Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg cleverly co-opted chivalry in the service of gay marriage (emphasis mine):
Buttigieg, in a speech at LGBTQ Victory Fund National Champagne Brunch in Washington, D.C., referenced the vice president’s less-than-welcoming attitude toward members of the LGBTQ community when discussing his marriage to his husband Chasten. He called marriage equality a moral issue, saying his marriage of two years has made him a “better human being.”
“My marriage to Chasten has made me a better man and yes, Mr. Vice President, it has moved me closer to God,” said Buttigieg, a devout Episcopalian.
This is brilliant because he is using an argument that conservatives will love without even understanding why they love it. This is something married men say about their wives, it isn’t something married women say about their husbands, and it goes back to courtly love (what we call chivalry). As Roger Boase explained, summarizing Gaston Paris (the man who coined the term courtly love):
…the lover continually fears lest he should, by some misfortune, displease his mistress or cease to be worthy of her; the lover’s position is one of inferiority; even the hardened warrior trembles in his lady’s presence; she, on her part, makes her suitor acutely aware of his insecurity by deliberately acting in a capricious and haughty manner; love is a source of courage and refinement; the lady’s apparent cruelty serves to test her lover’s valour
Likewise C.S. Lewis explains in The Allegory of Love that courtly love teaches that men must look to women for moral guidance (emphasis mine):
The love which is to be the source of all that is beautiful in life and manners must be the reward freely given by the lady, and only our superiors can reward. But a wife is not a superior.81 As the wife of another, above all as the wife of a great lord, she may be queen of beauty and of love, the distributor of favours, the inspiration of all knightly virtues, and the bridle of ‘villany’;82 but as your own wife, for whom you have bargained with her father, she sinks at once from lady into mere woman. How can a woman, whose duty is to obey you, be the midons whose grace is the goal of all striving and whose displeasure is the restraining influence upon all uncourtly vices?
Puritans tried to tame courtly love (a parody of Christian sexual morality) by bringing it inside Christian marriage. For gay men to bring the idea into their marriages is a fully logical next step.
Update: Buttigieg even notes that he is co-opting a conservative sensibility in his CNN interview with Father Edward Beck (H/T JRob):
Beck: What’s your take on why religion finds same-sex marriage so divisive?
Buttigieg: I saddens me because when I think about the blessings of marriage. First of all, it’s one of the most conservative things about my life, very conventional. It is morally one of the best things in my life. Being married to Chasten makes me a better person. I would even say it moves me closer to God. And so the idea that this of all things is what people are attacking each other over and excluding each other over, when God is love, we are taught. Of all the things to beat people up over on theological grounds, it just seems to me that loving shouldn’t be one of them. So it’s a painful thing to watch. I mean I get it, but. …
If you believe marriage has to do with love, if also, by the way, at the risk of sounding a bit conservative, you believe that sex has to do with love, or ought to, then I think it takes you to a pretty specific place. I’ve learned that it’s an expression of love, at least it can be. And I guess I believe it ought to be.
Related: Light years closer to God.