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Aug 08 2012

Marriage Equality is an issue with no valid middle ground

This could also be titled “how to get unfriended on Facebook”.  Always beware of someone asking “genuine, non-rhetorical questions” they want answers to from the opposing side.  Sometimes they don’t like your answer.  My former FB friend posted the following, in reference to an article by Michael Rowe:

I truly hope this opinion from one man doesn’t reflect the consensus of those who oppose Chick-Fil-A. Is there no room for nuanced or civilized debate that doesn’t resort to character assassination?

Here’s just a sample of how the Chick-Fil-A supporters who showed up on Wednesday are labeled: “(they are) a pageant of banal, cheerful deep-fried American hate, unified in bigotry and detestation of a group of their fellow Americans who were different from them.”

It gets worse when describing Dan Cathy, the owner of Chick-Fil-A: “He’s actually making millions from it, and he’s done it cynically, and at the expense of other human beings, then sharing that blood money with others like him, whose mandate isn’t holiness, but hatred, violence, division, and ostracism.”

Now here’s a genuine, non-rhetorical question I’m hoping to get answered by those who oppose Chick-Fil-A. Do you believe it’s possible for someone to oppose same-sex marriage and not be a hateful bigot? Do you believe that all who oppose same-sex marriage follow a mandate of “hatred, violence, division, and ostracism” that trumps the dictates of Christian behavior?

I am not for redefining marriage, but I also have several gay friends who I love dearly and whose honor I would defend (physically if necessary) if I ever witnessed them being bullied or harassed because of their orientation or for any other reason. Is this love I feel for my friends automatically phony because I oppose same-sex marriage? Do I have deep hatred that’s even hidden from myself? I think not. Christ’s command to love is far too important for me to not take seriously as a dedicated Christian. God loves all his children unconditionally, and woe is any Christian who finds any reason not to love a person whom God loves.

Michael Rowe also makes a point to say that basically those who oppose same sex marriage are not practicing true Christianity. I don’t know if Rowe is a Christian himself, but biblically-based Christianity (Catholic or Protestant) has never supported the idea of same-sex marriage.

So Christians who actually believe in what is almost universally taught are labeled as bigots and phonies. Rowe has no authority to redefine beliefs systems about gender and sexuality and then declare them to be more Christian than what’s been traditionally the case.

Then let’s be clear. Anyone is free to disagree with, or even hate, Christianity if they feel so inclined. And as a lover of liberty I will fight to defend your legal right to smear Christianity six ways from Sunday. But if you think I am a bad Christian (or specifically bad Catholic), because I follow what my church teaches, you are simply wrong.

I know this country is deeply divided ideologically. But if we are to make any progress in bridging the divide it must start with a commitment to cast aside examples of false polarization. Between legalizing gay marriage and keeping it as the status quo is an entire spectrum of thoughtful and valuable opinion that doesn’t automatically involve degrees of ignorance, hatred, or bigotry.

But nuance doesn’t make for good sound bytes.

My answer that got me unfriended:

“Do you believe it’s possible for someone to oppose same-sex marriage and not be a hateful bigot?”

I do not believe it is possible for someone to oppose same-sex marriage and not be a bigot. The denial of rights is inherently hateful. Saying I am better than you is hateful. Saying you aren’t quite a fully deserving human, but a lower caste member deserving of second-class citizenship is hateful. Saying my religion tells me to do this so I don’t care what your religion says, I’m going to make you follow my religion’s rules is inherently hateful. Saying love is wrong is hateful.

“Do you believe that all who oppose same-sex marriage follow a mandate of “hatred, violence, division, and ostracism” that trumps the dictates of Christian behavior?”

As I have seen many Christians who endorse that sort of behavior, I’m not sure I can say that they’re going against their dictates. I do not think they are necessarily violent, but telling a group of people their love is worth less than yours is, again, inherently hateful, divisive, and ostracizing.

“Is this love I feel for my friends automatically phony because I oppose same-sex marriage?”

If a white man has a lot of black friends who he loves dearly but flips his shit when his daughter dates a black man and thinks interracial marriage should be illegal, is his “love for his friends” automatically phony. No. It’s just really fucked up.

To those of us who support marriage equality, what Chick-fil-A and their supporters look like are people who protested integration of schools and the civil rights acts and allowing black people at the lunch counter. And in addition to discriminating against them for who they are, you are punishing them for having the most wonderful thing that a person can have: love.

If your religion wants to be cruel, fine, but don’t enshrine it in law. If you’re mad at invective, just remember how heartbroken those of us who think of gay people as fully human and deserving of happiness are to see them treated so badly. It’s so hard to watch every day, and it’s so hard to watch people get so excited and mean about it, it’s so hard to hear the word faggot and dyke thrown with such invective at people who are fundamentally decent, it’s so hard to see children whose parents aren’t allowed to marry or jointly adopt the child they are raising, it’s so hard to see people deported because their partner is of the same-sex and therefore they cannot get citizenship through marriage, it’s hard to see people say that these wonderful people are destroying America. It’s really hard. And if you really have a heart and can look at these people and say that that’s OK, well, you must not think they’re really people.

So yeah, people called Dan Cathy a bigot — but hey, at least they aren’t calling him a cocksucking faggot who will destroy America just because he is in love with the wrong person.

Addendum to that answer for the blog:

“Between legalizing gay marriage and keeping it as the status quo is an entire spectrum of thoughtful and valuable opinion that doesn’t automatically involve degrees of ignorance, hatred, or bigotry.”

There is no middle ground on the question of whether gays should have equal rights under the law.  There may be a middle ground in the debate Christians have over how bad gay people are, but that’s a separate question.  I’m sorry to be so blunt, but how you justify your bigotry isn’t thoughtful or valuable to anyone but other bigots.

I’d also add that the gentleman in question is a *good* Catholic, and that’s his problem — sometimes being a good Christian makes you a bad person.  It’s a shame, because he’s not a bad person, but he’s wrong and being wrong on this issue causes harm.

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  1. 1
    logicpriest

    I love you :D

    I see this too, with many on Facebook. People who are generally nice yet somehow think there is some “golden mean” to be found, who think calling bigoted people bigots is as bad as f*g and so on ad infinitum. When someone defends bigotry they themselves are probably bigots, too. And when someone thinks name calling someone based on behavior is the same as name calling based on identity are the same I can’t speak to them anymore without getting angry.

    BTW much of my family is from (like me) the bible belt so …sigh.

  2. 2
    Ned Champlain

    That is not what the owner of Chic Fil A is against same sex marriage. The religous groups he contributes to endorses the murder of gays. Its wrong.

  3. 3
    Bill Perkins

    Basically it works like this: I say something that’s wrong (and deep down I kinda suspect it’s wrong because I feel horrible for saying it, but it is God’s law, after all. You call me out on it. I feel worse. That makes you a bad person.

  4. 4
    Alyson Miers

    Do you believe it’s possible for someone to oppose same-sex marriage and not be a hateful bigot?

    I think it’s theoretically possible that some opponents of equality are misinformed, ignorant or simply haven’t given the issue much thought. As the debate rages on, however, it becomes increasingly difficult to remain ignorant, or to avoid thinking about the issues. Therefore, the anti-equality side selects more for hateful bigotry and less for sheltered ignorance. The pro-equality side gets more of the people who simply didn’t know any better as recently as a year ago, but who now have a clue.

    To put money, knowingly, in the hands of groups that advocate killing gays, however, is simply hateful.

    Although, your friend is correct in that Michael Rowe has no business telling anyone they’re not true Christians. Christianity is as Christians practice.

  5. 5
    smrnda

    If you say you ‘love’ gay people and oppose their rights to get married, then your ‘love’ is just an empty word you say to make yourself feel better about yourself in comparison to more hard-line critics of gays. This guys’ ‘love’ of his gay friends is pure bullshit.

    People who oppose same-sex marriage tend to go with the usual idea that if you smile, don’t use harsh language and seem friendly, then you can support ant-GLBT policies and somehow get a free pass as ‘not hateful.’ I mean, it’s a belief that attitude or demeanor is more important than actions, and in a situation like this, it’s actions that count. You can say you don’t hate people, but if you’re making their lives difficult, it’s just talk.

    A similar example – I know someone who says that they do not support any form of government assistance for disabled people. I have a disability, and so that person does not care about me, and when they pretend they do on the grounds that “well, if I was an employer I’d give you a shot” or “I’d donate to a non-profit to help you” it’s bullshit yet again. They’d throw me to the wolves, most likely not even saving much on their taxes in the process. They want credit for ‘caring’ while avoiding having to do anything.

  6. 6
    brucegee1962

    This letter reminds me of a seminal moment on my personal journey to atheism. It was a pamplet from around 1850 defending slavery — one of the many written in response to Uncle Tom’s Cabin. It went carefully through the Bible, explaining chapter and verse why the institution had God’s seal of approval. The tone was almost exactly the same as that of your correspondent — “if we left it up to our own feeble judgement, perhaps we might think that this is wrong, but who are we to argue with God’s word.”

    So yes, there’s no question that this person is a bigot. We know because we’ve seen the exact same logic used to defend bigotry for literally hundreds of years.

    What I want to ask people like your correspondent is this: Take the letter you just wrote, and substitute “slavery” or “civil rights for negroes.” Now imagine you were reading that letter back in 1850, or 1963. Would you agree with that letter or disagree with it? If you would disagree with it, why?

  7. 7
    ellenabbott

    this is not about the definition of marriage, this is about equal rights under the law. the law says married people get rights that unmarried people don’t. Either let all committed couples regardless of sex get married and so enjoy the rights marriage affords or get rid of the civil rights that marriage affords.

    christians do not get to define marriage. not in this country or anywhere else in the world.

    marriage happened long before christianity happened and it thrives in many forms.

    and yes, christianity did at one time condone same sex couples. I’ve read christian rites blessing same sex couples.

    take the christian god out of the equation and all you have is one set of people denying equal civil rights to another group of people.

    our constitution still supports separation of church and state, even though self-appointed religious groups are doing their best to make this a theocracy.

    your religion should guide YOUR life, not mine.

  8. 8
    ethanmyerson

    “I’d also add that the gentleman in question is a *good* Catholic, and that’s his problem — sometimes being a good Christian makes you a bad person.”

    Nailed it. With any luck, this may lead him to recognize the gulf between being a Good Catholic and a Good Person. I’m sure the clones executing the Emperor’s Order 66 were just following orders, making them “Good Clones” but not “Good People” *

    * And that is how we avoid Godwin.

  9. 9
    jamessweet

    Do you believe it’s possible for someone to oppose same-sex marriage and not be a hateful bigot?

    The problem here now comes down once again to “is a”-type descriptions of people rather than simply talking about actions. I believe that virtually all opposition to same-sex marriage is hateful and bigoted (although, as another commenter mentioned, it is possibly that some people are simply deeply misinformed/ignorant, but at this point those people have got to be few and far between). Do I think that the people who oppose same-sex marriage are hateful bigots? Well, it depends what you mean by that, but I probably would not use that description on the vast majority of them. The vast majority of same-sex marriage opponents are basically good people who happen to have at least one hateful and bigoted opinion.

    I’m fairly sure there are unexamined opinions I hold which are hateful and bigoted. I do know for sure that in the very recent past (like a year ago) I have had some pretty transphobic attitudes without even really being aware of it. It would be rather shocking if that were really the very last bigoted and privilege-blinded thing that I ever believed. :D

    I think this framing of the question is intentional. The opponents of marriage equality know damn well that all but the most staunch same-sex marriage supporters are going to blanch at labeling their friends, coworkers, and family as “hateful bigots”. So they play up this false dichotomy: Either every person who opposes marriage equality is a hateful bigot, or else it is neither hateful nor bigoted to oppose marriage equality. People intuitively feel it can’t be the former, so….

    I steer away from using the noun forms of “racist”, “homophobic”, “bigot”, “misogynist”, etc., in all but the most egregious cases. There’s no sharp dividing line that separate bigots from non-bigots. We all (most likely) have some amount of bigoted attitudes. That doesn’t mean we aren’t mostly nice folks. But nor does the fact that we are nice folks mean nothing we think can possibly be hateful or bigoted. And it’s a dirty emotionally-manipulative trick to pretend otherwise, as the author of this shameful piece does.

  10. 10
    jamessweet

    In my last sentence I was referring to Michael Rowe, not to Ashley! In case that wasn’t clear from context…. :)

  11. 11
    Rory

    Ashley, nicely written. Very direct, and pulling no punches–a pleasure to read.

  12. 12
    Chuck Doswell

    This is an interesting logical path. You’ve taken the notion that making someone feel bad about themselves makes one a bad person down an interesting path. I assume this is an attempt to show the hypocrisy of criticism leveled at bigoted hate speech. Please correct me if that’s erroneous.

    It’s my opinion that only YOU can make yourself feel bad – you have to CHOOSE to be self-loathing in order for me to trigger that response by what I say. I know it’s not a popular stance in some circles to assert that words, by themselves, can’t hurt anyone without their permission. Nevertheless, I believe that voluntarily censoring potentially offensive words (so-called ‘political correctness’) is unnecessary and pointless.

    If you accept this notion, then the use of ugly words directed at homosexuals doesn’t make them feel bad. They likely have been conditioned by the obvious homophobia all around them to loath themselves. Anyone secure in themselves can’t be caused harm by hateful words used against them – they simply consider the source and let it go. Bigots use hate speech because it is so effective at inducing shame and guilt in so many in the LGBT world, thanks to years of society condemning homosexuality. I long for the day when LGBT folks can simply shrug off such hate speech as the ravings of an idiot. But it’s not yet here …

    I have a great deal of concern for a process that induces so much self-loathing among so many human beings and I would hope we could all agree to stop the hate. Unfortunately, the religion-inspired hatred isn’t going away any time soon.

    BTW, Ashley, an excellent and hard-hitting response!!

  13. 13
    Chuck Doswell

    Bravo!! Hear!! Hear!! Well-said!!

  14. 14
    gshelley

    I think it is possible to oppose SSM and not be a hateful bigot, though there has to be some bigotry underlying it.
    Although for the most part “marriage is traditionally one man one woman” is just an excuse people use to avoid admitting their beliefs are not based on bigotry, there are some people who actually believe that. Similarly, it is something of a change how society has run, and for many, the new and different is scary, so they oppose it for that reason, not because of any overt bigotry.
    SSM has been a big issue for several years now though, so those excuses are wearing thin. I don’t think it is possible to actually think through the issues and rationally analyse them and still be against it without being a bigot, but if people don’t think about it too much, their stance may just be copying what other people have said.

  15. 15
    usingreason

    I notice that at no point did this person actually address why they oppose same sex marriage. If you are not going to discuss your views then while trying to make this point then, yes, you are being phony; right out of the box.

    — sometimes being a good Christian makes you a bad person.

    Too true.

  16. 16
    carlie

    That was a fantastic post.

  17. 17
    A 'Nym Too

    This.

    As a gay, disabled woman, I’m sick of being reminded of all the apparent reasons why I’m undeserving of being treated like a human.

  18. 18
    bvganfematheist

    I really like this post. I have a Mormon friend who is otherwise a really good, kind and compassionate person and she has strongly objected to many of my Facebook posts on this issue. It’s like she has some kind of block relating to this and I can’t fathom it. It has greatly reduced my opinion of her though that she can be so adamant about unequal rights being at all reasonable.

  19. 19
    John Monteverdi

    So well said. But to me, you are preaching to the choir. Those Christians who believe in their own interpretation of one of Paul’s rants to the Corinthians (but never get upset about the others), feel sanctified by God’s word (through Paul). If they felt justified in opposing same-sex marriage because, by definition, that would include “sex”. That in itself is not homophobic.

    What is homophobic is the disproportionate attention they are giving Paul’s stricture on “effeminacy” while conveniently not pushing to make divorce illegal, nor sex outside of marriage illegal.

    They are pretty much sanctimonious hypocrites in my book.

  20. 20
    Johnny Vector

    Well okay, but that doesn’t work for people who gave up after Episode II and used the money they saved by not seeing Episode III to instead buy a “Joss Whedon is my Master Now” t-shirt.

    However, I agree that this (the original post) could have been a teachable moment. To bad he de-friended instead. Or maybe that’s the Denial stage, and he will move on to reject Catholicism in the end after all. One can hope.

  21. 21
    Onamission5

    You put into words precisely the thing that has been bothering me the most lately, complete with the same analogy re: racism of which I was thinking. There is just no grey area here, and I am tired as hell of people trying to work homophobic apologetics into the LGBTQI rights argument. Yes, thinking that gay people shouldn’t have the right to marry is bigotry, yes, thinking that non-straight, non-cis people have something wrong with them is bigotry, and calling out that bigotry isn’t being the thought police. That someone might not directly act upon their bigotry just makes them a lazy bigot rather than an active one. Our thoughts inform our actions. I think that so many LGBTQI rights folks are so tired of coming up against a wall (and being called intolerant) when they call out bigotry for what it is, that we’ve actually started to excuse the bigotry with apologetics in hopes to win over the hearts and minds of the opposition, or at least to hope that they get out of the way of progress by keeping their bigotry to themselves. We tell them, oh, you’re not a bigot if you keep your bigotry to yourself, you’re only a bigot if you act on it. It’s wrong.

  22. 22
    Justin Vacula

    While some people who oppose same-sex marriage may be bigots, I wouldn’t say that all who oppose same-sex marriage are. I don’t see how one can ‘get in the minds’ of others and assume motives simply because of a particular stance on a [political] topic.

    What about people who are in opposition to same-sex marriage because they don’t want the government involved in marriage for any person, but rather want a different mechanism to grant benefits for all?

    What about people who oppose same-sex marriage for non-smart reasons and have never really thought about the issues (or cared to do the research)? Should we call ‘Bill the Plumber’ a bigot because he has little to no ‘intellectual life’ and simply wants to continue the status quo?

    What about elderly people who are ‘set in their ways,’ have gay family members they do not hate, but simply oppose same-sex marriage because ‘that was the way they were brought up?’

    In addition, there are many other ways to ‘equal rights’ besides marriage. While some of these may not be options that governments will necessarily act on at the moment, same-sex marriage isn’t the only option. For example, the government may forgo the idea of marriage altogether and create a contact — allowing any two adults to participate — which would offer the benefits of what marriage now gives. ‘Marriage,’ then would be up to individuals through non-government institutions.

  23. 23
    Sassafras

    It’s my opinion that only YOU can make yourself feel bad – you have to CHOOSE to be self-loathing in order for me to trigger that response by what I say. I know it’s not a popular stance in some circles to assert that words, by themselves, can’t hurt anyone without their permission.

    It’s probably not popular in some circles because it’s not true and offers nothing helpful to the situation. You say you want the hatefulness of society to lessen, but your explanation does nothing but remove accountability from hateful people and place it on their victims.

    If you accept this notion, then the use of ugly words directed at homosexuals doesn’t make them feel bad.

    Knowing that the people around you see you as a lesser human being and want to take away your rights (which are the messages bigoted speech carries) takes a psychological toll on almost anyone. Telling them that if they were secure enough in themselves then they could simply shrug it off, doesn’t help and only adds to the pain. Telling bigots that their hateful speech doesn’t harm anyone and that people who are offended are not secure enough to deal with it, only encourages them to become more aggressive in their hate speech and makes it more mainstream.

  24. 24
    Ashley F. Miller

    Someone who is against the government being involved in marriage is against civil marriage, not against gay marriage. This is why the term I used is “marriage equality”. That said, it’s not a practical solution, but it’s not a bigoted one either.

    Apply your argument to people who were by default against interracial marriage because it was the status quo. Those people were still bigoted and thought that black people were less human than white people… because it was the default makes that not bigoted? Old people who are racist are still racist; old people who don’t think gays deserve equality are still bigoted.

  25. 25
    badgersdaughter

    I said something similar to this to my (slightly fundie) brother while we were having a similar discussion (we were discussing neighbors of his who were a lesbian couple): “Bro, you aren’t a hateful bigot. You’re a good guy and you basically care about people. So what business do hateful, bigoted ideas have entering your head?”

  26. 26
    Justin Vacula

    It seems that same-sex marriage is a subset (or would be a subset) of the collective known as ‘marriage.’ If one is all forms of marriage, it seems to be the case that one would also be against same-sex marriage (since this is a part of marriage). In the same light, vegans who do not eat any type of meat or animal product (who are ‘against eating meat or any type of animal product’) are ‘against’ eating specific types of meat – just like the person who is ‘against’ all forms of marriage would be ‘against’ same-sex marriage.

    The term you use, ‘marriage equality,’ would be — I would suppose — a position people hold meaning that same-sex couples, through marriage, should have the same opportunities as opposite-sex couples. If a person is against any sort of marriage at all, it seems to follow that they are against ‘marriage equality’ (because they are against marriage to begin with).

    “Apply your argument to people who were by default against interracial marriage because it was the status quo. Those people were still bigoted and thought that black people were less human than white people”

    Here, you seem to be asserting what you are trying to demonstrate while you are trying to demonstrate. How do you know that all people who wanted to wanted to maintain the status quo ALSO thought that black people were less human than white people?

    Bigotry seems to be inexorably linked to at least intolerance, hatred, and an unjustified belief that one group of people is superior to another. Are we working with the same definition here? I’m posing examples in which people who hold opinions are not intolerant, hateful, or of the idea that one group is superior to another.

  27. 27
    Ashley F. Miller

    I don’t begin to understand in what way you think people who are against government regulated marriages have anything to do with this conversation. If no one can get married, there is marriage equality because everyone is treated the same under the law.

    I’m saying that believing that people don’t deserve equal treatment makes you a bigot, period, the end. Believing that one kind of person deserves worse treatment is bigoted, regardless of how long you’ve thought about it or how old you are. There is simply no reason, including ignorance or old age, that justifies it or makes it anything but bigoted, hateful, and intolerant.

  28. 28
    Justin Vacula

    “I don’t begin to understand in what way you think people who are against government regulated marriages have anything to do with this conversation.”

    …because these people are opposed to same-sex marriage (and all marriages) and are not necessarily bigots.

    “I’m saying that believing that people don’t deserve equal treatment makes you a bigot, period, the end.”

    …but that’s not what you said above. You said, “I do not believe it is possible for someone to oppose same-sex marriage and not be a bigot.” You then went on to equate same-sex marriage with equal rights and all, but there are other options for providing equal rights besides same-sex marriage (or current available systems).

    Civil unions, for example, aren’t same-sex ‘marriage with a capital M’ and although they may be ‘separate but equal’ they can grant the same rights and benefits but still not be called marriage. Perhaps I am having a problem with interpreting what you’re saying because you seem to use the terms ‘same-sex marriage,’ ‘marriage equality,’ and ‘equal rights under the law’ interchangeably?

    Again, one can be for equal rights but opposed to same-sex marriage. ‘Deserving equal treatment’ and ‘same-sex marriage/marriage equality’ are different issues; one can be in favor of people deserving equal treatment but also be opposed to same-sex marriage/marriage equality.

    For the record here, it may be important for me to note that I am in favor of same-sex marriage mainly because society would benefit from same-sex marriage, so the government seems to have a vested interest in making same-sex marriage legal. I am just concerned, though, when people assign motives and labels (i.e. ‘You are a bigot) just because someone happens to hold a particular political stance.

    “There is simply no reason, including ignorance or old age, that justifies it or makes it anything but bigoted, hateful, and intolerant.”

    Can we rightly call people who do not comprehend the issues or otherwise have not thought about them to be bigots? Can we say that there is a [deliberate] hatred or feeling that a group should be denied certain rights within people who haven’t thought about the issues or cannot comprehend them?

  29. 29
    Ashley F. Miller

    Again, I disagree with your assertion that that is the same as being against same-sex marriage. I also think you are being intentionally obtuse as to the message of my original post and possibly trolling.

    I assign no motive, it is the behavior that is bigoted. That is my point. Anyone opposed to marriage equality is being bigoted.

  30. 30
    Onamission5

    Justin is a known JAQ’er and derailer who seems to delight in hyperskepticism, winding irrelevant arguments, and trying to use his derail tactics to demonstrate what bullies the FTB bloggers are when they inevitably bring the ban hammer. FYI, if you weren’t aware already.

  31. 31
    Justin Vacula

    “I assign no motive, it is the behavior that is bigoted. That is my point. Anyone opposed to marriage equality is being bigoted.”

    The term ‘bigot’ seems to reflect an attitudinal disposition. I don’t see how you can separate an attitudinal disposition from a term that describe someone’s attitude. When we talk about behavior, we’re talking about a thinking person doing something ‘behind that behavior,’ right? If someone is in opposition to something, there ought to be a reason. If you call a person a bigot, it seems to be the case that this person is intolerant (an attitude).

    “I also think you are being intentionally obtuse as to the message of my original post and possibly trolling.”

    I’m raising an objection to an assumption in your post, namely that being in opposition to same-sex marriage means that a person is a bigot. It doesn’t seem to be as simple as you make it out to be (and I’m raising objections to show why it isn’t simple). Nuance exists. Everything isn’t black and white.

  32. 32
    Ashley F. Miller

    I disagree with you. It is quite simply unacceptable and hateful behavior to be against marriage equality.

    There is plenty of nuance in how to achieve marriage equality or why you’re behaving in a bigoted way. Does not change the fact that being against marriage equality makes you a bigot.

  33. 33
    Ashley F. Miller

    I’ll add that being a bigot about one thing doesn’t necessarily make you a bad person in general. As I said in the article, the guy who unfriended me is not a bad person.

  34. 34
    smrnda

    I also hate the lectures on ‘self-reliance.’ Do wealthy, privileged, white straight people make all the products they consume, grow all the food they eat, pave all the roads they drive on? The ‘self-reliant’ people are living off a pyramid of exploitation and degradation of other human beings.

    So someone like them is really no more self-reliant than someone like you (or me), just they have the power to get what they want while contributing no more to society than we do, and possibly less.

  35. 35
    smrnda

    Here’s my problem with that – there are plenty of ordinary, working-class non-intellectuals who don’t oppose gay marriage and can see past the nonsense about ‘tradition.’ There are elderly people who have chosen to think and come to accept GLBT equality. Being uneducated does not mean being ignorant or uninformed, and being ‘set in one’s ways’ is kind of a conscious choice not to think anymore.

    As for ‘not marriage but another legal structure that’s the same but not called ”marriage” – if you’re going to grant people full equality, why give a shit about not calling them marriages, except to send some message that they’re different? If people want the rights, and you’re going to give them, and they care about it being called ‘marriage,’ if you go ‘well, you just can’t call it marriage’ you’d be a grade A jerk.

  36. 36
    leftwingfox

    The funny thing is that the only “middle ground” I can see is considered _more_ radical than what’s being proposed: completely severing church “marriage” and state “civil unions”.

    Eliminate the role of the church in issuing valid marriage licences, their role is strictly ceremonial, purely optional, and they can marry or refuse to marry whomever they please, without state recognition.

    The state then deals with Civil Unions in a fair an equitable manner, allowing for same-sex couples with the same legal rights as opposite-sex couples.

    Bam. Churches can continue to practice their bigotry in peace and be left behind as the world moves on. Gay couples gain equal rights, and we can continue to modify the definition and benefits of a civil union to better fit an evolving society.

    But of course, since that eliminates the place of privilege religion has in society, it’s even more radical than “gay marriage”.

  37. 37
    Alethea Kuiper-Belt

    I love my cats, but I don’t think they have the right to get married.

    The people who “love” their gay friends but don’t think they should have the same rights as everyone else? They are treating their friends like pets, not people.

  38. 38
    Buffy

    Beautiful!

  39. 39
    Eclectic

    PACS isn’t a middle ground? I can argue that, historically, marriage has been both a religious and a civil institution, a failure of separation of church and state. And that’s what’s leading to all the strife. Perhaps a different word for a purely-civil arrangement would be better?

    I agree that this is impractical in the U.S., where such laws are state-by-state and reciprocity treaties are written in terms of the M word.

    (The counter-argument to this argument is that historically, churches have rarely refused to honor marriages solemnized by other religions, except during campaigns of overt persecution. Even when the details would have made it invalid under their own rules.)

  40. 40
    Waffler, of the Waffler Institute

    I can argue that, historically, marriage has been both a religious and a civil institution, a failure of separation of church and state. And that’s what’s leading to all the strife.

    And I could argue that trolls roam the mountains of Norway and the moon landings were faked, and be wrong just like you. Religions don’t own marriage — you don’t have to be religious to get married, you don’t have to have any religious person solemnize your marriage, and it has been that way for a long time. Marriage, the institution, predates pretty much any religion practiced today — they just co-opted it and invented stories and rituals around it to fit their particular religious narrative. Oh, and bigots tend to oppose the discriminatory alternative of civil unions, anyway, so no strife avoided by caving to the demands of bigots.

  41. 41
    Thanatos_Azrael

    Christians tell stories of selling children into slavery, that rape is ok, that incest is acceptable, that even in certain cases that the murder of ones own child is acceptable, but they ignore these teachings and many others including having multiple spouses. They teach that only god can judge yet they judge and condem others almost daily based upon their own bigotry and prdjedices. The last time I checked we don’t live in a theocracy, so it doesn’t matter if something is “against” your religeon, your religeon doesn’t make the laws for the country. If you feel that your religeon doesn’t allow same sex marriage then don’t marry someone of the same sex, for myself I could care less who is sleeping with who, I’m content to live my own life.

  42. 42
    Thanatos_Azrael

    Marriage is just a word, word meanings often change due to usage. I for one am oppesed to the term gay marriage, it’s not gay marriage it’s just marriage, nothing new or special is be created or granted to gay couples, it’s just them getting the same rights and responsibilty as non same sex couples enjoy. Since it is the state and not the church that grants couple over a thousand different rights and privilages that non married couples it is a big deal. I dont care that this or that church won’t marry same sex couples, just like I don’t care the more often than not that they won’t marry couples that have different religions. My stance changes if these churches accept any public monies though then they become state funded entities and are not allowed to discriminate.

  43. 43
    M can help you with that.

    If churches don’t want to share a term for a civil matter (“marriage”) with those of us they’re devoted to the destruction of, they can invent their own fucking term. Maybe “Gawd-approved heterosexual-supremacist fuck-buddies.” The term “marriage” is taken, and letting the godbots appropriate the term from the public is bullshit.

  44. 44
    Robert

    If anyone I knew personally expressed to me that s/he did not believe that my husband and I should be married, that would, in and of itself, be enough for me to avoid contact with that person. Full stop.

    That said, it is curious how many people I don’t actually know personally cannot stop thinking/talking/writing about my marriage.

  45. 45
    adidas adizero micoach

    What a great article this is. Look forward to browsing this again soon.asdf456sd4f6s4ad6f5

  1. 46
    The Biggest and Best of 2012 » Ashley Miller

    [...] There is no gay marriage middle ground [...]

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