Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Anti-Gay Marriage Insanity

You gotta love this kind of fevered rhetoric from the religious right:

The president of the American Family Association (AFA) of Pennsylvania says lawmakers in her state have voted to destroy traditional marriage. The pro-family group is decrying a move by Pennsylvania senators that weakened a proposed state marriage protection amendment by stripping from it a ban on civil unions.

Last week, the state Senate voted 38-12 in favor of a proposed constitutional amendment protecting marriage but removed language prohibiting civil unions. That June 21 vote follows one earlier this month, in which Pennsylvania House members approved a proposed constitutional amendment that not only defines marriage as being between a man and a woman but also outlaws other domestic partnerships.

Because, of course, any recognition of gay relationships at all will “destroy traditional marriage.” The moment we give any legal or financial protectiosn to gay people at all, all of the heterosexual marriages in that state will immediately dissolve. Parents will stop loving their kids, people will stop getting married, and all hell will break loose. What’s that you say? You want to know what the actual causal link is in this argument, what exactly will cause traditional marriage to be “destroyed” the moment a gay person gets to put their partner on their insurance or gets to buy a house and have dower rights? That’s just the sort of question an amoral, godless, anti-family demon worshipper would ask!

Comments

  1. #1 Capt. Rational
    June 27, 2006

    More compelling arguments against gay marriage, I see. Ya know, at the end of the day, their arguments boil down to “Because we said so!” Does the logic inherent in this situation really elude these people so perfectly, or are they just being dickwads? That’s the only real question here.

  2. #2 Ginger Yellow
    June 27, 2006

    To be honest, I reckon the civil union thing is about the only logical argument the anti-gay marriage types have. I fail to see any way in which allowing gay people to marry would weaken the marriages of straight people, but you can make a semi-convincing argument that by granting marriage-like rights to non-marriage institutions, you devalue marriage itself. It’s for this reason that I find the “civil unions, not gay marriage” crowd so annoying. They’re conceding the moral ground to the bigots and making their arguments less transparently ludicrous.

  3. #3 kehrsam
    June 27, 2006

    What is occurring in this debate is a classic case of cognitive dissonance, as the two sides are simply not speaking the same language. It’s a bit like the Pro Life/Pro Choice debate, only more so.

    The anti-gay side of the debate is truly interested in preserving marriage — as an ideal. And in this ideal world, homosexuals do not exist. This is the same reason heterosexual divorce is not an issue in the debate, it simply is not part of the ideal. And while you and I may argue that J-Lo is a bigger threat to marriage than a committed gay couple, it falls on deaf ears.

    I have had several long and thoughtful email exchanges with the pastor of my church (Sothern Baptist) and it is very clear that in his mind homosexuality is just a symptom of sin (from Romans 1) and therefore all that need be done is repent. It is not a real world approach to the problem.

    The odd part is most modern churches do recognize reality in other areas of life. Ironically, I’ll be starting a divorce recovery ministry at the church this fall.

    In a way, discrimination against homosexuality is a distillation of all the hates that have been abandoned over the years. It is a reaction to a world eerily unlike the one in the national collective unconcsious. Betty Crocker isn’t even a white mother anymore.

    In my mind, you live with the reality you have, not the one you want. By all means work for change if you think that a good idea. But what we have currently is a system that leaves people vulnerable at best, and at worst actively discriminated against. That doesn’t fit in my ideal world.

  4. #4 Chance
    June 27, 2006

    I think Ginger Yellow makes a very good point. One sure way to devalue marriage is to give the same rights and protections to another insitution, i.e civil unions.

  5. #5 rik
    June 27, 2006

    kehrsam — thanks much! It puts a huge amount of light on the problem. I could not believe that the anti-gay marriage crowd was simply engaged in such blatant hypocrisy (it wasn’t the “hypocrisy’ that was troublesome, it was the “blatant”. Your explanation really clears things up. Now, the question is whether there is any way to slice through the perceptual gap?

  6. #6 Dexceus
    June 27, 2006

    What the civil union does is perserve marriage as a religous ceremony and union. In all reality, the goverment should only endorse civil unions and leave the word marriage to the religous ceremony. Of course, there are some religions that would have no problem marrying someone of the same sex.

  7. #7 Chance
    June 27, 2006

    What the civil union does is perserve marriage as a religous ceremony and union. In all reality, the goverment should only endorse civil unions and leave the word marriage to the religous ceremony

    But this is just semantics and in my view somewhat dishonest. As I said in another rather lengthy thread marriage was coopted by religion long after it’s origin as a civic event. So other than appeasement of bigots I don’t really see the need to make two seperate avenues for something that was civic in it’s origins anyway.

    The various, and I do mean various, religions can still marry who they please and call it whatever they choose. Why the government should create another distict avenue as mentioned above doesn’t make sense when one already exists.

    But I’m not gay and if it acceptable to that community I guess I am wrong about my sentiment on this issue.

  8. #8 Sastra
    June 27, 2006

    I personally hate the idea of giving the pious exclusive rights to the word “marriage.” For one thing, it would mean my 28 year marriage is no longer (because we’re atheists — see, it must not be a REAL marriage.) No way. Marriage is not like getting confirmed or baptised. It’s a secular function which can be given religious trappings. Or not.

    Not long ago the Born Again came up with the idea of “Covenant Marriage.” You sign all sorts of things about agreeing not to divorce, and make a huge deal about how this is your promise to God, etc. Let THEM go through extra hoops and fiddle around with the vocabulary if they want.

  9. #9 Clark Goble
    June 27, 2006

    Kehrsam, I completely agree with you. And, as I said in the previous thread, both sides are talking past one an other precisely because of state involvement in the issue. For one side it is about marriage primarily as a symbol. For the other is it about practical rights. Until one recognizes this neither side will really understand each other.

    Chance, I think most disagree with you as you “date” this marriage as civics only with the Puritans. That is you are looking at marriage purely in terms of contracts. But as I think I said there we’re talking apples and oranges in this.

  10. #10 Chance
    June 27, 2006

    I think most disagree with you as you “date” this marriage as civics only with the Puritans.

    No Clark we are not. It’s only apples and oranges if one chooses to make it so. I do not date marriage with the Puritans but as far back as Babylonia. Of which I gave links tha last time this came up.

    I don’t know why you say ‘most’ disagree. Virtually all historians recognize marriage originated as a contact between parties and was recognized by governments well before the time of the Puritans. That the government recognized such contracts is clear from ancient law writngs such as those of Hammurabbi. Again which I also linked.

    That is you are looking at marriage purely in terms of contracts. But as I think I said there we’re talking apples and oranges in this

    Thats because that is what it is. This is reality. Even is one takes the pomp and cicumstance of religion seriously it is still pomp and circumstance surrounding the signing of a contract without which one simply doesn’t have a marriage.

  11. #11 Jay Denari
    June 27, 2006

    It’s a secular function which can be given religious trappings. Or not.

    In a nutshell, that’s what the Court said in Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health, the case that opened the door to gay marriage here in MA.

    For those who are curious, here are the official state stats for gay marriages since it became legal in May 2004:

    Table 1. Number of marriage records received by the Massachusetts Registry of Vital Records and Statistics from May 17, 2004 through May 5, 2006 by year.

    Year M/F — M/M — F/F — Total
    2004 27,196 — 2,166 — 3,929 — 33,291
    2005 36,141 — 720 — 1,302 — 38,163
    2006 3,999 — 24 — 30 — 4,053 *
    Total 67,336 — 2,910 — 5,261 — 75,507

    As the data CLEARLY shows, there’s been no negative effect on straight marriages. I could easily imagine more liberal straight couples nationwide coming to MA to marry in support of the change. Gay couples, however, can’t do likewise b/c of an abscure 1913 law prohibiting acts in this state that would be illegal in their home state.

    (* 2006 is obviously not complete. The state allows towns to file new marriages up to two months after the fact and some do it later, so this figure is low.)

  12. #12 nicole
    June 27, 2006

    Jay Denari said:

    I could easily imagine more liberal straight couples nationwide coming to MA to marry in support of the change.

    In fact, two of my good friends are doing just this next month. They met in school in Massachusetts but now live in Michigan, and when they decided to get married they would only do so in the state that would also allow gay marriage, even though they’re straight.

  13. #13 TomP
    June 28, 2006

    Point, if you are going to “define marriage as … between a man and a woman”, don’t you have to define exactly what a man and a woman are. It seems to me in the vast spectrum of humanity there are plenty of people out there that blur the line both physicaly and psychologicaly between male and female. It starts when you come down the chute and the Doc checks out your goodies and pronounces you one or the other. In most cases, it’s straight forward, but mistakes are made. And of course, life goes on regardles of what’s on the certificate. Any way, my point is, if we are going to have the definition of “marriage” set in stone, don’t we also have to codify what and how to definitively test for “gender”? What would that test be? How certain can you be? And how silly is that? Ultimately, if two people want to get married, can’t they just declare that A, is male and B is female? Who is going to look in their pants?

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