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Great article: "Answering Advocates of Gay Marriage"

By Joy A. Kennelly

I have to upload some pix from the fun events I've attended over the last few days, but felt compelled to raise awareness on this very well-thought out, well-researched, informative article answering the 20 claims people make when advocating gay marriage.

The authors are quite diverse which I appreciate and think you will too. Here's an introduction to their backgrounds:

"Our approach has been both comparative and dialogical. One of us is a man, the other a woman; one is Jewish, the other Gentile; one is gay, the other straight; one specializes in Western civilization, the other in Eastern civilization; and so on. As a result of our collaboration, we have been able to gather a great deal of evidence, both historical and cross-cultural, to support our answers to the claims made by advocates of gay marriage."

The entire article is great and very lengthy, but well worth the read. What I especially enjoyed reading were these points in particular because they relay historical credence to the position so many of us feel and haven't been able to express as readily:

"Claim 9: Gay marriage has had historical and anthropological precedents: 26

Actually, it has had not even one precedent as the norm of any society. Some societies have allowed exceptions to the norm, yes. And some powerful chiefs or kings have defied all norms. But the marital norm for every society has always been heterosexual. It is worth noting at this point that any society could have used culture to mitigate the tendency toward heterosexuality. Any society could have encouraged gay marriage and still reproduced itself; women could always have found ways of procuring sperm, for instance, and men could always have abducted children. But this approach has never been adopted as a norm.

Research on the history and anthropology of gay marriage, so far, has been done mainly with advocacy in mind: supporting gay marriage by finding precedents for it. By academic standards, this material reveals several important substantive and methodological flaws. Some precedents are ambiguous, for instance, because they are merely analogies to marriage. Gay love is said to be like marital love, an initiation ritual into same-sex warrior bonding is said to be like marriage, and so on. Other precedents are taken out of context. It is true, for instance, that some Amerindian societies allowed men to marry other men. But, judging from the information that has been recorded, these societies made sure that only a few men were allowed to do so or that their husbands had already married women and produced children so that demographic survival was not endangered. As for Nero, the Roman emperor, he married a man but in a moral context — a degenerate aristocracy in which murder was rampant and even a horse could be made a senator — that few today would find edifying. Do we really need to take moral instruction from him? Many precedents are irrelevant, moreover, because they refer only to gay relationships, not to gay marriage; the former are not the same as the latter and are not now, in any case, being challenged. Sometimes, moreover, evidence is indirect. Sometimes arguments are made from silence. Sometimes, important information is even ignored (such as subsequent banning of gay marriage).

Even if there were anthropological and historical precedents, however, these would be utterly irrelevant from a moral perspective. Just because something has been done in some other society at some other time, after all, doesn't mean that it should be done in our society at this time. One obvious example should make this clear. Slavery has been practiced in many societies. Should we therefore consider reinstituting that institution? Doing so would be a moral non sequitur, to say the least.

Claim 10: Banning gay marriage is like banning interracial marriage (This is the one that I resonated the most with because certain people throw this in my face knowing that I date interracially. I totally and completely disagree with this argument and this explains why on another level too.)

Actually, it is not. This argument is based on a reductive analogy between racism and heterosexism. Most people today would agree that the state should have no right to prevent interracial marriage, and some now argue for the same reason that it should have no right to prevent gay marriage. Both racism and heterosexism are forms of prejudice. Both are due to a combination of ignorance and malice. Both are evil. But the analogy is seriously flawed, because it assumes that all those who oppose gay marriage, like all those who oppose interracial marriage, are bigots. Some are, but others are not.

Marriage between people of different races was indeed banned because of racism. But that was only one example of a larger phenomenon. We refer to endogamy, marriage only with those from inside the community. And endogamy is not always caused by racism. Sometimes, for instance, it is caused by religion — that is, by the urge to perpetuate a religious culture. These societies ban interreligious marriage but usually accept marriage to converts, regardless of their racial or ethnic origins.

In any case, endogamy is a cultural variable. Many societies practice exogamy, after all, marriage only with those from outside the community. Endogamy cannot be considered a universal feature of marriage and should not, therefore, be required by law in a diverse society. Marriage between men and women really is a universal feature, on the other hand, both historically and anthropologically. And for a good reason: bringing men and women together for both practical and symbolic reasons. The prejudice of some people notwithstanding, in short, there can be a morally legitimate reason for maintaining the heterosexuality of marriage.

Besides, how many advocates of gay marriage would argue for polygamous marriage as well? Some would, no doubt, but not many. Although we do not advocate polygamy, we also do not see anything inherently wrong with it.27 Because a good case could be made for it, following precisely the same logic as that of the case made for gay marriage (see claim 17), it would be dishonest for advocates of the latter to trivialize it due to political expediency.

Claim 13: Anyone who opposes same-sex marriage is homophobic: (This is another good one because I've been called an intolerant bigot and worse by those I've tried to discuss this issue with despite the clear evidence I am not. Good points all!)

This argument amounts to verbal terrorism. By "homophobic" is meant prejudice and hostility, although this word actually connotes the neuroticism of a phobia. The implication is that only evil or sick people can possibly disagree with any claim made by gay people. (Never mind that not even all gay people are in favor of gay marriage.)

Moreover, this is an ad hominem argument. It is easy to trivialize arguments by attacking the personal integrity of those who make them. That way, you need not deal with the argument itself.

Claim 20: But gay people are a small minority. Allowing them to marry would mean nothing more than a slight alteration to the existing system and would even add support for the institution. What's all the fuss about?

(This one I'm excerpting to make a clear point, but it's much longer when you click the original article.)

This argument is disingenuous, to say the least. If the alteration were so slight, after all, why would (some) gay couples insist on access to marriage? The question is worth asking, because gay couples in Canada34 already have most of the benefits conferred by marriage and more can be added. Ostensibly, only the word "marriage" is at stake.

Neither we nor our opponents can predict now precisely what these consequences would be or when they would appear. And that is our point. Why rush into this? Given more time, we might be able at least to make an informed decision. With this in mind, consider what might indeed change as a result of redefining marriage to include gay couples.

People would not riot in the streets, to be sure, if gay marriage were legalized. In the immediate future, not everyone would even notice the results. Religious communities would be the first big losers, because religious freedom would become increasingly hard to defend. Even if exceptions were initially made so that religious communities would not be forced to marry gay couples, these exceptions would eventually be challenged in the courts. The latter would have to choose, after all, between two competing rights: freedom of religion versus equality. Guess which one is most likely to trump the other (see claim 14)."

Here's the original article in its entirety if you care to read it. I highly recommend it. I've decided that anyone who wishes to discuss this issue further with me will only be referred to this because it's so clear and logical.

"Answering Advocates of Gay Marriage

KATHERINE YOUNG AND PAUL NATHANSON

Attention: The Catholic Education Resource Center notes that the persons writing this article are neither Catholic nor in full agreement with the Church's teaching on homosexuality. Nevertheless, the urgency of the issue of gay marriage at this time and the compelling arguments raised against it here, make this paper an important resource."

Got to hand it to the Catholic Church for being open-minded enough to advocate another's viewpoint that isn't Catholic simply because it answers the pressing questions of our society. Something I wish the Christian church would be more proactive in doing, but at least I can pose it here as a resource too.

I will say that people's lack of tolerance for another's dissenting viewpoint by marching and holding angry news conferences is beginning to backfire among general society. I think there was much more sympathy towards this issue before the backlash, but I could be wrong. I just know I'm tired of it as many others are.

I went out to Hollywood last night for a screening and we drove over to Hollywood and Highland afterward only to be greeted by the entire block in front of the Gruman's Chinese Theatre heavily barricaded with hundreds of cop cars and motorcycles blocking the angry chanting protesters from continuing down Hollywood Blvd with their signs.

Since when did I choose to live in a police controlled state? Since when is legisation that people vote on not accepted? Reasonable people I've dealt with on other subjects normally and without rancor have suddenly become rabid in their accusations and attacks on me and my personal beliefs. Why is that acceptable? Where's the love? Where's the tolerance? I don't get it.

Even today, someone has suggested that a government referundum be passed to run myself and the other lone dissenter out of Hermosa Beach - ha ha - very funny - but how much longer before it becomes a reality that anyone who chooses to express a religious, intelligent alternative viewpoint is run out of a community simply by virtue of expressing themselves?

Is this really what America has come to? If so, I want no part of it. However, I believe that truth will win out and reality will begin to settle in leaving those who continue this immature display of anger and protest as nothing more than a minor blip on the news radar.

At least one can hope right? Enough with the angry lesbian. Enough with the angry crowds who feel nothing about hitting and attacking innocent people. Especially the ones who spit on the old lady going to get her perscription. Shameful. Where's the tolerance and love?

I know I've experienced reverse discrimination years ago in college when my girlfriend and I accidently wandered into a gay restaurant to have dinner on the patio. We were harrassed and ridiculed so much by the gay men sitting around us we eventually moved inside to get away from their comments and abuse.

Many of the guys who were appalled at their counterparts behavior came up to us afterward to apologize and express their concern that of anyone who should know what it feels like to be ridiculed and attacked it should be those men sitting out there.

Maybe we all need to take another page from Rodney King's book and begin to ask the question again, "Can't we all get along?" I really don't see the discrimination gays are proclaiming is happening other than this issue. Do you?

They don't have to sit at the back of the bus. They don't have to drink out of separate water fountains. They don't have to only go to gay restaurants (although many do). They don't have to live in certain areas of the city (although again, many do). They don't have to hide their gay relationships out in public. They can wear t-shirts, have bumper stickers, hold parades, hold events, and many other things that hetero people do. Where is the discrimination?

It just irritates me when people equate our civil rights movement to this movement because as far as I know, there really is no comparison. If anything gay people are more accepted as part of society than many other minorities!

I'll get off my soapbox because I'm tired of standing on it. I just needed to voice my opinion because who knows how much longer I'll be allowed to if the thought police and others have their way. I love and appreciate all my gay friends. I want you to know and understand that fact once and for all.

I just needed to share some thoughts that we don't always discuss because if this causes you to change your opinion on our friendship, then so be it. I will accept your decision. However, I hope that we can agree to disagree and realize there is room in this world and our friendships for a wide divergence of opinion.

Accepting the fact that we need to agree to disagree because this is America still and we all have Freedom of Speech and freedom of expression. Doesn't mean we'll always accept each other's viewpoints, but we need to respect them nonetheless.

Thanks for reading.




Comments

SolShine7

Thanks for posting this! I was in college in Boston when they passed gay marriage there. A bunch of churches did a prayer protest at the capital (especially the minority ones). It was really cool to see Christians of all kinds of colors and ethnicity unite together for a shared goal.

Also, racism against blacks during the Civil Rights area and interracial marriage is not that same as gay rights issues. As a biracial black person I find that link insulting to the history of those who came before me.

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