(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…
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.
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.
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 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.
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
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.
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.
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…
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?