Peder D4

Discussion of politics and other odious things

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Counter Arguments from the Left

And now for the counter-arguments from the left. These appear daily in the letters section of the Strib. Color me unimpressed.

CL1. Only hatred – The only reason someone could possibly oppose gay marriage is because they’re filled with hatred for gay people. They’ve got their club and they don’t want people they don’t like to join. Anyone who doesn’t support gay marriage is a bigot. Now I’d be a fool if I didn’t recognize that there isn’t a portion of the population that hates homosexuals. But I honestly don’t think that’s what animates most opponents of gay marriage.
I laid out six different arguments against gay marriage. Four of them are clearly not motivated by any possible hatred R1, R2, R4, R5. Clearly not everyone who opposes gay marriage is a hater. Niven’s law states that ‘There is no cause so right that one can’t find a fool following it.’ Even if some oppose out of hatred, that’s no reason to tar everyone.
(R3 has to do with a Biblical admonition against homosexuality. That sometimes leads to hatred. I’d argue that that’s becoming less so as churches are emphasizing ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’. Homosexuality is gaining more tolerance within society. Probably the surest way to reverse that is to label anyone who disagrees with you as a bigot.)
CL2. Marriage is already hurting; fix it first – The argument goes like this: if you can’t even fix marriage for straight people, why are you worrying about gay people? This argument fails on two particulars. First it’s hard to believe that many of the people that offer this are arguing in good faith. There is a movement called Covenant Marriage that is working to fix marriage through stricter divorce laws and mandated counseling. I’ve yet to find anyone who supports gay marriage and Covenant marriage.
The second failure is even worse. Picture ‘marriage’ as a boat. The boat has sprung leaks and some of the passengers are trying to patch them. While this is going on another group is setting up a large drill in the middle of the boat. When the first group tries to stop them, they say ‘Why don’t you fix all the other leaks and then you can talk to us’. This argument will never convince the opposition.
CL3. First (or next) step to Theocracy – There’s a growing belief that ‘separation of church and state’ means that religious people shouldn’t be allowed to effect policy. This is a horrible idea. It’s a mess historically. The civil rights movement of the 60’s was grounded in Christian faith for instance. The effect of such a separation would be overpowering. Jesus talked often and passionately about helping the poor. Should welfare be stopped? A different example is today’s religious left and their deep concern for the environment. Those concerns are largely fueled by the Christian idea of being stewards of the world or the pagan idea of an ‘earth mother’. Should they be shut out of political discussion?
CL4. Rights aren’t decided by majorities – That’s the argument in a nutshell. The idea is that majorities can’t be trusted to honor minority rights. I understand the argument but it has some problems. The first one is obvious. If ‘the people’ can’t be trusted, who can? A small panel of appointed judges? Why are they more trustworthy?
The second problem is that in democracies, majorities do decide on rights. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights were ratified by majorities. Every additional amendment has had the will of the people at it’s heart. Voting rights were extended to blacks and to women because whites and men voted it so. (Yes, there are protections for minority rights built into the system. Arguing that something new like gay marriage is an obviously protected right begs a few questions though, doesn’t it?)
The biggest problem with this approach is that it turns people off from the democratic process. If I believe that X is right and that judges will surely agree with me, what reason do I have to convince my fellow citizens about X? Frankly, they’re all moral reprobates for possibly disagreeing with me. Fun stuff, huh?
CL5. Interracial marriage – Antimiscegenation laws were wrong and so would be laws against gay marriage. The comparison is simple but fails on a basic point. Race is literally skin deep. Gay marriage involves gender which more of a fundamental difference. I could also point out that these laws were struck down after broad social acceptance throughout the country. They were never part of the leading edge of social change.



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