Over the weekend the New York Times’ Beliefs columnist Mark Oppenheimer profiled Eve Tushnet who is described as ” the celibate, gay, conservative, Catholic writer.”

Tushnet is a lesbian who has explained her opposition to same-sex marriage on religious grounds on her blog and in various publications. As Oppenheimer notes in the column:

Marriage should be reserved for heterosexuals, whose “relationships can be either uniquely dangerous or uniquely fruitful,” she explained in an e-mail message. “Thus it makes sense to have an institution dedicated to structuring and channeling them.”

But same-sex marriage, she wrote in The New York Post in 2007, “can bring one of three outcomes: A two-tiered marriage culture, where heterosexual couples are asked to do the hard things (sex only within marriage, marriage for life in most circumstances) and homosexual couples work out their own marriage norms; reshape marriage into an optional, individualized institution, ignoring the creative and destructive potentials of ‘straight’ sex; or encourage all couples to restrict sex to marriage and marry for life, and hope that gay couples accept norms designed to meet heterosexual needs.”

Tushnet is a prime example of the kind of sources mainstream journalists should be talking to when they want to “balance” a story about same-sex marriage. Rather than dialing up a homophobic talking head from some religious-right-wing group to peddle junk scientific claims or just wildly ignorant statements lacking in any bases of fact, there are sources out there to quote who won’t just spew more anti-gay hate speech.

Something to think about as coverage turns again to the federal same-sex marriage case here in California in which closing arguments are scheduled for June 16.

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