Thursday, June 21, 2012

FagForJesus says it best...

Context: This is a response to Alan Chambers, regarding his letter from Exodus Internationl for June 2012. That letter and these comments can be found here. Alan Chambers: Exodus International Letter June 2012 I am surprised my comments were published there and am incredibly thankful that this individual's comment was as well. I have never heard an argument put so plainly and I thank him for that.

FagForJesus says: June 21, 2012 at 10:56 am

- I am quoting a reply from a discussion on another website that spells things out clearly in a much better way than I am able - “Is it even possible for a person to honorably disagree with re-defining marriage, or must everyone who differs to any degree with the religious left on this issue be trashed as haters, ignorant, bigoted, weird, pseudo-Christians etc? ”

I know what you think you are asking – you think you are saying “There are people with sincerely held, logically based, internally consistent, and honorably intended reasons for disapproving of same-sex marriage, but whenever they try to express them, they are labeled haters and bigots. Is it possible for them to express their valid disagreements without being attacked?”

But the problem is that your premise is flawed. As a gay man, I’ve been closely following gay rights issues, gay marriage in particular, all my adult life, and since I’m over 50, that’s been quite a while now. I am not using hyperbole to say that in all that time I have never once found someone who opposes same-sex marriage who has a logically based, internally consistent, valid argument. I have never met anyone who opposes same-sex marriage who is willing to TRY to “debate” the issues.

I try to avoid the word “lie” and “liars” – sometimes untruths can be sincerely held, and sometimes untruths are deliberate. But either way they are untruths.

There isn’t a single argument against civil marriage equality for same-sex couples that isn’t either a flat-out lie or a carefully constructed misdirection or collection of half-truths. Not one.

And now, the “debate” has gone on long enough that anyone who doesn’t know that, and still holds onto the transparent untruths about it, really has to be considered a liar. They may feel they are lying for a higher purpose, but they are still simply deliberately telling untruths.

So how can you have a civil debate when one side simply refuses to even consider telling the truth?
Civil marriage is not about procreation. Straight people who cannot procreate together due to age or medical reasons are allowed to marry. Gay people are not infertile, just infertile together, and the vast majority of gay people can procreate.

Civil marriage is not about childrearing. Straight couples can marry and remain married without having or raising any children. And gay couples can have children to rear by birth, by adoption, by previous marriages, or with artificial aids to conception or surrogates.

Civil marriage is not about responsible parenting. People who are horrible parents are allowed to marry and stay married. Convicted murderers can marry. The civil marriages of convicted child abusers are not voided. And every study that actually looks at gay couples raising kids shows that they do as well, or in some cases better than the average similarly suited straight couple. For this argument to work, the very best gay parents would have to always be worse than the very worst straight parents – and THAT is demonstrably, even laughably untrue.

Civil marriage is not about religious tradition. Straight people can marry with no involvement from an organized religion, and many religious denominations and individual congregations and groups fully support same-sex marriage equality and would marry gay couples if they could.

Civil marriage is not about religious liberty or preventing religious discrimination. Roman Catholics are not required to solemnize the remarriage of divorced straight Catholics. Rabbis are not required to solemnize the marriage of mixed-religion straight couples. No minister or congregation is required to perform a wedding for a straight couple who are not part of their religious tradition. The protection of religious groups from being forced to perform weddings they don’t approve of is long-settled established law, and nothing about civil marriage for gay couples changes that.

Civil marriage is not about social approval and support of specific beneficial “lifestyles.” The US Supreme Court has affirmed the rights of convicted murderers to marry, and the rights of documented child-support deadbeats. Drunks, drug addicts, adulterers, spouse abusers, and just about every other distasteful or socially damaging “lifestyle” – no problem if you are straight. And no matter how upright and moral you are, and no matter what you contribute to society, if you are gay, it’s off limits.

Civil marriage is no longer “something that has always been, in every society in human history” a purely heterosexual thing. More and more countries allow it, and more and more US states. Denying that there actually are, and have been, couples in same sex legal marriages is now, purely and simply, a flat out lie.

Civil marriage equality does not materially increase the cost to society. If Adam marries Eve, and Amy marries Steve, society happily adjusts to any costs or financial benefits, but if the same four people group differently and Adam marries Steve and Amy marries Eve, the exact same costs are somehow insupportable?

Marriage has changed, and changed dramatically, throughout history. The idea that it has always been “one man and one woman” is simply untrue. Even the Bible itself is documented evidence that it isn’t true. And recent changes like allowing women to own property and earn money, the shift from arranged marriage to a focus on love and support, and the legal changes about illegitimacy are all huge shifts.

The biggest absurdity about “redefining marriage” of course, is that allowing same-sex couples to marry doesn’t change the tiniest detail about any straight marriage or about the process of straight people marrying. No benefits change, no eligibility changes, there is no change to the mechanism, or the consequences to straight people for marrying. Once same-sex couples marry, not a single thing about straight marriage changes.

Saying that something that doesn’t in any way even affect straight people is a “redefinition” of marriage is as ludicrous as my claiming that if my neighbor paints their living room blue it constitutes a demolition of my home.

And, of course, any claim that same-sex marriage equality “devalues” marriage or makes straight couples less likely to want to marry is so bigoted on the face of it that it hardly needs to be discussed.

So, I’ll repeat your question back to you: How can people who claim not to be haters, bigots, or ignorant support even a single one of these transparently untrue arguments? As a result, the question becomes, “ARE there any honorable opponents of marriage equality?”

In all honesty, I’ve never met a single person with an honorable argument against it. I have never met someone who doesn’t rely on at least one of these untruths as a central point to their argument, and has no answer whatsoever when they are called on it. If one’s entire side of the “debate” is based on known lies and untruths, how can they claim to be an honorable opponent?

Can YOU name an advocate of retaining the the traditional definition of marriage who isn’t basing some or all of their argument on these untruths? And how can someone who is be called a “decent advocate”? ~FagForJesus

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