Friday, May 27, 2011

You cannot vote in favor of defining marriage as between one man and one woman without being a bigot.

Katherine Kersten, the Twin Cities leader of published idiotic right-wing rhetoric, the inability to separate church and state, and shameless homophobia, is at it again:
The Star Tribune's recent editorial on the marriage amendment was typical. "Don't put bigotry on the ballot," its headline ran.
But people who support one man-one woman marriage are not bigots. They argue, very reasonably, that marriage is rooted in nature -- in male/female sexual complementarity -- and that children need both a mother and a father. They say that's why it has been the bedrock institution of procreation and social order in virtually all times and places.
Same-sex-marriage supporters' attempt to tar this view as "bigotry" seems designed to shield them from tough questions as they campaign to redefine the world's fundamental social institution. Labeling your opponent a "bigot" is the ultimate rhetorical mudball--a classic slur intended to silence and intimidate rather than to facilitate an exchange of ideas.
Emphasis mine.  Here we go again, with the same old regurgitation of already-debunked, pseudo-scientific garbage arguments that are rooted in ignorance, fear, and... wait for it... bigotry.  These things have been discussed to hell and back, so I'm going to focus now instead on her claim that supporters of the legal recognition of same-sex marriage are using intimidation tactics and slurs by rightfully calling out the inherent bigotry of opposing equal marriage.

Marriage, as a legal and civil matter, isn't rooted in nature; that's like saying an apartment lease is the same as a tulip.  Humans created marriage, humans define marriage, humans decide whether or not to get married, and humans decide how to navigate their marriages and partnerships.  The concept of marriage does not exist in a special section of the universe as a natural law, like gravity.  It either is, or it isn't.  Humans decide.  And anyway, if you want to argue that marriage is rooted in nature, so is homosexuality.  Left yourself wide open for that one, Katherine.

But let's get to the root of this argument: Kersten is claiming that those who go out of their way to prohibit gay marriage on the basis of flimsy, irritatingly vacant arguments are not bigots.  This is impossible.  You cannot be opposed to legalizing same-sex marriage and not be a bigot.  Even if you're a Christian whose belief about homosexuality being a sin is your "right," you are still a bigot, because your church (which is the only entity under which you consider a marriage to valid, correct?) is under absolutely no obligation to perform or recognize same-sex marriages, and there has yet to be a bill introduced that would dictate what a church or religious institution may or may not recognize concerning marriage and partnership.  She goes on to discuss what she believes is misleading wording in polls conducted by supporters of equal marriage:
"For years, the 'ban same-sex marriage' language in polls has produced about a 6 to 10 percentage point undercount on support for traditional marriage," says Maggie Gallagher of the National Organization for Marriage. "If you want to get the least favorable result on marriage, this is the language you choose for your poll."
One reason for the undercount is that some people interpret the "ban" language as implying that same-sex marriage or homosexual relationships will somehow be criminalized or made illegal, according to Gallagher. The "ban" language also casts traditional marriage supporters in a negative light. It compels them to say they are against something, rather than allowing them to articulate what they are for.
Let's make something clear: in order to support marriage equality, one does not need to abandon support for "traditional" marriage (and how far back are we going with this "traditional" thing, anyway?  A lot has changed...).  This is not a zero-sum game.  And Gallagher -- who I can't even believe Kersten has the nerve to quote, considering the vile lies and hate speech that NOM is known for -- for all of her protest about the way public opinion polls are worded, couldn't be a bigger hypocrite as she accuses her opponents of distorting words and facts to make their point.
Most important, people often hesitate to tell a pollster their true beliefs about marriage when traditional marriage supporters are routinely demonized as bigots and haters.
Most important?  Why should supporters of equal marriage be upset about opponents being afraid to be called bigots and haters?  That's exactly what they are.  There is literally no reason to oppose the legal recognition of gay marriage that is not rooted in bigotry, fear, and ignorance-- not to mention sheer hatred, for a great number of them.  That's because people marrying a person of the same sex affects the lives of absolutely 0 people other than the two people getting married, and does not negatively affect children raised by two parents of the same sex.  Opposing same-sex marriage because you feel it threatens the meaning of your heterosexual marriage simply means that your heterosexual marriage probably sucks and you should probably fix that, rather than worrying about other people's desire to join your ranks. 

Of course, there is also this:
  • Being gay is not natural. Real Americans™ always reject unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester, and air conditioning. 
  • Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.
  • Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.
  • Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn’t changed at all; women are still property, blacks still can’t marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.
  • Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed; the sanctity of Britany Spears’ 55-hour just-for-fun marriage would be destroyed.
  • Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn’t be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren’t full yet, and the world needs more children.
  • Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.
  • Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That’s why we have only one religion in America.
  • Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That’s why we as a society expressly forbid single parents to raise children.
  • Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven’t adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans.
There are also people who make arguments that sounds just like this
America must be on God’s side. All truth is God’s truth, which is why all the foregoing reasons against homosexual “marriage” are valid. God’s Word explains why they are true. Every reason to oppose “gay marriage” is secondary to the fact that God has spoken. Starting in the Bible’s first book with the creation of man and woman, which as the pinnacle of creation He calls “very good” (Gen. 1:31), and continuing through the last book, God’s plan for marriage is abundantly clear.
We do not live in a theocracy, so a belief in the truth of the Bible means absolutely nothing for people who do not believe in the same thing.  Or, as Warren put it:
I didn't get married in a church, nor do my wife and I practice any form of organized religion.  This is our right.   It was also our right to not get married within the confines of a church, which we didn't.  Does this mean that we didn't actually get married?  Essentially this is one of the major precepts of gay marriage opponents, that it can't be marriage if it isn't recognized by God.  I don't tell Christians, Jews, Muslims, or Hindus how to define their sacred acts, why should they be able to dictate how we define our lawful, non-religious acts?

Marriage is marriage.  Those who want to willfully categorize it with oppressive legislation exclusively based on how their religion practices it are selfish zealots who have brought the marketplace of politics into the temple. They shouldn't be able to legislate their beliefs within our states or force them upon our broader country.  I think it's exactly the opposite of what Jesus would do.
No one cares what happens in your church (unless you're sexually assaulting children-- would you please knock that off?).  And if you want to base your opposition to the legal recognition of gay marriage on your religious beliefs, then you'd better start getting just as loud about your opposition to my marriage, and Warren's marriage, and the countless other marriages that are legally recognized outside of a church, and those recognized by other religions.  Otherwise, your bigotry and homophobia are utterly transparent.