I am sick to the teeth of reposting this every few weeks, so I am going to put it here now that I have a blog and just link to it.
In early 2011, Robert P. George, a prominent social conservative from Princeton, plus some colleagues of his, published “What Is Marriage?”, which is generally considered the definitive case against same-sex marriage from a non-religious perspective. (Note that “definitive” is not the same as “conclusive.” Many conservatives I know would quibble with George on a number of points both minor and major.)
Here is “What Is Marriage“: http://www.harvard-jlpp.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/GeorgeFinal.pdf
That paper kicked off an EPIC marriage debate among online intellectuals. It is ALL worth reading — both sides make serious arguments. If you want to actually have a conversation about gay marriage, rather than just resorting to your Bible or to calling all your opponents hateful bigots, this is a great place to start. Although I have sorted them, I have tried to keep the conversation in chronological order, since the various critiques build on each other at times:
Kenji Yoshino’s critique (I): http://www.slate.com/id/2277781/
Robert George’s reply: http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2010/12/2217
Andrew Koppelman’s critique (I): http://balkin.blogspot.com/2010/12/what-marriage-isnt.html
Robert George’s reply: http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2010/12/2263
That’s the basic discussion that took place at the time. I also recently found an earlier, tangentially-connected exchange from about a year earlier:
Andrew Koppelman’s paper: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1544478
Robert George’s critique: http://mirrorofjustice.blogs.com/mirrorofjustice/2010/02/more-on-koppelmans-paper.htm
Andrew Koppelman’s defense: http://balkin.blogspot.com/2010/02/koppelman-vs-george-on-same-sex.html
George later posted two further articles on the subject of marriage at Public Discourse:
“Marriage and Procreation: Avoiding Bad Arguments“: http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2011/03/2637
“Marriage and Procreation: The Intrinsic Connection“: http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2011/03/2638
It’ll take a smart person the best part of a day to do all this reading, but it’s crucial to do this or something like it if you’re on *either* side of the debate and want to have a serious conversation.
I should note that I don’t think George is 100% right. His defense of marriage for knowingly infertile couples doesn’t really add up from a civil standpoint, in my opinion. But, like I said at the outset, this is a starting point for intelligent discourse, not a conclusion.
And, yeah, this is kinda the Robert P. George show. If you want an introduction to the issue from a secular pro-natural marriage perspective, that’s where you go. You want more complexity, or to deal with specific objections within the two broad camps, you dig deeper. But this is an overview.