Categorical compensation

It seems to be a sort of folklore of liberalism that any group that has suffered from a categorical disapproval should be compensated by a categorical approval. But this is nonsense.

What Berry then said about gay marriage deserves to be quoted in full:

By raising the issue of homosexual marriage, by making it a political issue, I think homosexuals have done themselves and the rest of us a disservice: That is, they have invited the government to make a public judgment of people’s private sexual behavior, which ought to be none of the government’s business, so long as the behavior is not abusive of other people. Government approval of anybody’s sexual behavior is as inappropriate and as offensive to freedom as governmental disapproval. The government’s interest in people’s living arrangements should go no further than domestic partnerships,” which ought to give the same legal protections and rights to widowed sisters or bachelor brothers or friends or `partners’ living together as to married couples. Justice (and with luck) mercy should be the government’s business. Let sacraments such as marriage be the business of religions and communities.
Until lately, anyhow, marriage was not thought to be a right. It was a requirement, a part of the communal means, often misled or ignored, of sexual responsibility.

Wendell Berry, circa 2005, quoted in The Mad Farmer’s Gay Liberation Front? Wendell Berry on Same-sex Marriage, in Local Culture, Vol 1 No. 1.

March 16, 2020

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