Gay marriage opponents—please respond …

Dan Savage brings the heat. What possible arguments exist?

I’ve heard opponents to gay marriage offer 800 different reasons, and it always boils down to one—the idea makes us uncomfortable.

Understandable, because of the way we’ve been conditioned. But not a good enough idea to keep it illegal. Not even close.

16 thoughts on “Gay marriage opponents—please respond …”

  1. The only acceptable argument against government recognition and regulation of gay marriage is the argument against government recognition and regulation of ALL marriage. Even that is a little too radically anti-government for my standards.

  2. Classicist is right. Marriage is a completely arbitrary thing for the government to be involved in. I don’t have to get a license to start a new job, or to get a new best friend. Any laws concerning its definition are just as arbitrary.

  3. Savage’s primary argument in this video — that heterosexuals have already redefined marriage to mean something that is so individualistic that it can’t rightfully exclude homosexuals — suffers from a fairly obvious false premise.

    It presumes that the same heterosexuals who are trying to preserve marriage as between a man and a woman are the ones responsible for those earlier shifts — toward individualized criteria for marriage, toward a culture where marriages are not “till death do us part” but “till one of us gets sick of the other,” toward a culture in which children are considered optional addenda to a marriage, etc.

    But in fact, there are quite a number of voices, including some institutional voices, that ALSO resisted those earlier shifts. Look at the Catholic Church — its positions on, say, the indissolubility of marriage, or on openness to children as a prerequisite for marriage, did not change when society’s positions changed. As a matter of fact, it spoke out, and continues to speak out, against those changes. You may vehemently disagree with its positions, but you can’t call them inconsistent.

    Similarly, the heterosexual people who WERE responsible for those earlier societal shifts are generally the ones who, nowadays, are all for gay marriage. Again, you may vehemently disagree with them, but you can’t call THEM inconsistent either.

    I’ll grant you: There are *some* people out there, including some very public figures, who are indeed inconsistent on this — who supported (or at least took advantage of) those earlier shifts, but who resist the idea of gay civil marriage.

    But “some” doesn’t mean “all.” Just ask Venn.

    Thus, to suggest, as Savage does, that A has no room to talk because of something B did (that A opposed) is absurd.

    It would be like someone arguing that all Americans are culpable for the Iraq war because they voted Bush into office, when in fact many people did NOT vote Bush into office.

    Actually, it would be like saying that we MUST continue the Iraq war, because we as Americans have already shifted toward a culture in which such wars are justified — when, in fact, many Americans resisted that shift all along.

  4. To Shaun G-Holding on to an antiquated definition of marriage and rejecting the current model just proves Savages point. Your viewpoint is a minority religous viewpoint and should be rejected as a government policy.

  5. To me, this is simple: Marriage is open to religious interpretation. If the Catholic church doesn’t want to condone it, they don’t have to have same-sex weddings. If the Unitarians believe in it, they should be able to perform the service.

    Government should sanction all unions from a legal standpoint only. There’s no reason same-sex couples should be denied the same rights and burdens under the law as hetero couples.

    Seperation of church and state is somehow lost in this political debate.

  6. the catholic and other churches should be able to ban gay marriage as long as they start paying taxes to a govt that they are influencing.

    if the govt proposed that, i have a feeling all religion would be for gay marriage.

  7. This guy made some sense – but when he invoked 4 out of 5 adulterers as GOP’ers — including “outing” (pun intended) Bob and Elizabeth Dole to my ears – I now pronounce him an asshole. Seriously, I guess my big problem with gay marriage is mainly the tactics of proponents who slander (or worse) those who oppose it, and the use of judicial fiat to achieve it. The institution of one-man/one woman has a linchpin to W. Society for a long time, that I believe that my consideration to the societal consequences changing that fundamental unit is not anti-gay or conditioned, but common sense.
    When gay marriage was first introduced as a political topic in the 1990s, my first thought was polygamy or incest (let’s say first cousin, not sibling) — why are we allowed to use tradition or morality when it comes to those, but not homosexuality.

  8. Matt-

    You arguments are:

    1) Homosexuals don’t respond to their own victimization and discrimination in a way I want them to, so we shouldn’t continue to punish them until they do.

    2) Things have been a certain way for along time, and that’s a good reason to keep them the same.

    Neither of those is very influential.

    Lastly, half the states allow first cousins to get married. Most countries allow it too. And the only argument against it is rooted in evolutionary theory. So, if you happen to be a Creationist, there is no argument. (Though, it should be added, that Darwin was also married to his first cousin.)

    So my question to you is: Will you lead the charge in the fight against first cousin marriage? Will you save us from this scourge???

  9. JWeb, yes it is all about my vendettas. Logically it doesn’t hold water, I realize.

    1) I wasn’t specifically referring to homosexuals – just many on that side of that argument. Case in point, victimization and discrimination, come on – are you serious. Geez. I think real victims in history would change places.

    2) I think most would agree that marriage between a man and woman is good for families and society – look at the American inner city as an example of the opposite. Why is changing this fundamental formula and defining it as marriage such a rush.

    3) Cousin marriage – I suspect you intentionally missed my point. It is simply that morality, religious beliefs, and tradition help us determine how we view other relationships (the best example is polygamy), why not gay marriage. It is the same question I asked myself 13 years ago, when this really became a political question. It has never been anwered.

    Truthfully, I think things should have gone a different direction. I think most states should have passed legislation over the last decade instituting civil unions – called something other than marriage – in which gay couples have the same legal rights as marriage. Then the media and entertainment should have drilled into our brains over a 20-25 year period that if you oppose gay marriage you are a bigot along the lines of Bull Connor. Then, when enough of the greatest generation and even early boomers had died and demographic realignment has made this country solidly to the left, civil unions should have changed to gay marriage. Everyone would have been comfortable with the idea of it, and if not, too bad. Instead it was crammed really quickly through judicial fiat in CA and elsewhere (although not in Maine, that was democratic), and many of those who question it are .. . yes, victimized and discriminated against. You have a President who supports gay marriage privately but can’t do so with policy because most of his constituants do not (including many of the base of his party -including blacks and Hispanics). You have some states with gay marriage, others without it, you have referedums overturning laws, have a possibly unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act from the 90s which confuses things, and jackasses like Savage who are cheaply outing Bob and Libby Dole’s marriage.

  10. If you don’t see that homosexuals have been victimized and discriminated against in America in the last fifty years (forever, really, but let’s stick to people who are alive), then I can understand why you don’t think any of this is that big a deal. If you are ever so lucky as to know a fifty year old homosexual though, you should ask them about it.

    Why aren’t there civil unions, you ask? Well, gay people have been begging for them forever. But, no dice. Why not? Discrimination, maybe?

    The thing is, you are concerned about these issues of victimization and discrimination. However, your sympathy lies with the handful (literally) of people who have been “victimized” by the pro-gay marriage side of the argument. Think about that. You have two aggrieved parties, and you feel more sympathy for Carrie Prejean than Dan Savage. Examine this thought process.

    And give me a break acting like being against gay marriage is this tremendous burden. Most politicians are. Fifty percent of Americans are. It’s a hell of a lot easier to be against gay marriage than it is to be gay, I’ll promise you that. A whole lot easier to conform to learned prejudices than to seek your own truth.

    Lastly, What Savage is saying about Bob Dole is that maybe people who sign a law called the Defense of Marriage Act shouldn’t be people who once ran out on a wife and child. Seems fair to me. And any anger Dan Savage might have concerning laws that affect him to a far greater degree than they affect you and me…well, that’s seems legitimate too.

    (About your concerns that things are being “rushed”. Read “Letter from Birmingham Jail” sometime.)

  11. I absolutely have more sympathy for Prejean. She had her life turned upside down and lost her pageant because of her beliefs when she asked an out-of-left field political question. Her answered was measured and reasonable (and shared by most). Savage by first impression is a jackass who hasn’t been victimized because of his beliefs.

    When I belittled “victimization”, it was simply in reference to the question of marriage.

    Letters from Birmingham — gimme’ a break. If this is true, you have a President who is willing to ignore an historical injustice for political gain. Also, many of the black community and “leadership” don’t find this an appropriate comparison.

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