At a rally for gay conservatives, Ann Coulter walks a dangerous line: she states that marriage is not a civil right, at least not one that can be won for minority groups other than race groups.
Legally, this is defensible: she’s squashing equal protection logic into a due process framework, and in so doing, cutting out any due process right to the institution. Conservative legal scholars regularly take this position, because the only contrary statement, in the closing lines of Loving v. Virginia, is just dicta.
But I wonder if this is an argument conservatives should want to win. There’s some contradiction in a movement that trashes marriage as not worthy of due process protection in court, and then, to the public, praises its singular quality as a social institution, and the related need to protect it.
Maybe arguing marriage’s virtue has become, from the right’s perspective, dangerous. If we valorize marriage as the powerful, profoundly positive institution it is, who wants to be seen to turn around and deny it, to anyone? The days of public contempt for gays are (largely) behind us. They’re our friends, our colleagues, and our neighbors. As that spirit wanes, and we recognize that gay men & women are, well, human, the strength of the emotional case for gay marriage waxes. Given that trend, the Dan Squadrons of the world eventually triumph:
Or so we hope.