Marriage is how society recognizes and protects this right. Marriage is the planet’s only institution whose core purpose is to unite the biological, social and legal components of parenthood into one lasting bond. Marriage says to a child: The man and the woman whose sexual union made you will also be there to love and raise you. In this sense, marriage is a gift that society bestows on its children.
Interestingly, he still believes this, but has changed his mind on the issue for other reasons.
Ultimately, I think he is gravely mistaken in believeing that these things are necessarily tied together all that tightly; adopted children continue to exist and benefit from a union of parents who are not their biological parents. And I think he is, in a way, even more mistaken to believe that gay marriage undermines the institution, even if we look only at the institution through his filter described above. Because what has really been at issue is that anti-gay-marriage views have made it so that marriage isn’t about being there for the kids, or loving each other, or staying together; it’s about Not Being Gay.
The huge emphasis on “marriage is one man and one woman” has deprived us of any emphasis on “marriage is serious” or “marriage is for life”. A gay couple staying together do more to affirm his notion of marriage than a straight couple splitting up do.
The whole article is interesting, and while I continue to think he’s misunderstanding the nature of some social interactions, his writing makes it clear that he is at least sincerely thinking about the issues. It is a joy to see someone who has more than one value, and is willing to think about them.