With Straussian eminence Walter Berns in attendance—he asks the final question—Jonathan Rauch and Justin Raimondo debate “Is Gay Marriage Good for America?” for American University’s Janus Forum.

Rauch frames his pro-SSM argument as socially conservative, a “Burkean social fabric thing,” in the words of one audience member. Raimondo has a radical libertarian counterblast to that, and he notes the irony that while genetic determinism is frowned upon in discussions of race or sex, it’s invoked as a source of authority by those who argue for same-sex marriage. He calls it “pseudo-science mixed with moralism” and latter-day “Lysenkoism.” Rauch is concerned to protect religious liberties, while Raimondo, foreseeing dire consequences for Christians who refuse to accept a new definition of marriage, warns that “people who are oppressed inevitably turn into the worst bullies” once they have government power on their side.

It’s a debate unlike any other on this issue, inspired in part by Raimondo’s TAC article “The Libertarian Case Against Gay Marriage.”