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01/10/2011

At least one 'Economist' agrees: Maggie should start stashing away some of her gay marriage profit

by Jeremy Hooper

Just like a growing body of the public, the courts, and fair-minded politicos, The Economist's readers and editors have determined that Evan Wolfson's arguments in favor of the Freedom To Marry greatly outweigh Maggie Gallagher's dogged attempts to NOM equality's path:

The votes are in and though the tally has fluctuated throughout the week, a steady majority of you are convinced that gay marriage should be legal. Congratulations to Evan Wolfson, whoEconomist-marriage-Gallagher-Wolfsonpassionately defended the motion. He is your winner. Commiserations to Maggie Gallagher, whose losing argument still resonates with many Americans.

In the end, our audience was not convinced that gay marriage would have a deleterious effect on society or heterosexual unions. Quite the opposite, in fact. Many of you noted the benefits marriage would bestow on gay couples and their families, while agreeing with Mr Wolfson's argument that "there is no good reason" for their exclusion. Marriage is as applicable to devoted gay couples as it is to their heterosexual counterparts, you concluded, and it is their right.

Even so, some of you have questioned whether we should have held this debate at all. One commenter said, "I wonder if The Economist would be willing to set up a similar debate: 'This house believes black people deserve equal rights.'" Perhaps not today, but I believe such a debate would have been very useful in the 1960s, when society was still coming to terms with the idea of racial equality. That debate would have illuminated the flaws in the exclusionary arguments that still held sway at the time. I hope this debate has been similarly useful.

Before I sign off, I would like to thank our spirited debaters, Mr Wolfson and Ms Gallagher, our insightful guests, Susan Meld Shell and M.V. Lee Badgett, and the hundreds of readers who shared their views and personal stories. The debate over gay marriage has come to an end…in this forum, at least.
Winner Announcement [Economist]

Today The Economist, tomorrow National Review. Inevitably this conversation goes permanent, no longer in need of any periodical debate.

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