In this article, he "examines" times when progressives changed fundamental social institutions - such as the introduction of no-fault divorce,e abortion, cohabitation, welfare - and extends the belief that because progressives got these issues "wrong" and because there were "unintended consequences" of these particular ideas that this means that same-sex marriage -will also fail. To him, this attempt at "social engineering" is wrong and will lead to unintended consequences because "However well-meaning the motivation, reengineering what God has designed is not only unwise, but radical and dangerous, too"
In this argument, it does not matter that there are fundamental differences between all of these examples and same-sex marriage - the primary being that the government is intentionally excluding a group of its citizens from legitimacy, benefits, and rights because of an inherent trait that they posses. That has nothing in common with no-fault divorce, abortion, welfare, or even cohabitation. You cannot compare things that have no relation towards each other; instead each must be evaluated as individual groups. If no fault divorce has failed, it is a problem with no fault divorce. If welfare failed, it is a fault of bad welfare policy. These things have no bearing on the same-sex marriage debate no matter how we want to spin them.
But, lets rewind a bit, because Daly makes a very interesting point in the beginning of his article. He asks why should Christians force those who do not believe the way that they do to accept their views? When he said this, I was expecting an answer of depth, but instead he gives us this...
"On the basis of logic, reason, common sense and the fact that preservation of traditional marriage is in the best interest of the common good, as evidenced by any number of factors, including reams of social science data and thousands of years of history."Ok, first off, logic and reason are gone in the discussion when God is brought into the discussion - as He was in the first quote provided. Logic and reason cannot exist in an argument when you come into the debate with preconceptions that won't let you objectively evaluate evidence. Additionally, as explained above the rules of logic are fragrantly violated when he infers that because some things that progressives have advocated for have failed, this one will also fail.
As for common sense, do we see any provided? Not at all, for instead we see a claim that there is abundant evidence from social science data as well as thousands of years of history. Again, the rules of logic are violated, because in this "common sense" approach an appeal to tradition fallacy. Just because something has always been a way in the past (thousands of years of history) does not mean that it is the best or the only way of doing something - women for example were denied the right to vote because that was the way it had always been done historically. Additionally, this argument overlooks the evolving nature of marriage as an institution over those thousands of years. No matter how we might like to spin it, marriage has never been a "static" institution; so even if he wasn't using an appeal to tradition argument, his analysis also fails.
Secondly, I'm not sure what social science data he is referring to, since most social science data actually does not back him up, and that virtually all reputable organizations from psychologists to anthropologists to sociologists disagree with his assessment. Yes there are outliers in these fields, but outliers do not dictate policy, and an appeal to them shows a lack of respect for social science research at large. Thankfully, our society is starting to realize what studies and data are bearing out; that there is no legitimate reason for denying same sex couples the institution of marriage.
He then discusses the rights of religious organizations and religious freedom, but my discussion on this can be found here.