he supports gay marriage. The results were enlightening:
At first Mr. Douthat seemed unable to get a sentence out without interrupting himself and starting over. Then he explained: “I am someone opposed to gay marriage who is deeply uncomfortable arguing the issue in public.”
Mr. Douthat indicated that he opposes gay marriage because of his religious beliefs, but that he does not like debating the issue in those terms. At one point he said that, sometimes, he feels like he should either change his mind, or simply resolve never to address the question in public.
He added that the conservative opposition to gay marriage is “a losing argument,” and asked rhetorically if committed homosexual relationships ought to be denied the legal recognition accorded without hesitation to the fleeting enthusiasms of Britney Spears and Newt Gingrich.
A theory: Ross Douthat, with his intermittent moments of intellectual honesty, may be a transitional form between the religious conservative who wishes to see his religion imposed on the world, and one who, finally, accepts that this result is neither possible nor desirable. God willing, the 2008 election will prove enough of an evolutionary bottleneck to effect that change, by finally ending the earlier political species.