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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.
17th-Mar-2010 06:01 am (UTC) - dropping in way late, as usual
Actually, gaudior had a remarkably good answer to that, long ago. In short, I think, it came down to the fact that the existence of an alternative to heterosexual marriage is very psychologically threatening to both men and women who are unhappy in their straight marriages, yet regard those marriages (and the gender inequalities that so often come with them) as their duty and their only possibility for happiness. The very option challenges the paradigm they've built their lives around.
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4th-Mar-2010 01:11 am (UTC)
I think it IS important to make a distinction between the legal rights and responsibilities of marriage, and the religious aspects.

From my point of view, the arguments against a broader definition of marriage stem mostly from confusing these 2 aspects. If we separated them, then individual religions could be as bigoted or not as they preferred, BUT no one would legally be not allowed to "marry".

For clarity's sake, I think it does make sense to define the legal aspects of what is now marriage as a civil union- for everyone- and have the "marriage" be the religious aspect. I believe they do it thus in France, where people have both a civil and a religious union (or some subset of the above).

The state/legal aspect IS a mutual rights/responsibilities contract. What's devaluing about that? The more spiritual dimensions are not appropriately the business of the state; they are religious, or personal, or whatever- and I'd rather have the state keeping its nose out of such in my own life, thankyouverymuch.
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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...
(Deleted comment)
4th-Mar-2010 12:16 am (UTC) - Re: It's a God thing.
*presents you with an Awesome Cookie*

You, my friend, are made of WIN. Enjoy your cookie.
(Deleted comment)
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?
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?
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