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Apr 28 2013

Presenting the stupidest anti-gay-marriage article in world history, part 1

(TL;DR advisory: This one’s a biggie. The word “asshole” is frequently used.)

A few days back, one of my Facebook friends (well, she’s an IRL friend too, but Facebook is where she contacted me, so anyway…) asked me to help her fisk this article. Took me a while, what with a busy week going on, but I’ve finally managed to get around to it. I decided it would be best done here.

A conundrum that anti-gay bigots have been facing in their steadfast opposition to marriage equality is their inability to name any sort of non-imaginary, material harm that heterosexual marriage would suffer by the legalization of LGBT marriage. That several countries have had marriage equality for a few years now without seeing any negative impact to their citizenry’s breeders only exacerbates the awkwardness. So this fellow John Barber comes along, and he’s all…

challenge-accepted-1

Barber holds a Ph.D in something, and is, of course, a pastor. What I hope he isn’t is married. Because if he is, his marriage must be a bleak, loveless, commodified emotional wasteland, the matrimonial equivalent of wandering through the blasted landscape of Fallout 3 without even the sporadic fun of gunning down albino radscorpions and mohawked bandidos. I say this not to be cruel to the man, but after a sober summation of the ten reasons he gives why LGBT marriage would, in his mind, cause harm to straight marriages. To say that his list is ludicrous is an understatement. To say that it is deeply, existentially sad is more to the point. Barber doesn’t need for teh gayz to devalue marriage. He’s done it just fine himself, if this is really how he thinks human romantic relationships work. Let’s go down the first half of his list, shall we? (I may, depending on my stamina, wrap up the remaining five in a follow-up post.)


First, the TL;DR summary for those who don’t have time or energy to plow through all of Martin Snarks a Bigoted Pillock: The Director’s Cut.

1. Straight marriage will have its worth devalued by the government, which is our only source of worth.
2. What do you mean, we can’t discriminate?
3. But but but…FREEZE PEACH!
4. Straight peoples are ze Master Race!
5. Husbands and wives don’t mean anything anymore!


1. Same-sex marriage reduces the worth of your marriage

Redefining marriage to include people of the same sex is a legal endorsement of the fungibility of a man and woman in marriage. To set “any two persons” on a par with a man and a woman in marriage is to reduce the worth of their roles. To draw an analogy, if a government declared the price of coal to be equivalent with the price of gold, would the cost of coal go up, or would the cost of gold come down? The price of gold would come down. Traditional marriage is the gold standard of marriage. People who affirm gay/lesbian marriage as equivalent in worth to the marriage of a husband and a wife devalue the worth of your marriage.

Where does one even begin with this? Barber hits the ground running with a concept of marriage that utterly strips it of anything like love, companionship, caring, romance, and emotional fulfillment through connection, and reduces it to just another government contract. His analogy to setting the price of precious metals isn’t even comparing apples to oranges, it’s comparing apples to carburetors.

The assumptions he’s working on here are redolent with the most odious privilege. Traditional marriage is automatically compared to gold, gay marriage to coal. Setting aside the fact that coal has its uses (and as one commenter on Barber’s own blog amusingly pointed out, isn’t it where we get diamonds from?), it’s clear that Barber’s intent is to draw an immediate positive association in his readers’ minds towards straight marriage, and an immediate negative association towards gay marriage. Why do this? The simple answer is that he’s a homophobic bigot, and people like this work from premises they see no reason to question, and get angry with you if you do. He doesn’t like gays, so anything gays do is tainted right out of the box just because they’re doing it in all their gayotronic gay little gayness.

But his idea that government is what determines the worth of marriage, in the same way it sets value on currency and precious metals, is what should grossly offend even the straightest couples the heterosexual world has ever seen.

Pictured: The world's straightest straight man, masturbating.

Pictured: The world’s straightest straight man, masturbating.

Maybe I’m just a hopeless, old-fashioned romantic (says AXP’s last remaining aging bachelor), but in the world I hope I’m living in, the worth of marriage is determined by the two people involved in it. You know, the ones who have decided to marry one another. And that value is based on criteria like — well, I went through it all before — their connection, their deep and abiding love for one another, their desire to share their lives and hopes and futures, their support for one another in tough times. You know, all that icky emotion stuff that makes everyone else who knows you want to barf up their last three months’ worth of hot meals. But fuck ‘em, because it feels awesomely super-special to you, and that’s all that matters!

That may be my world and yours. But in Barber’s world, we get our value on absolutely everything — including our feelings towards the ones we love — set for us by Washington, D.C. And if the government devalues this incredibly special contract that straight people have up to now exclusively enjoyed, then there’s nothing for straight couples to do but look at one another sadly, realizing that we have to love each other less now because the government said so.

"Damn, baby, I can't wait to fill up that heart-shaped bathtub in the honeymoon suite and...hang on, wait, what just happened? HOLY FUCK, YOU'RE UGLY! GET AWAY FROM ME!"

“Damn, baby, I can’t wait to fill up that heart-shaped bathtub in the honeymoon suite and…hang on, wait, what just happened? HOLY FUCK, YOU’RE UGLY! GET AWAY FROM ME!”

Let’s just say that if you’re the kind of person who uses the word “fungibility” to refer to marriage in the first place, you’ve already lost the script.

2. Your marriage will be forced to abide by the social strictures of same-sex marriage

By legalizing same-sex marriage the state becomes its official advocate. Thus, in every public forum where marriage rights extend to gays and lesbians, the state will expect you to comply. Local judges will be called upon to conduct the new civil ceremony. Any restraints within the public schools to advocate for the LGBTQ culture will be removed fully. In the private sphere, owners of rental properties must agree to accept same-sex couples as tenants. Businesses offering wedding services will be forced to cater same-sex ceremonies, and much more. If your traditional marriage touches these, or similar areas, you can expect it to be affected.

So Dr. Barber, Ph.D., sir, what you’re bemoaning here are legal prohibitions against discrimination, amirite? Cry me a freakin’ river.

So let’s say you’re an apartment manager who’s also a bigoted asshole, and a straight, interracial couple with fantastic references want to sign a lease with you? And you turn them down anyway, because GAAH OH NO ZOMG IT’S UNNATURAL WAARGARRBL 900 FT. BABY JESUS!! Yeah, see, you won’t be allowed to do that. Because that’s discrimination, and much as a bigot as you have a right to be, you cannot discriminate.

"But it says I can right here, in Paul's Epistle to the Douchebaggians!"

“But it says I can right here, in Paul’s Epistle to the Douchebaggians!”

“But I’m not talking about interracial couples, I’m…” Nope. Stop. Stop right there. Because all of these same arguments were trotted out decades ago, by people opposed to interracial heterosexual marriage for exactly the same moronic, specious reasons you’re recycling to oppose LGBT marriage. Really, you’re crying because the evil big bad gummint won’t allow you to deny fair housing, or even ordinary goods and services, to a class of people you’ve labeled “UNCLEAN”? Those evil fascists in the Beltway won’t just let you fling people out onto the street without a roof over their heads while singing “Yes, Jesus Loves Me”? Jiminy Christmas, what is this country coming to?

Well, suck it, scumbag! That’s a good thing, and the thing to do if you have a molecule of humanity in your sanctified straight body is to grow up, develop a sense of empathy, and stop being a repugnant bigoted asshole! You’re being given a chance here to change and grow, to mature, to — using terms you might understand — “repent of your sins” (which happen not to be what that Bronze Age holy book you cling to tells you are your sins) and become a person who’s kind instead of cruel, helpful instead of hurtful, loving instead of hateful. And if you recoil from that, it ain’t gays that are the major malfunction in your life!

Oh, and P.S.: You not being allowed to discriminate in business still isn’t going to impact your “traditional marriage,” for crying out loud. Non-discrimination laws are on the books right now, and they don’t require the bigots they penalize to get divorced just for the sake of adding insult to injury. Though since you’re obsessed with tearing apart the marriages of people you don’t like, it’s no wonder you fear it being done to you. Bad people project, after all.

3. The rights of spouses to dissent same-sex marriage will be infringed

Once “marriage-equality” is achieved its advocates will work through the courts and other means to silence dissent. Should you and your spouse refuse to comply with any new regulations pursuant to the redistribution of marriage rights, even if that failure is based on conscientious objections, you can be penalized. If it is an intrinsic value of a heterosexual married couple to oppose same-sex marriage, and that right is infringed, then that marriage has suffered injury… The inherent right of heterosexual spouses to protest gay/lesbian marriage will suffer damage under the new definition of marriage.

It may seem astonishing to people who aren’t pointy-headed, hate-crazed troglodytes to realize that there are those in the world who consider being bigoted assholes their most precious and inviolable “inherent right.” Well, allow me to assure all the Barbers in the world, for whom their hate is so cherished a gift, that they can keep hating gays as much as they do right now. Look, do this right now: reach into your loving little Christian heart and utter the phrase on your lips right now — “Dear God, homosexuals sicken me to my very soul! The idea that they might marry makes me so queasy and weak-kneed, I want to don a hair shirt and say all the prayers!” There. Glad it’s out of your system. Well, the good news for you is you’ll still be allowed to do that after marriage equality becomes the law of the land. Which it will.

Of course, expect to receive the same treatment from decent people that you do now: disapproval, approbation, the loss of any friendships outside your immediate circle of hillbilly cretins. Because you see, an “inherent right” that I and others like me have is to respond to people like you, who think it’s any of your goddamned business to “protest” the personal relationships of any consenting adult who isn’t you, by telling you you’re a disgusting bigot and I want nothing to do with you.

amurica

But what are these draconian “new regulations” Barber imagines coming down the pike to further soften up his raging hate-boner? I suspect they may not be any different than the usual anti-discrimination laws already on the books. For my response to that, see 2. above. He may, though, be afraid of new laws that penalize not merely deeds, but speech.

Fade in to The Rainbow Republik of Amerikkkkkka, 2019. Barber sits alone at a Starbucks, nervously nursing his $37 latté and watching the skies anxiously for the black helicopters from the shadow government of Buttfuckistan, on their usual sorties to round up noncompliant straights and ship them off to Gitmo, where they’ll be subjected to very loud Liza Minnelli recordings all night long. Barber’s disguise has worked up to now. He’s even learned all the words to “Opportunities” and “I’m Too Sexy,” and makes sure to sing one or the other whenever a Queercop Cruiser drives by. Then, in walks a gay couple, and, unable to help himself, Barber mutters “Filthy sodomites!” under his breath. Horrors! Before he can retract his mistake, the 666 RFID chip in his brain registers the insult, and he’s pounced on by a HomoSWAT team before he makes it half a block! Oh snap, another Jesusboy down, girlfrands!

You know, when I imagine it that way, it all seems kind of funny. But no. It’s not the country we’re going to become just because it will have a little more love in it.

4. Same-sex marriage will absorb your marriage into a new view of reality

bear_wut

Yeah, that’s what I was wondering, Mr. Bear. When someone’s syntax starts going off into Matrix-y territory like this, you get the inescapable impression of a man close to dislocating his shoulder from reaching, reaching, reaching. Let’s see what Dr. Barber, who’s a Ph.D. and thus smart, means by this.

The basic argument for same-sex marriage states that there is no fundamental difference between the rights of gays/lesbians and heterosexuals to marry. Supporting the legal claim of “gender equality” is a view of human sexuality that erodes natural, gender-specific, differences between men and woman.

Ooooh, it’s the naturalistic fallacy, then? Yeah, I suppose this was coming. But, hang on, I’m not sure about this part…

The result is a “unisexual” view of personhood which, rather than affirm diversity, blurs it beyond recognition. The unisexual view of personhood is part of global move toward a hermaphroditic understanding of reality.

owl_wut

Okay, at this point, I really have to start wondering if what I’ve been reading all this time has been nothing but master-class trolling all along. Inasmuch as any of that sheer nitwittery makes sense, it’s difficult to understand how a man with any education and world experience of any kind could put thoughts like that together and have them communicate something sensible to him. Yes, I can understand someone whose view towards human sexuality is completely limited to heterosexuality, because that can be put down to pure ignorance and lack of worldliness. But what in the living, breathing fuck is a “hermaphroditic understanding of reality”? I cannot imagine Barber actually means to say that all adults will, through some kind of inexplicable sorcery, become genderless if marriage equality happens, with men suddenly sprouting birth canals behind their ballsacks. So what’s on his mind here?

According to this vision of things “all religions are equal” (unireligion); “all nations are equal” (one world order), etc. Ironically, diversity, the very thing secularism claims to champion, is what it destroys. Unity (two people becoming one) and diversity (a husband and a wife) are held in perfect balance in traditional marriage.

bullshit

It isn’t even that this statement is ridiculous. It is in fact so powerfully stupid that it instantiates a kind of intellectual damping field, by which the mere reading of it lowers the intelligence of the reader unless drastic steps to preserve basic rationality are taken. Barber’s statement here is no less than Orwellian Newspeak. He is essentially saying that diversity is defined by its limitations. In this case, only a man and a woman equal “diversity” in marriage. Conversely, the more inclusive of others outside those criteria you become — which would be the commonplace definition of “diversity,” I do believe — you actually dilute and homogenize. You destroy diversity the more diverse you are in practicing it!

Okay, gang, fun time’s over and shit’s just gotten real. Barber has gotten more than stupid here. He is actually spouting motherfucking Nazi ideology at this point, applying it, not to race, but to sexuality. The rhetoric is no different. I am not Godwinning. Check this shit out (emphasis added).

Maintaining race purity was important, according to Hitler and others, because mixing with other races would over time led to bastardization and degeneration of a race to the point where it lost its distinguishing characteristics and, in effect, lost the capacity to effectively defend itself, thus becoming doomed to extinction…

The internal threat lurked in intermarriages between “Aryan” Germans and members of inherently inferior races: Jews, Roma, Africans, and Slavs. The offspring of these marriages were said to dilute the superior characteristics reflected in German blood, thus weakening the race in its struggle against other races for survival.

Short version: Nazi racial purity doctrine held that intermarriage between Aryans and “inferior” races (everyone else) would dilute and weaken the pure bloodline, ultimately destroying the race. In Barber’s insane notions of “diversity,” any attempt to extend marriage rights to non-heterosexuals “blurs…beyond recognition” our very comprehension of gender itself, resulting in a “hermaphroditic” worldview where nobody knows who’s a dude and who’s a chick, and we all just say the hell with it and marry anything that moves because we’ve lost our ability to recognize true diversity by failing to realize that “diversity” is actually defined as heterosexual privilege alone. If we don’t want to dilute and weaken gender, we must only allow one man-one woman marriage.

I mean…fuck, people!

Dr. Barber has just become a very dark individual indeed.

One more of these and I think I’ve had enough for one night.

5. Same-sex marriage makes the concepts of husband and wife irrelevant in your marriage

Okay, I’m not even going to spend much time taking Barber’s explanation apart word-for-word here. This is simply…

bullshit-stamp

Barber whines about the 2008 California Supreme Court ruling In re Marriage Cases, which declared the state’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional. To Barber, this means…

…gays and lesbians [were] free to refer to their relationships any way they wanted e.g., spouse-partner, life partner-significant other, wife-wife, husband-husband, or whatever! The fact is that words have meaning. The elevation of same-sex marriage to that of traditional marriage, combined with the use of random nomenclature to designate parties in same-sex marriage, absorbs and reduces time-honored roles of husbands and wives into a morass of meaningless linguistic jargon.

Uh-huh. Because as we learned from #1, the government is what determines what is meaningful to us. We don’t get to determine that for ourselves. So if you straight people think you can keep calling your husbands “husbands,” and your wives “wives,” nope, that’s all done. Words have been stripped of all meaning by legal fiat. If some gay person decides to call his spouse…well…whatever (how about his “ooky shnookums poopy bear”?), then the mere existence of that phrase — being given equal legal weight to those chaste, traditional phrases like “husband” and “wife” — has just bleached all the special meaningfulness out of your marriage! Sweet Jesus, can the Queercop Cruisers be far behind?

Look, no one else but you decides what is relevant or irrelevant in your own marriage! How is that such a hard concept for people like Barber to grasp? I don’t care if all my gay friends get married and decide to make up their own constructed language — perhaps some gay variant of Esperanto? — to have unique legal terms for what their spouses are. I’m a straight dude, and if someday I manage to get hit over the head and married, then I strongly suspect my wife will call me her husband, and vice versa. Unless, of course, we decide to call each other something else. (I might call her “Khaleesi,” just to be on the safe side.) But it’s our decision, because it’s our marriage, and nothing anyone decides about anything pertaining to their marriages can possibly have any effect on ours. Because we’d make the decisions for us! What a concept, huh? How freaking hard is that?

Too hard for the paranoid, hate-bred terror of sad men like John Barber, obviously.

Honestly, I’m drained now. It has been a very very long time since I’ve blogged in-depth here, let alone exposed myself to such a dense concentration of weapons-grade thermostupid in one go, and I’m afraid — like someone who falls off the wagon after several years by shotgunning a fifth of J.D. all at once — that I may have overindulged just a tad after so long away from the trenches. Still, I did not want to disappoint my friend. Had I any idea what I was exposing myself to, well, let’s just say I am happy to take one for the team now and again.

I really think I need to hug my dogs now. Or would I be diluting diversity too much?

87 comments

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  1. 1
    Lofty

    Hugadog, hugadog, hugadog, nooow!

  2. 2
    Drew Reagan

    Slow clap

    1. 2.1
      Clio

      Enthusiastically seconded (if performing a slow clap enthusiastically is even possible…) with a thumbs up for the “Khaleesi” remark. =^)

  3. 3
    Alberto

    Crazy stuff right there!!, but it’s part of the universal process of change (resistance), 50 years from now, people will think more “humanly”. I hope I can live until that day.

    1. 3.1
      Lord Narf

      Uh, no they won’t. They’ll just find some other attribute to be bigoted about. I think it’s going to take more than a few more generations for us to run through the list of things that harm no one, before we can get it all out of our system.
      It’s also quite possible that we’ll get a resurgence of some old bigotry. It’s happened before.

      Besides, we still have plenty of racists running around. I heard someone speak out against interracial marriage, less than a year ago. It’s going to be at least three or four generations after legalization of gay marriage, before the chaos dies down.

      Black people have been given the same legal rights, on paper, for how long now? And we still have all of this shit going on?

  4. 4
    MatthewLaboratory

    Technically you were Godwinning, because Godwin’s Law states that any reference to Hitler or Nazis for any reason (even if the topic of discussion was originally related to Hitler and/or Nazis) means you automatically lose the argument.

    1. 4.1
      Martin Wagner

      FALSE. Godwin’s Law only states that the longer an internet debate continues, the probability that one participant will compare his opponent to Hitler or the Nazis approaches 1. Godwin’s Law does not go on to state “and you automatically lose the argument,” or make any value judgment about the appropriateness of the comparison. And when, as I demonstrated through the magical power of hyperlinks, someone’s argument against gay marriage is rhetorically almost identical to Nazi racial purity ideology, I cannot be said to have lost the argument when I was right. The Wikipedia page for Godwin’s Law says,

      “While falling afoul of Godwin’s law tends to cause the individual making the comparison to lose their argument or credibility, Godwin’s law itself can be abused as a distraction…fallaciously miscasting an opponent’s argument as hyperbole when the comparisons made by the argument are actually appropriate.” [emphasis mine]

  5. 5
    VoR

    Let’s go with the gold & coal analogy. The government doesn’t set the prices for gold or coal, the market does. The only reason for the price of gold to come down when the price of coal goes down (gay marriage becomes easier) is if they are substitutes. That is, if you would substitute your gold for coal when coal becomes relatively cheaper. I don’t see peole wearing coal as jewellery or heating their houses with gold and I don’t see straight people getting gay married just because it’s easier than before.

    Economics bitches!

    1. 5.1
      Uncle Glenny

      If I had a Christmas stocking even half-filled with gold, I wouldn’t worry about heating my house.

    2. 5.2
      harpo

      At one time the Govt did set the pice of gold. About 3$35 and ounce if I remember rightly.

  6. 6
    Lord Narf

    Khaleesi?

    1. 6.1
      Lord Narf

      Oh, should have Googled it first.

  7. 7
    Stephen Peterson

    Ye gods, I think I might actually know why he’s saying these things, well, specifically #1, #4, and #5. A while back I was introduced to an interesting explanation for Christian homophobia (even down to the Levitical law), namely, homosexuality destroys the God-ordained hierarchy of Man and Woman. Namely, it makes the man more like the woman (because only women get penetrated… and women are automatically lesser in every way). “Wife” means “the one who’s obedient to the husband” (per whatever that one verse is), so if you were stupid enough to believe that, you really would be horrifically, existentially confused by two husbands or two wives. It’s a division by zero moment.

    Similarly the “hermaphroditic reality”… it’s not about the world turning into a hentai movie, it’s the removal (oh the horror) of a divinely commanded hierarchy. That great chain of being (with woman below man below God).

    Which, and I mean this sincerely, fuck that. And fuck “doctor” Barber and anyone else who believes this divine-command fascism.

    1. 7.1
      Lord Narf

      Someone should inform him of all of the men out there who like their girlfriend to use a strap-on …

    2. 7.2
      Houndentenor

      I have long believed that misogyny was the root of most homophobia. Women are bad therefore men who are like women are also bad. Add to that the fact that many straight-identified men have some homoerotic feelings which they are trying very hard to repress, and you have irrational hatred of a small percentage of men who happen to be primarily homosexual. (Lesbians seem to bother them less except for the fear of women who have no incentive to put up with their crap. Personally I think that’s what’s so awesome about having lesbian friends. They are the most likely to honestly tell me when I’m full of shit.)

      1. Alicia

        *raises my hand* bisexual women will do that too ;-) LOL

    3. 7.3
      changerofbits

      (because only women get penetrated…

      That great chain of being (with woman below man below God).

      Are we sure it’s only the woman who is being penetrated? How did the chain work before God created Eve? Maybe God (assuming God is male) and Adam were boyfriends and maybe this whole hetero arrangement is an abomination!

  8. 8
    Persephone

    Martin, I admire you deeply for voluntarily submitting your brain to an analysis of such idiocy. If I were to undertake the task, I’d get out no more than two or three sentences before I would lose my ability to think coherently or calmly, and would mash my face into my keyboard while making animal sounds.

    Seriously, his bigoted, smug, pseudo-intellectual. . . HOGWASH is just. . . is just. . .

    BLEUUUURGHARGLEBARGLEBLARGH. .. hkldngjkh jtk;wn n j;n ;n tkqnklfs nknk fs ***carrier lost

    1. 8.1
      Martin Wagner

      What makes you so sure I did none of those things?

      1. Persephone

        Your ability to recover your composure and carry on writing when I would remain gurgling face-down in a keyboard is clearly what separate greatness from mediocrity. Well done!

        Memo to self: learn to persevere.

        1. Alicia

          Just had to tell you that you have my most favorite name in all the universe, and that I share your feelings of, is iI, disdain? Contempt? Dontempt? I think my husband would have found me staring mutely and blankly at the screen in stupified horor. Might have needed profesisonal help at that point…

          1. Persephone

            It’s just a screen name, sadly. My parents had a woeful lack of imagination. =\

  9. 9
    Bruce

    I think Stephen (7) is on the right track. But I would add Barber’s #3 in with it. And I would summarize it as saying that to Barber, a key defining property of a marriage is authorized misogyny. That is, in his twisted mind, the bible gives the husband the right to tell the wimminz to make him a sanwich. And if two people of the same gender got married, how would anyone know who is supposed to abuse whom?
    As you say, the key point is that Barber’s whole idea of marriage is already sick and twisted. Equal marriage is just one more example for him of something that should be bigoted, but “unfortunately” is not. Very sad.

  10. 10
    EnlightenmentLiberal

    1. Straight marriage will have its worth devalued by the government, which is our only source of worth.

    You know, he’s right here. Almost necessarily, it will devalue the monetary worth of straight marriage. It’s simple economics. Just like the specifics of black-white segregation gave whites an unjust economic advantage, outlawing same-sex marriage gives an unjust economic advantage to straights over gays. And to the PhD fuckwit, that’s the goddamned problem you goddamned retard!

    1. 10.1
      TerranRich, Yet Another Atheist

      Why do people always have to resort to ableist language such as this?

      1. EnlightenmentLiberal

        Where to begin.

        If I understand the term correctly from wikipedia, I don’t think that’s fair at all.

        I think it’s obviously right and proper to discriminate against stupid ideas. I think that it’s acceptable to say that someone was acting stupidly when they suggest stupid ideas. I think it’s acceptable to call someone stupid as the usual colloquialism and shorthand to include a smart person acting stupidly, especially when insult and offensive was intended, as I did intend towards that person.

        So, is your problem with anything I’ve said thus far, or is it with just the particular choice of diction? Perhaps this is me being callous and insensitive and uncaring and letting my privilege speak, but the meaning of words like “idiot” no longer have the clinical connotation they once did have. That’s why manuals like DSM are constantly choosing new words, especially for mental abnormalities.
        http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Euphemism#Euphemism_treadmill
        I do think that idiot no longer carries the stigma and common understanding of that particular class of people, and instead is simply a generic means of ad hominem, which is what I wanted to achieve. I believe the same is true of the word “retard”.

        So, again, perhaps it’s my callous privilege speaking, but I don’t think I care if your problem is because I chose the specific word “retard”, and I don’t think I care if your problem is if you consider it bad to insult someone’s intelligence as a means of showing indignation when confronted with an obscenely stupid argument.

        But please, point out where you think I’m mistaken and why. I might listen. However, please note that using the generic “discrimination is bad” card will get you nowhere, because I do properly understand that we do need to discriminate to keep society functioning. Good ideas and smart ideas, we should be for. Bad ideas and stupid ideas, we should discriminate against.

        1. Martin Wagner

          Let’s not let the thread derail over this point, folks. Suffice it to say that some people consider “retard” an inappropriate insult, for reasons that aren’t actually stupid when you stop to consider them. There are in fact a number of even nastier insults that I prefer — “fucktool” is a nice one. So use your imagination. As I hope the original post showed, I’m not at all shy to sling some insults where needed, and I do my best to make sure whatever insult I use doesn’t cause splash damage to any undeserving targets, however unintentionally.

  11. 11
    Kimpatsu

    “But I’m not talking about interracial couples, I’m…” Nope. Stop. Stop right there. Because all of these same arguments were trotted out decades ago, by people opposed to interracial heterosexual marriage for exactly the same moronic, specious reasons you’re recycling to oppose LGBT marriage.
    Interestingly, when I made exactly the same argument, Peter Hitchens (theist right-wing brother of the late Christopher, no less!) called me stupid in print.
    What an honour!

  12. 12
    Tâlib Alttaawiil (طالب التاويل)

    i put the FUN in “fungibility.”

    1. 12.1
      arensb

      Whereas I just put the “fun” in “demented funkwit”.

  13. 13
    Will Boucher

    Well Played Martin. Although I developed an aversion to the color #ddffee reading the insanity..

  14. 14
    Jasper of Maine

    The heck is up with these people? Is it me, or is the opposite-reality mentality increasing?

    Evidence for evolution is classified as “faith”. Faith in God is classified as “evidence”. Atheist is a religion, and Christianity isn’t.

    And now we’re up to – not being allowed to oppress diversity == destroying diversity

    1. 14.1
      Alicia

      Walk a mile in my shoes my friend. You haven’t lived until someone who was overtly and horribly racist towards you calls you bigot when you tell them you won’t tolerate such. Ummkay, just excuse me while I marginalize myself with silence as per your hope…just smh bruh, smh.

  15. 15
    Jenna Stewart

    #2 actually sounded like a wonderful argument -for- marriage equality from my point of view.

    Also, I admire your courage, Martin. I could barely get through 1/3 of the article on my own before my vision was blocked by the enormity of the facepalm it caused.

  16. 16
    L.Long

    This guy’s ‘PhD in basket weaving’ combined with his views seen above clearly shows that a PhD does NOT equal intelligence.

  17. 17
    Deen

    But his idea that government is what determines the worth of marriage, in the same way it sets value on currency and precious metals, is what should grossly offend even the straightest couples the heterosexual world has ever seen.

    You’d think this idea would also grossly offend the small-government types on the religious right. Aren’t they supposed to believe worth comes from God or something? Or supposed to deny that the government is good for anything? Well, except waging war, of course.

    1. 17.1
      Uncle Glenny

      I think it’s a subtle call for theocracy. Is this guy some kind of dominionist?

  18. 18
    Hel

    Pretty awesome. One minor quibble – as a queer person, I have NO DESIRE to have the government FORCE bigots to accept me into their stupid little clubs & take my business. I don’t think much if any good can come of forcing a homophobic bakery owner to make me a big gay cake. I think people should have a lot of freedom from the govt, & I think that ought to include the freedom to be a bigoted asshole. Now, I know there are really good arguments for anti-discrimination laws & I’m not saying I’m not a bit on the fence or on your side on some of those, such as housing, but in general, it kinda grinds my gears to see a gay couple sue, say, a printer for not printing a gay magazine (which happened) – I mean, as an Atheist, if I was a printer, I wouldn’t want to be forced by anti-discrimination law to print Christian pamphlets. If the guy is so scared of the law that he won’t say he’s a bigot, his attitude is still gonna show through anyway; I’d rather work with someone who honestly was behind my product; if the guy can’t handle my gayness, I’d rather he just came out with it so I could go elsewhere. So I think there’s a fair argument for drawing a line SOMEWHERE at least & allowing people to make their own choice to be a bigot & turn down gay $$$, which we can happily bring elsewhere. Anyway, right on, well done, a very good Fisk-ing. Bravo. =)

    1. 18.1
      Thorne

      In many respects I agree with your points, here. But it would still be important to have the right to sue someone for breach of contract, say. Like, should a bakery accept a down payment for a gay-themed wedding cake, then cancel the order on the morning of the wedding because they don’t do gay, the couple should be able to sue them. Similar kinds of things have happened, with the person/company supposed to provide the service pulling out when it’s too late to find someone else. It seems to be the “Christian” thing to do!

      1. Hel

        Excellent point, Thorne. I agree.

      2. Houndentenor

        Personally I’d never sue the florist or the bakery. I’d just take my business elsewhere and make sure everyone knows (hello, social media) what bigots they are. But I don’t want to force someone who hates me to take my money. I’m sure that in most cases there’s someone who like me or not would keep their mouth shut and take the business.

        I think these things are hilarious. We’ve all dealt with people, customers, coworkers that we found repugnant. We did our job and kept it to ourselves. Why are they so special. You think it wasn’t hard for me to listen to jokes about how ugly Hilary Clinton is (she’s not btw, but those were the jokes) while I worked for Wall Street Bankers. Did I have a big pity party like conservatives in the entertainment world do? No. Why are some people so special that they can’t sell flowers to people who do things they don’t like. People do crap I don’t like all the time. I don’t deny them business because of it. I’m so sick of this persecution complex nonsense. Grow up and do you fucking jobs!

        1. timberwoof

          Taking your business elsewhere works as long as you have somewhere else to take your business. If no one will take your money because you’re gay or black or atheist, then what will you do? … rely on anti-discrimination laws.

    2. 18.2
      SallyStrange

      Couple of things: If you make money serving the public, you must, by law, serve THE PUBLIC, and not just the parts of it you like.

      If you are the only printer in town and you decline to take Christian jobs then where are Christians going to go if they need pamphlets or flyers printed? Are they going to have to change the content of what they write in order to curry favor with you, a non-Christian? Are they just SOL and have to resign themselves to not getting things printed at all? (Pretending for a moment that online printing isn’t a thing.)

      Likewise, if Christians own the only bakery in town, but decline to take jobs for anyone but Christians, that means that all non-Christians are SOL when it comes to birthday cakes, wedding cakes, whatever it is you hire a baker for. And that’s not fair either.

      So, yes, it is a good thing that we compel private businesses to serve segments of the population they view as immoral and undeserving.

      1. Lord Narf

        Yeah, arguments like this work well enough in New York City. When you’re in the only town of any size within a 50 or 60 mile radius, demanding that you serve everyone becomes a little more important.

        1. Hel

          Hmmm that’s an interesting point to raise, & I’m not sure about that one, & I suppose it depends…. but my objection is that you’re talking about someone’s freedom to act according to what they think is right. Even if I am the only printer in town, I’m not going to, as a gay person, print a pamphlet that says that homosexuality is wrong, because it violates my conscious. Just as I might turn down a job from someone I found personally unpleasant, or someone who’s order was too difficult. No one is being forced to support my business. It’s not as if they don’t have the ability to print their material in other ways, but the fact is, that if you’re printing something anti-gay & I don’t want to print it -too damn bad. You don’t get to bring cops with guns to my door & FORCE me to print it or shut down my business if I don’t comply, just because I’m the only printer in town, dig? & if I want to have that freedom, I also have to extend that freedom to the bigots. Does that sound fair enough?

          1. Lord Narf

            You don’t have to be happy about it. You do the job. If you’re providing a service to the community, you don’t get to deny service to a part of the community that you don’t agree with. Just be sure to let the anti-gay bigots know that you’re specifically earmarking the profits from their job to buy lube for sex with your boyfriend.

            How would you feel if you couldn’t find anyone in town to print up fliers for your atheism group? If someone doesn’t have the tools on-hand to do the job, and the client won’t accept the simplification of design necessary to work with the printer, or if someone is personally abusive, then you’ve got grounds to refuse service. But if the KKK member comes in and nicely tells you that he needs these simple fliers printed so he can spread the word about the inferiority of black people, you print his damned fliers.

          2. Martin Wagner

            I would need to look more closely at discrimination laws. There are businesses — I see this most often in restaurants — that prominently post signs saying “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.” In the case of asshole individuals or disruptive customers, I think a business can by all means deny service. There was a situation recently of a waiter in Houston who refused to wait on a table full of people who had made insulting remarks about another table where a child with Down’s Syndrome was sitting. No trouble for the waiter or the restaurant.

            However, if a business shows a pattern of denying service to a definable segment of people in the community (Jews, gays, Latinos, atheists) based on bigotry towards that group of people, they would run afoul of anti-discrimination laws.

          3. Lord Narf

            Yeah, they had a discussion about it on Non-Prophets Radio, a few years back. If you have grounds, involving disruptive or insulting behavior, you’re golden. But the sign doesn’t literally mean what it says. Or at least if they do literally mean what the sign says, they’re wrong. Their decision of refusing people service is subject to followup legal-review.

          4. Hel

            Martin – exactly. I’m down with that. & thanks again for a very entertaining article & for supporting the LGBT article! btw I totes read it in your voice, lol. =)

      2. Hel

        Thanks for your input. you raise an interesting point, but it still violates people’s personal freedoms. I don’t care if I’m the only printer in town, it’s not morally right to force me to print KKK pamplets. See below:

        1. Hel

          erm above lol

        2. Lord Narf

          And allowing the only printer in town to deny services to people he doesn’t agree with violates the freedoms of those people to do things they want. You have to decide where to draw the line, and instances of historical bigotry have indicated where those lines should be drawn.

          1. Hel

            Sorry, but that doesn’t follow. How does me saying “no, I won’t print your KKK rally flier” stop someone from going out & finding another way to print their flier? They could just go to the store, buy some markers & paper, & make fliers. They don’t have to use my service
            . Again, it is perfectly legal for me to refuse the same person service on the grounds that I don’t like them personally or just don’t care to take the job at this time (maybe I have too many other jobs & can’t fit him in).
            . How does taking away my freedom to say “no, I won’t participate” INCREASE freedom? That’s like saying that stopping someone from murdering me takes away their freedom to murder. No, freedom doesn’t mean your freedom to impose your will on me. Freedom means people getting to do what they want -as long as it doesn’t infringe on another’s freedom to do what THEY want- which is key. You’re just convincing me more & more that my original inclination on this question was correct- you DONT have a right to force me to support things that I think are wrong. That IS an infringement on my freedom.

          2. Lord Narf

            What if they need them done professionally?

            Like we said elsewhere, if you’re truly backed up to the point that you can’t help them within the time-frame in which you need them, you might be okay. If they come to you 3 months before they need them, you might be in trouble and subject to a lawsuit.

            The difference comes in when you change over from being just some joker with some professional printing tools who happens to occasionally print some things for some friends. Once you open your doors as a business, offering your services to the general public, you give away some of your right to refuse to do anything that you don’t want to support. That’s what the anti-discrimination laws are for.

            You can try it and hope you get a sympathetic jury. I wouldn’t be one of those. I’d find you guilty under the discrimination laws, unless you had damned good reasons that you couldn’t comply with the order. You’re wrong, and you’ll almost certainly lose a lawsuit.

            As for the moral side of the argument, think about what Unfogged said, below.

        3. unfogged

          Do you support the pharmacists that refuse to fill prescriptions for birth control?

          1. Hel

            I think that’s a very good point, Unfogged. As I said before, I don’t feel it’s wise to have a hard-line stance on this. When it comes to someone’s health, I think that a person’s right to get what they need can trump another person’s right to have a moral position about it. Thanks.

          2. Hel

            Lord, I disagree, & that isn’t the current state of things anyway – there is no law saying a business can’t refuse service to people, in fact many businesses carry a sign saying “we have the right to refuse service” ie to obnoxious teenagers or to a person who isn’t wearing a shirt or someone who insists on smoking in a nonsmoking area etc, it is common, & for good reasons, for business owners to be allowed to make their own choices & any very strict regulations would become unenforceable. Like I said, this isn’t black & white, there are clear exceptions, sure – for things like housing, medical care, & not letting people ban black people from their restaurant, & keeping a previously arrange contract, sure. But think of it this way – whenever you’re enforcing a law, you potentially are bringing a gun to that fight. If I refuse to print Nazi pamphlets or sell cake to a known rapist or take on more orders than I can handle & you want to force me to do so, you can do it with threats of fines, & I can refuse, & then what? Eventually, if you want to force me, you have to come with a cop with a gun to take me to jail, & if I refuse to comply, I can be killed. I don’t think it is in any way morally right to kill someone because they told someone to take their magazine to another printer or start their own printing business. I do think you can make an argument for bringing a gun to the fight if someone is refusing to give someone a medication they need. I suppose we’ll have to agree to disagree at some point, no sense going around in circles. It’s always nice to have one’s ideas challenged & hear another point of view, so thanks for that. =)

          3. Lord Narf

            Lord, I disagree, & that isn’t the current state of things anyway – there is no law saying a business can’t refuse service to people, in fact many businesses carry a sign saying “we have the right to refuse service” ie to obnoxious teenagers or to a person who isn’t wearing a shirt or someone who insists on smoking in a nonsmoking area etc, it is common, & for good reasons, for business owners to be allowed to make their own choices & any very strict regulations would become unenforceable.

            Heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh.
            And you really think that those stupid signs mean fuck all in a legal challenge? A black person brings a lawsuit because the redneck assholes in the restaurant refused to seat them?

            “We’ve got this sign, which clearly says …”

            A Muslim brings a lawsuit, because the only printer in a small town refused to print his Satanic “Allah worshiping” materials?

            “We’ve got this sign, which clearly says …”

            You apparently know nothing of the law.

            If I refuse to print Nazi pamphlets or sell cake to a known rapist …

            Enjoy your lawsuit, if anyone decides to sue you, when you illegally discriminate against them. I hope you lose … which is very likely.

          4. Lord Narf

            Eventually, if you want to force me, you have to come with a cop with a gun to take me to jail, & if I refuse to comply, I can be killed.

            You really don’t understand a damned thing about the civil legal system, do you? You own a company. Your company has assets. Someone wins a judgement against you, places a lien against your business, and can extract the judgement that way.

            Guns don’t enter into the equation, unless you want to go all psycho and shoot up the local courthouse, after your business is destroyed by the lawsuit.

          5. Hel

            Oh dear, Narf, you’ve misunderstood me, perhaps you should take the time to re-read what I wrote? I’ve said from the beginning I don’t take an extreme view on this or take it as black & white, I’ve agreed that racial discrimination & birth control & other scenarios are exceptions.
            If you check the thread the author of the article himself agreed that there are instances in which a business owner is perfectly within her right to turn down business, which again is common knowledge & perfectly legal. We may debate to what extent specific laws are necessary & whether they work, that’s all. Nothing wrong with that, really. Debating is a way to learn.
            & yes, when you enforce the rule of law, you are doing so with the threat of violence- the only reason it doesn’t come to that is because people typically don’t want it to come to that, so they go willingly to court. People have been killed before for resisting arrest for such petty things as smoking marijuana, so it’s not like this is a huge stretch to bring up, tho it certainly is a stretch, sure, my point is that the basic idea of people having freedom from the govt is based on that sort of anti-violence ethic at heart, & when we think about laws & enforcing them, we ought to take that into account on some level.
            I think I’ve been pretty courteous & open-minded for the most part, certainly I have tried to be, just because we disagree doesn’t mean we can’t be pleasant about it, if we can’t be pleasant there’s no point in discussing these things. Anyway I’m done trying to explain my point of view, I’ve done my best to make it clear but I gotta move on now, as I said, agree to disagree.

  19. 19
    heicart

    This is a bit off topic, but related to something in the original article’s content. This line stuck out to me:

    >By legalizing same-sex marriage the state becomes its official advocate.

    Some people aren’t used to fundamentalist/Biblical literalist reasoning. But many times Biblical literalists and fundamentalists actually try and argue that by having legalized slavery, god was not sanctioning the institution. They actually say that god never said that Christians MUST own slaves…only that IF they do, there are some rules. Ergo, god is not an advocate of slavery, only someone who accepts it as something people will do, and tries to place restrictions on it to make it not so bad. The horrible treatment of slaves sanctioned in the OT laws, notwithstanding, I find it interesting that on this issue of gay marriage–suddenly “allowing” people who are gay to marry has become “advocating” gay marriage. I wonder if this author would be the sort of Christian who would admit then, that god advocated slavery by allowing it under the law?

    Just curious if he’s consistent on that front.

    1. 19.1
      julian the apostate

      I think he’s quite consistent on that point. By legalizing gay marriage the government would be its official advocate. But isn’t that the whole point? Isn’t that what we want?

      Legalizing gay marriage isn’t merely ‘allowing’ it. It’s already allowed, it’s just not legally recognized. Legalizing it means giving it a set of legal rights and obligations enforceable by the state, which would make the state its official advocate.

    2. 19.2
      EnlightenmentLiberal

      I see your point. It’s a good one. Thanks Tracie, I’ll have to remember that.

  20. 20
    Yellow Thursday

    As others have said, Barber’s argument seems to come down to “protecting” traditionally-defined gender roles. He seems worried that if same-sex marriage is recognized by governments, then his wife (perhaps future wife) won’t be willing to stay home and clean house for him. Maybe Barber is worried that his wife will want to pursue a career, and he’ll be forced to stay home and raise the kids.

  21. 21
    John Kruger

    After all the twisting and squirming and rationalizing is over, what is always “lost” in marriage equality is the ability of people to discriminate and treat other people like second class citizens. That is the whole reason we want marriage equality!

    There are so many decent people who can mind their own business and not attempt to legislate salvation. It is only the few wing nuts that have to kick and scream and cry as their privilege erodes. I can’t feel sorry for someone who does not get to enjoy a special status anymore and has to live with the same rights as everyone else. Cry me a river. Especially in this case, when once everyone gets a cookie, the cookies you always got are not so sweet anymore.

  22. 22
    Mark W

    What makes this even worse is that it was published on April 1st. To heck with Godwin — this might just be a Poe! And, by definition, I can’t tell! Aggggh!!!

    1. 22.1
      Martin Wagner

      Yeah, some of it is so dumb I truly wondered that myself. But the tone is not dissimilar to other pieces on Barber’s blog, even if this one is the most extreme.

  23. 23
    nurseingrid

    in all their gayotronic gay little gayness.

    Just became my new favorite phrase. Am already trying to come up with ways to insert it casually into conversation.

  24. 24
    peterbollwerk

    Well done Martin.
    Absolutely brilliant.

  25. 25
    Alicia

    1. Same-sex marriage reduces the worth of your marriage

    My head started to hurt and my eyes begn to cross shotly after that line and I wasn’t even into the meat of the guy’s stupidity here. So, does my being an African American that is married to a pale white Irishman devlaue white folks marriages? What a crock of rhymes with Mitt! I mean, the stupid here doesn’t just burn, it incinerates. And infuriates. My gay father should have had every right to marry his lover if so desired, and it wouldn’t have made so called straight marriage any more or less valued. That’s just a bunch of bullocks to sell bigotry tied up in a nice neat bow to those who want to be intellectually dishonest enough to keep fight a losing war. And guess what? The next battle between you and an anti-gay marriage bigot will include these talking points. Good thing we have reason on our side, as it almost invariably prevails.

    1. 25.1
      Lord Narf

      I could come up with his probable response, but I would have to go find a nice, white hood to put on, first.

      1. Alicia

        LOL–indeed…he is probably of the ilk of the 49 percent in Arkansas natives who voted against interracial marriage recently

        1. Lord Narf

          Wait, what? Why were they even given the opportunity to vote against interracial marriage? Who put something like that on a ballot?

          1. Alicia

            Oopsie–it was Mississsippi ( I get many of these backwards states mixed up) lol here’s the HuffPo article:

            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/12/interracial-marriage-deep-south_n_1339827.html

          2. Lord Narf

            That’s likely GOP voters, and it was just a poll, not an actual vote. Still a beautiful example of insanity, though, if you’re into train wrecks.

          3. Alicia

            Yeah but what I find scary is what could happen if this did go up for a vote…Sheesh—lol

  26. 26
    unfogged

    Sometimes I really pity these people who get their sense of self-worth from other people. To go through life considering yourself to be worthless except for how well you can grovel to your god and put on a front to impress your peers must be horrific. When you can only make yourself feel better by thinking you are better than the gays or the blacks or the muslims or the (insert your target of choice) then the concept that that group might actually deserve equal respect has to be just too big to handle. Then again, life is too short to waste it pitying asshats for long.

    1. 26.1
      Alicia

      co-signed!

  27. 27
    Janice Hope

    I am not sure I completly understood what that man rambled about hereosexual marriages. But to me it sounded like:

    “If gays marry my wife will want to work and earn her own money and be independent, I will loose my role as the man of the house. I might be forced to do some housework or help raise my offsprings.

    NOOOOOO!!! The horror! I will no longer be able to spread nonsense all day and then come home and have my wife cater to me… because she might have other options once gay marriage is approved.”

    At least that is what I understood from his ramblings.

    1. 27.1
      Martin Wagner

      Yes, rigid gender roles are important to the likes of Barber, and they are thrown into confusion at the idea those might be altered in any way.

  28. 28
    Stacy

    But…but…if men and women, husbands and wives become fungible, who will make the sammiches?

    Who will make the sammiches!?”

    1. 28.1
      Martin Wagner

      You laugh. It’s a real crisis!

  29. 29
    Sam Austin

    Gee, since marriage equality has been the law in several states for several years, Barber ought by now to be able to produce at least one straight couple who divorced because “society didn’t respect our marriage.” These talking points are so contorted because more plausible arguments have been revealed to make the opposition’s case. I recall for instance a conservative pundit years ago who pointed out that if society doesn’t continue to stigmatize gayness, a sexually ambivalent man in a straight marriage might look at the happy gay couple next door and think “I could have that life.” (He meant that would be bad.) And I’ve only ever heard one politico bellow “We can’t AFFORD gay marriage!” before someone shut her up, since that argument all too obviously points up the economic inequity of people who can’t marry subsidizing those who can.

  30. 30
    Alicia

    a sexually ambivalent man in a straight marriage might look at the happy gay couple next door and think “I could have that life.” Uhm–that is exactly what we WANT to happen. People shouldn’t be “forced to be straight” if that is not their nature or desire. Better for all involved to be honest (no broken hearts), so we need to foster an atmosphere where folks can be honest without fear. Once again proving how very incredibly stupid those standing in opposition of the issue are.

    1. 30.1
      Lord Narf

      So, bisexual people will be able to be with either sex, and people in loveless marriages will be able to get out of them, rather than staying in the marriage making each other miserable? Noooooooooooo!

  31. 31
    Alicia

    One wonders if some of these folks are secretly gay and too cowardly to live out loud, so they console themselves in loveless marriages with the idea that it is unacceptable anywayz, while they condemn others for having the guts to do what they will not.

    1. 31.1
      Lord Narf

      A great number of the more aggressively homophobic ones have been caught up in gay scandals. It sets up a bit of a pattern and makes you wonder about the rest of them.

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