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Did Glenn Beck Just Endorse Gay Marriage?

Maybe.

In a discussion with libertarian/magician Penn Jillette, Westlake resident Glenn Beck said:

“Let me take the pro-gay marriage people and the religious people – I believe that there is a connecting dot there that nobody is looking at, and that’s the Constitution…The question is not whether gay people should be married or not. The question is ‘Why is the government involved in our marriage?’”

From an accompanying note on his website:

Glenn agreed with Penn, noting that gay marriage does not “pick my pocket nor break my leg” and he doesn’t feel like the government needed to be involved. He said that as long as the government doesn’t come into his church and say he or his church (or any church) need to change their belief system and their practices, he doesn’t care. But right now, people of faith who may not want gay marriage in their church are being shut out of the conversation by activists and progressives.

The difference between endorsing same-sex marriage from a libertarian sense and endorsing it from a religious sense could take up more bandwidth than we have. And the Venn diagram of fiscal conservatives and social conservatives overlaps enough that the point may be moot. Still, it’s heartening to see a prominent conservative take such a public approach to a typically liberal stance. An Yglesias Award for Beck.

But wait, says Rod Dreher for the American Conservative:

This idea that the government should not be involved in marriage is wholly unrealistic; our entire society, including much of our legal framework, is built around the concept of marriage. For example, if the government did not recognize marriage (in whatever form), the constitutional protection spouses have against being compelled to testify in court against their spouses would be meaningless.

Whatever the flaws in Beck’s argument and vision, I think it’s highly significant because it shows that this is the route through which the populist right will come to embrace same-sex marriage. If conservatives are going to accept SSM, they ought to at least understand the full meaning, and the implications, of what they are accepting. Beck either does not see it, or will not see it. Don’t know which. But he is useful to the pro-SSM cause.

So, yeah, still significant, but maybe for a different reason. (Disclaimer: Wick Allison, the owner of D, is also the president/CEO of the American Conservative.)