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Scheherazade in Blue Jeans
freelance alchemist
A thing I do not understand 
3rd-Mar-2010 03:01 pm
The opposition to gay marriage.

Because seriously. How does the marriage of my gay friends impact my straight marriage any more than the marriage of my straight friends impacts my straight marriage?


I honestly don't get why anyone's marriage ought to be a problem for anyone else. Naive, maybe? I don't know.

EDIT: This post brought to you by reports of the Westboro Baptist Church protesting in DC today - and yes, I know they're aggressively insane, but there are people who are not Westboro Crazy who see it as a problem and I do not understand.

ALSO EDIT: I have just had to freeze an out-of-control thread and ban vicious_bomber for transphobic bullshit among other reasons. Y'all. Civil fucking discourse. DO NOT MAKE ME TURN THIS BLOG AROUND.
3rd-Mar-2010 08:06 pm (UTC) - Naive, maybe?
No I don't think so.
It is the right for all humans to chose who they want to spend the rest of their lifes with.
3rd-Mar-2010 08:07 pm (UTC) - Because!
If we allow it there will be Hellfire and Damnation and Sulfur and Armageddon!!!

Oh, wait, its been going on for 6 years in MA. And yet, the world hasn't come to an end.

Huh, isn't that curious...?
3rd-Mar-2010 08:08 pm (UTC)
I have yet to get an actual explanation for the mindset. My marriage, divorce, and subsequent marriage all had nothing to do with anyone but me and the two guys I married.
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3rd-Mar-2010 08:10 pm (UTC)

That's apparently as deep as the argument goes.
3rd-Mar-2010 08:37 pm (UTC)
Were Adam and Eve ever even technically married? They were totally living in cohabitational sin!
3rd-Mar-2010 08:14 pm (UTC)
There seem to be at least two major camps in the opposition to gay marriage: the religiously zealous, and people with beards.

The religiously zealous do not understand that there are two aspects to marriage: civil (when you go to city hall, fill out a form, pay some cash and an Elvis pronounces you bound to a new level of debt) and religious (when a church waves its magic wand and makes it sound slightly more binding). These folks are worried that the civic change will forces their cults to change as well. Since they cannot separate these events in their heads, they think gay marriage is another way for the state to tell Jesus what to do. These people need educations.

The people with beards are in the closet about their own sexuality. They got forced to marry someone of the opposite because they couldn't bear to tell mommy the truth. They want to project their self-loathing on the public. These people need divorces, therapy and fabulous clothes.
3rd-Mar-2010 10:41 pm (UTC)
These people need divorces, therapy and fabulous clothes.

dang, you're on a roll today...lmao...
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3rd-Mar-2010 08:17 pm (UTC)
Because if you're heavily invested in Traditional Marriage being of the form "She Stays Home and Does What Her Man Tells Her To Do", if two men get married there isn't an obvious candidate for the subordinate role and that might mean...*gasp*...a marriage based on equal participation. If that starts being common, Your Woman might get Uppity.
3rd-Mar-2010 08:17 pm (UTC)
Sharing these links in no way means I agree with them in any particular.


(And in that second page, I have no fricking idea what he's trying to say at #4. Stupid people need something to aspire to, and that's het marriage? IDEK.)
3rd-Mar-2010 08:21 pm (UTC)
One secular argument I have heard put forth is also mentioned on that first page--the fact that in many European countries, many hets don't bother to get married anymore and children are being born out of wedlock. However, that has more to do with the secularism that was already prevalent in Europe *before* the gay rights movement, imo, and the strong social safety nets that make living together almost equal to being married, benefits-wise.
3rd-Mar-2010 08:20 pm (UTC)
There are only two explanataions that I buy:

1. People are too stupid to understand the Constitution, or opposed to the separation of Church and State espoused in it.

2. People lack faith (such as it were) in their belief system, and need their homophobic will imposed upon others to help convince them that their beliefs are okay.

(Note: This is assuming we're talking about those opposed to the state condoning marriage. Folks whose religion is inherently homophobic simply not wanting that religion to allow gays to marry within their church are, at least, being internally consistent).
3rd-Mar-2010 08:46 pm (UTC)
Just a note. There is no law separating church and state. The constitution only states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...".

So the government shall not appoint a state religion. It has nothing to do with laws or amendments based on religious ideals. Those are fine and can be debated and voted on just like everything else. But you can never ever say "Islam is the religion of the United States.".

Another fun fact, this does not stop a state from appointing an official religion. This only applies to the federal government.
3rd-Mar-2010 08:25 pm (UTC)
Because we'll run out of marriage licenses for straight people if the gay people use them all up? No, I got nothin'.

But I thought this "Red Family, Blue Family" essay offered some interesting perspective, particularly when it comes to how terrifying "live and let live" can be to someone whose world-view demands absolute moral standards. I don't know how accurate all of this is, but it sounds plausible to me.

Edited at 2010-03-03 08:27 pm (UTC)
3rd-Mar-2010 08:32 pm (UTC)
Because it's not about marriage. It's about Gay. And so it's really truly not "well, those gay people are all right, but they can't get married 'cause..." it's "Gayness is Not All Right, and saying that it's ok for those gay people to get married says that they're ok."

People are also having a hard time between "legal" and "mandated". If it's legal for your priest to preform a gay marriage, that doesn't mean that he HAS to. Because it's still not going to be ok within the bounds of the Catholic faith. But there's some confusion, which is kind of stupid.

(the whole nonsense in the first paragraph is kind of stupid too, in case that wasn't clear.)
3rd-Mar-2010 10:19 pm (UTC)
The first para seems spot-on to me. It's about the government legitimising our lives, and so many people just cannot stand that idea. Sigh.
3rd-Mar-2010 08:33 pm (UTC)
My husband and I knew that his dad was definitely conservative, but it hit home for us when my husband was visiting his mom and dad on vacation. He learned his dad, who had taught him all men are created equal, was opposed to gay marriage. For my husband, this did not compute.

Let's call his dad R. R worked at the biggest employer in the Seattle area for several decades. He was the first to hire an openly gay employee in a position of management. It worked out, so he hired another, and promoted them to positions where they could hire whomever they needed to do their jobs. Those two people hired exclusively "out" gay people. They only ate and talked with the people who were gay. They made other people uncomfortable by discussing their sex lives and by all but cross dressing in the very conservative office. Note, this was during a time when being openly gay was far more dangerous; the DSM called it a mental illness, gay people were frequently associated with bad guys in literature (and the worst of the worst), etc.

R was open to them because to him, it didn't matter to the job how they handled their personal lives. But when they brought their personal lives into the office and threw it in everyone's faces, he began to care. He could agree that some good applicants were gay, but he could not agree that all good applicants for all jobs were very feminine gay men who hung out with the gay men he hired. He also needed team players, and these guys cliqued up and treated everyone--even the company and boss willing to hire them when many people were treating them worse than second class citizens--like the enemy.

At work, they just kept asking and asking and taking and taking power and resources, and not delivering. So when gay people, a few decades later, want to marry, he just sees it as gay people continuing to take and take.

After talking to him, my husband feels progress was made. R admits that based on the teachings he did give his kids that a few individuals ought not shape the entire group to whom they belong. R is one of the most patient, understanding and awesome men of his generation, so I can only imagine his first real experience (after basically putting himself on the line for them) really burned him.

I can't speak to everyone else. I can say that R, while still not wild about gays in general, has been persuaded to allow our friends to get married if they want to do so. Which is a small victory. Only about several other million minds to change remain.
3rd-Mar-2010 08:38 pm (UTC)
that seems like a sad story, mostly because if this had been 'hire a guy from the Kappa Kappa Nu cross-country running fraternity, and he turns around and hires nothing but KKNs to work for him', R. probably wouldn't have made it "cross-country people are jerks who just take and take" -- or would he?
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3rd-Mar-2010 08:37 pm (UTC)
Lemme see.

The links bifemmefatale linked to are so mind-bogglingly stupid that I feel that I MUST be able to come up with arguments less stupid than those.

So, with the serious caveat that I don't believe these arguments, let me see if I can come up with ones that I think could have at least some tangental relationship with reality.

Here's what I can come up with:

This really IS a significant change in how we set up our society. One should ALWAYS be careful in making significant changes, because they will have significant effects. Will those effects be good? Will those effects be bad? There's no real way to be certain.

The fact is that everybody on every side of the issue really DOES believe that allowing same-sex marriage WILL, or at least COULD, make significant changes in the society. People who are for it, and people who are against it either forsee different sets of consequences, or see the same consequences but differ in their opinions of whether those consequences would be good or bad.

But pretty much everyone DOES think that there's a good chance that this WILL change things.

And a small-c-conservative is very hesitant about making changes that might have serious negative effects.

Is there a way to study this before making the leap? A small-c-conservative with no significant bigotry might well want to watch all the states that have instituted same-sex marriage for five or ten years, just to get a feel for what might happen, before wanting to institute it in their own state. If nothing particularly bad shows up after a SIGNIFICANT amount of time, and things that are good do show up, then, sure, make the change. But why not wait a bit and, y'know, be CAREFUL?

Okay. That's the argument I can come up with that I might be able to respect. Obviously, I disagree, but that's because I forsee that the significant consequences would be generally positive. If I was less certain about that? I could understand wanting to hold off for a bit.
3rd-Mar-2010 08:39 pm (UTC)
this is dangerously close to asking for evidence, which just proves you don't have Faith.
3rd-Mar-2010 08:39 pm (UTC)
One interesting observation I read was from one of the legal commenters in Salon.com, IIRC. She (I think it was Dalia Lithwick) said that, in her estimation, it could be explained by a legal challenge mounted by, if I remember the details correctly, the Mattel toy company against a German porn outfit.

The toy company brought suit against the porn folks because they'd produced some bit of product a little too close to Barbie, the Symbol of 'Murkan Wimminhood (TM). The toy company argued that the X-rated takeoff thingie damaged Barbie's brand.

And that, said the commenter, is what she thought was at the heart of the anti-gay-marriage thing. The antis believe deep down that GLBTIs are inferior to them and giving them the right to do the same thing they do is akin to besmirching their special brand.
3rd-Mar-2010 08:45 pm (UTC)
In other words, gay marriage is a trademark infringement?
3rd-Mar-2010 08:46 pm (UTC)
Of course it doesn't affect YOUR marriage. Your marriage is based on the idea that you and Adam love each other and want to be together. The structure of your marriage comes from promises you made to each other, after negotiating the details between the two of you. Right? From way over here, it looks like government recognition of your relationship only affects you wrt things like taxes...it doesn't affect the inside of the relationship.

For a lot of people, marriage is based on the idea that a married lifestyle is different from an unmarried lifestyle. (Not using "lifestyle" as code for what a person does in bed, or with whom.) It's part of becoming a full adult, settled and responsible, rather than a young person exploring options. There are customary behaviors for brides, grooms, wives, husbands...They think of dating as auditioning for roles in a play everyone already knows reasonably well, not as writing a script more-or-less from scratch.

With this model of marriage, the roles HAVE to be defined and supported by the outside community. The last generation has eroded social support for marriage. Really! No-fault divorce is legal and common. Couples live together without either marriage or social stigma. Children of "unwed mothers" or "from broken homes" aren't stigmatized, and "bastard" is hardly used as an insult anymore. Yeah...people who depend on marriage as an institution can feel it crumbling.
3rd-Mar-2010 09:02 pm (UTC)
Considering other parts of that tradition include:

  • Spouse abuse (let's face it, that's wife beating);
  • Dowries that retroactively become unsuitable so the wife gets set on fire for not being worth enough;
  • The male gets the final word, whether it affects him or not;
  • Barca-Loungers;
  • outside oppressors tell you what your marriage should be;
  • and blind obedience to ancient fiction,
...then I'm all for tearing it down. Rip rip rip!

I'd like to get married some day. I almost did once. I just don't see it on the same level as "things I gotta do", such as going back to France and Australia or eating duck breast fillet with foie gras on top again. It's got more caveats involved because I don't want to ruin my credit rating just because I love someone. Perhaps that makes me selfish, but it also means I can drive a German car.
3rd-Mar-2010 08:59 pm (UTC)
I think this particular debate is based in the new found control of our reproductive organs, and our ability to help children live.

In the last 50 years we have been able to help more children survive then we have ever been able to in the past. This has led to the importance of having children to drop. Remember just 150 years ago HALF of the children born would die. In childbirth, from sickness, injury, or any number of reasons.

Couple this with the ability to control when we have children. Birth control is very very new in the human experience. Your grandmother probably did not have it when she was 18.

Marriage is part of our species because the best way to raise a child is with 2 parents. At this moment in history we can both control our reproduction, and increase it's importance due to our ability to have those offspring survive. This has fuzzed up the idea of marriage, procreation, and the raising of children.

In the past the idea of gay marriage would have been terrible, as it would not give the abilty to increase the population. Bear in mind, there were no issues with being gay per se. Look at Rome, lots of gay folks, with slaves even, but the idea that you would marry and have kids was important.

See marriage is tied to children, you need 2 to raise a kid, and you need a man and a woman to make a kid. Right now we are in a time of transition, so it is only natural that there is conflict over the issue. Most people still feel marriage is linked to children. I think this is instinctual. We would not have marriage if that were not so. So they react violently to this new form of child rearing.
3rd-Mar-2010 09:06 pm (UTC)
I don't know if you stand behind these arguments, but you're awfully close to an evo-psych/socio-biological bingo.
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3rd-Mar-2010 09:20 pm (UTC)
I don't think that SF/F always promotes liberal thinking, necessarily. The author always brings their own biases to the genre. Look at O.S. Card, John Norman, or the conservative sci-fi of E. E. Knight.
3rd-Mar-2010 09:35 pm (UTC)
Most of the issues have already been brought up.

There's the confusion between "legal" and "mandated" and there's the simple homophobia, but I do think the tribal ones are the main point.

Marriage is status, it's membership as an adult, and it's special. Allowing people considered "not of the tribe" access lowers its importance and sacredness.

Add in the whole idea of "traditional marriage has very fixed roles because it has to" and then suddenly all moves to make it more egalitarian become threats. No-fault divorce is a threat. The unsubmitted wife is a threat. A woman controlling her own sexuality is a threat. Equal partner marriage without the obvious "wife" role to be shit on is a threat. (Why do you think so many of these people make "who's the wife in the relationship" jokes?

A marriage that be happy and freely chosen is a danger, because it becomes the "Threat of a Good Example" to use the Chomskyan phrasing.
3rd-Mar-2010 09:39 pm (UTC)
this seems like a clear-enough psycho-political explanation of the resistance to allowing gay marriage, but how do the people who actually feel this way live with that felt sense?

I'm curious but not curious enough to go interview them.
3rd-Mar-2010 10:23 pm (UTC)
There is a common response among classes of people in which a group, afraid for it's own place in society, will negatively stereotype and blame other groups in order to both maintain their own group cohesion and to attempt to put themselves above the other, either morally or economically. Currently, there is a strong outbreak of fear among right-leaning groups, flamed by media and politicians, and it is resulting in these groups looking for people to blame for the problems they see. Like the Gay, or them Foreigners. For these outsider groups to enjoy the same rights and privileges as the fearful group is shown as an example of the loss of control that the fearful groups believes they are experiencing. They don't have any rational arguments to justify their fear, because it's based on an irrational response.

Although I did hear one interesting argument. If gay couples are allowed to marry, it would be a greater strain on services that are extended to people through marriage, such as insurance and health care. However, since this also likely results in a greater number of health individuals in the health care system, it should lead to a reduction on costs overall.
3rd-Mar-2010 10:29 pm (UTC)
Insurance and health care are services we pay for, and insurance companies and hospitals have been handling married couples for decades. I fail to see how the genital configurations of those couples will matter, as long as they're charged the same for premiums and doctor's bills as any other married couple.
3rd-Mar-2010 11:02 pm (UTC)
That comment is frozen, so can I just ask if your "you're done" response to vicious_bomber has an icon of Ilyana Rasputin?
3rd-Mar-2010 11:07 pm (UTC)
3rd-Mar-2010 11:12 pm (UTC)
I think the anti-gay marriage mindset simply comes down to thinking of gay people as Other. Also, there is the having of teh Gay Sex which is very wrong for some reason and is Scary.

I think people who want to get married and can legally do so, should be entitled. I'm Canadian, and so far, gay marriage hasn't cause a riff in time or space here.
3rd-Mar-2010 11:28 pm (UTC)
hasn't cause a riff in time or space here

Francophone? Or just awesomely musical? ^_^

(And there's been LOTS of fighting about gay marriage up here - hell just see the recent move to drop all mention of gay rights from the immigration documents.)
3rd-Mar-2010 11:15 pm (UTC)
Because religion still sees Homosexuality as a choice. If they allow homosexuals to have the same rights and privileges as "the straights" then there's less reason to scare children from "choosing to be gay". Right now there's still the social and political outcaste state they can point to and say, "do you really want to lose everything by choosing to be gay?"

Of course, there's some opposition from within the lgb-T movement, that being the intersectionality of white privilege associated with "gay marriage." This does nothing to help those who need health care; getting married doesn't get you health care, getting married to someone with a good job does. This also does nothing for transgender/transsexual individuals, as we are often thrown under the bus and told to wait as it is.

It also does nothing about plural marriage concepts, worse the pro-gay-marriage camp has continued to demonize them. "Well, we're not like those weirdos who want to have multiple spouses, we're just normal monogamous people who happen to like the same genitals on our partners!"

Lastly, it's pretty close to happening, including repeal of DADT. So, a lot of people have asked, what's next? There doesn't seem to be a roadmap past "getting married" here. In fact, for a lot, that's the end goal. There isn't anything past that. Once they get theirs, they're done fighting. Those of us left out in the cold are just that: left out.
3rd-Mar-2010 11:30 pm (UTC)
I do think that happens in every push with this kind of clear goalpost. It becomes a very effective rallying cry and spur to action, but there is always a lull/drop off as for a lot of people getting there is a sign meaning "I can stop fighting now."

Not saying that's a good thing, but it is very human.
3rd-Mar-2010 11:37 pm (UTC)
Because insurance benefits get more costly for employers. If the taps of gay marriage get opened full tilt, employers, including the federal government, are going to have to offer health, death, etc. benefits to a range of people they could previously conveniently ignore.

Not saying I agree with this, but that's the economic reason.
4th-Mar-2010 01:02 pm (UTC)
Hmm...very interesting point! When I worked in health insurance administration, I learned that subscriber/spouse coverage is more expensive than parent/child coverage, because spouses (including domestic partners and common-law spouses) often "piggybacked" onto the subscriber's policy because they had a pre-existing condition that made single, non-group coverage too cost prohibitive.

Insurance companies have always had the option of covering domestic partners (the stipulations were that you had to live together for 6+ months and be able to provide proof of that, such as both names on a lease or mortgage, joint bank accounts, etc), but not all *employers* were willing to permit it.

If the government allowed gay marriage, then employers would all have to cover them, and that may drive up their overall experience. But the flaw in that thinking is that it would drive it up no more than a heterosexual marriage. The only way it would actually work to the employer's advantage (as things are now) is if they hire all gay people and refuse to cover their partners.
(no subject) - Anonymous - Expand
4th-Mar-2010 12:11 am (UTC)
I haven't read everything in this thread, but I did just go ask my husband about how he felt about gay marriage.

He has had some bad experiences with gay men aggressively hitting on him, and so he personally doesn't like the idea of gay marriage -- but he also dislikes the idea of the government telling us what we can and cannot do, as individuals. He also acknowledges the divide between the cultural institution of marriage, with all its secular benefits (like taxes and hospital visitations) and the religious institution of marriage.

If there was a cultural institution equivalent to marriage for both hetero and non-hetero people that conferred identical societal benefits (like the aforementioned tax benefits and hospital-visitation rights, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, he would be the first one to sign up for that, because he also hates religion and is violently atheist.

However, I do realize it's probably just his own feelings on the matter (and perhaps not representative of the cultural zeitgeist as a whole). I don't feel that gay marriage invalidates my own marriage, but I recognize more sharply the societal/religious divide that (I think) is inherent in the institution of marriage, as we've defined it in America today.
4th-Mar-2010 02:57 pm (UTC)
I find the "gay people hitting on me" argument so absurd. Straight men hit on be (aggressively, annoyingly, occasionally scarily), but it would never occur to me to use that as a reason straight people should be denied marriage (or anything else).
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