Last Friday, Commonweal published an essay by former First Things editor Jody Bottum entitled "The Things We Share: A Catholic's Case for Same-Sex Marriage." The reaction of National Review's Michael Potemra was to pronounce Bottum's piece "fascinating and brave." A less apt description is hard to imagine. Bottum's essay is so meandering that it is difficult to read. And "courageous" is hardly the word to describe an essay whose point is the necessity of moving from what Bottum sees as the losing side to what he sees as the winning side, even if the essay was calculated to burn bridges to former friends and colleagues. In fact, what Bottum's essay represents is craven capitulation to the forces of secular liberalism, as shown by the fact that the Henry Luce Foundation paid for the essay (apparently paying by the word) and The New York Times celebrated the essay by running an adulatory profile of Bottum on the same day Commonweal published the essay. Neither the Henry Luce Foundation nor The New York Times are in the habit of financing or promoting opponents of gay marriage.
Despite what Bottum and Potemra want us to believe, there is no conservative argument for gay marriage. Indeed, it is telling that despite invoking Thomas Aquinas in the essay, and mentioning him in the profile, Bottum never gets around to telling his readers what Aquinas thought of homosexual acts. Gay marriage is clearly the defining issue for the left today. Those unwilling to resist the push for gay marriage are unlikely to defend any conservative principle once it comes under concerted attack.
UPDATE: Phil Lawler has written an excellent response to Jody Bottum. Those who are interested may read Lawler's essay here.
Thomas Piatak is a contributing editor to Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He writes from Cleveland, Ohio.