"Freedom" in Scare Quotes

From a book review of Nation of Bastards: Essays on the End of Marriage:
Where old laws spoke of husbands, wives, and children as “blood relations,” the new laws speak of “persons,” “legal parents,” and “legal parent-child relationships.”

In other words, in the old system, the state presumed the existence of a substantive, natural reality that required legal adumbration: the union of a man and a woman, and the children resulting from their sexual relations. Now the Canadian government sees that it must intervene and redefine marriage and parenthood in order to give fixed legal standing to otherwise fluid and uncertain social relations. When the gay friend donates his sperm to the surrogate mother hired by a lesbian couple, the resulting “family” is a purely legal construct, one that requires the power of state to enforce contracts and attach children to adoptive parents.

We all --yes, even Conservatives-- would rather practice the quintessentially American virtue of minding our own beeswax and leaving people be, but what we're actually doing is allowing the state to tell us who we are.
Much like the current abortion regime and the slavery jurisprudence of the antebellum era, proponents of gay marriage imagine that they can redefine inconvenient, permanent realities and remove traditional barriers to the relentless human desire to get what we want. The idea that “bride” and “groom” are not gender specific is a current sign of the absolute triumph of the political will. When we accept that judges and legislators possess the power to define the meaning of marriage, then it’s hard to imagine what would limit the state’s power to redefine social reality other than “personal autonomy,” which turns out to be no limit at all, since everything is desired by somebody somewhere.
The natural family is a pre-political source of restraint on our will, and on the power of the state. Remove that natural restraint, and you both need --and get-- more police. Including health police.
As we deconstruct social norms for personal life (and sexual relations are just part of this process), other, more violent and crueler forces take their place. Thus our current situation: a raw system of economic reward and punishment keeps most moving in a socially productive direction, with therapeutic professionals to help manage the occasional dysfunctions. For the rest we have well-armed police forces, prisons, and court-administered “family law.” This shouldn’t surprise us. Human beings cannot live together without a felt force of restraint. What should worry us is the migration of that force outward and into the hands of political actors.
It is possible --we see it in history-- for a people to unfit themselves for liberty, to become so corrupt only the tyrant can maintain order. Our political culture sees the bogeyman of tyranny in Bush's wiretapping against an actual enemy, whose malice we have seen in action on our own soil; we ought to be much more concerned about the encroachment of "law" into every area of our personal lives.

And what about minding our own business? (Which is a noble instinct, unlike "tolerance" which has taken on the totalitarian meaning "I force you to admit what I am doing is good.")
most conservatives see the genuine moral importance of tolerance in a free, pluralistic society. But the opposite is not true. Liberals and self-styled progressives are often arrogantly and culpably blind to the importance of settled social mores for a liberal society.
Exactly. It's not as if our state courts are filled with Madisons, Hamiltons and Jays. Weighty matters are being decided by people such as we find on the Canadian Human Rights Commissions. People, as Brett McS comments, who are
shockingly and blatantly illiberal. Blithely unaware that they are casually deciding on great issues over which men have fought and died, with nary a moment's thought.
We are watching the triumph of Rousseau, who wanted us "forced to be free." "Free," rather.

I should add that while "gay marriage" is a particular legal challenge, it is not homosexuals that have brought us to this pass. We "straights" are the ones who created gay marriage --the right to do what we want-- by declaring our right to fornicate, contracept, abort and divorce without fault. There's no vast gay conspiracy to bring down America, there are just logical consequences of Lambeth, Griswold, etc. Guess who signed the first no-fault divorce act in America into law, for example? The sainted Ronald Reagan, as Gov. of California, in 1969.