National Review Online today conflated same-sex marriage and civil unions, declaring them both “unwise.” In other words, the editors of National Review not only oppose same-sex marriage, they oppose even civil recognition (and legal protection) of homosexual relationships:
Vermont has chosen to recognize same-sex marriages legislatively, and New Hampshire may do so. Other states, such as Connecticut, have legislated recognition of civil unions for same-sex couples. While free from the taint of lawlessness, these decisions seem to us unwise.
What, exactly, is wrong with homosexual relations between consenting adults? National Review does not say. It does declare, however, that:
One still sometimes hears people make the allegedly “conservative” case for same-sex marriage that it will reduce promiscuity and encourage commitment among homosexuals. This prospect seems improbable, and in any case these do not strike us as important governmental goals.
In other words, the National Review editors are saying that the government, in spite of offering no rational basis for discriminating between gay and heterosexual acts, should nevertheless not in any way be perceived as supporting gay commitment. Encouraging gay commitment is not something government should do (even though the government openly supports heterosexual commitment).
In short, the National Review editors wish to see the government practice discrimination towards gay people without declaring that its rationale is not grounded in reason or the law, but in religion (and ultimately, religious bigotry). If this is the best “defense” against gay marriage and civil unions that the National Review can manage—implicit religious approbation by neglect and without rationale—then gay marriage and civil union supporters should be delighted because it means that we’re going to win a historic national victory (in the long run).