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 .”