Wow…so there’s been a lot of activity swirling around while I’ve been away! Sorry for that, by the way…working for myself sometimes takes me off in different directions, and over the past week, I’ve been doing work for a large client that pulled me away from here. Back now, and it looks like I’ve got some catching up to do, so here’s a start.
Conservatives were (of course) quick to wail and gnash teeth, pronouncing this on the one hand as yet another step closer to turning the nation into a librocommiefascist paradise, and on the other, as a mighty blow to the fabric of the nation that it will surely not survive (note: they said similar things about what would happen if we created the FDA, regulated child labor, and allowed women the right to vote…I’ll bet if you looked hard enough, you could find the same kind of opposition to indoor plumbing!). For instance:
“[T]he child will become a very dominant factor in the household and might refuse perhaps to do chores before six a.m. or after seven p.m. or to perform any labor.”
-Senator Weldon Heyburn (R-ID), in 1908, on why child labor should remain unregulated
“Woman suffrage would give to the wives and daughters of the poor a new opportunity to gratify their envy and mistrust of the rich. Meantime these new voters would become either the purchased or cajoled victims of plausible political manipulators, or the intimidated and helpless voting vassals of imperious employers.”
-Former President Grover Cleveland (member of the HIGHLY Conservative Burbon Dems…what we would call Blue Dogs in today’s parlance…big time conservative icon of his day), in 1905, on why women shouldn’t be able to vote
“[The Act represents] a step in the direction of Communism, Bolshevism, fascism, and Nazism.”
-The National Association of Manufacturers, in 1938, condemning a national minimum wage and guaranteed overtime pay
and of course:
“The doctor begins to lose freedoms; it’s like telling a lie, and one leads to another. First you decide that the doctor can have so many patients. They are equally divided among the various doctors by the government. But then the doctors aren’t equally divided geographically, so a doctor decides he wants to practice in one town and the government has to say to him you can’t live in that town, they already have enough doctors. You have to go someplace else. And from here it is only a short step to dictating where he will go.”
-Ronald Reagan, in 1961, arguing against the creation of Medicare
All that to say that this current round of conservative hysteria is not new or original. This is a battle we’ve fought many, many times before, and likely will again. Conservatives are like that. You have to drag them, kicking and screaming into the future, and if you take your eyes off them even for a moment, they’ll try to haul you back a century or more into the past.
So what are the primary arguments against gay marriage?
Most are rooted, of course, in religion. “God says such and so” followed by chapter and verse numbers. The obvious counter here is to point out that God said lots of stuff, including the fact that women had to be sequestered during their time of the month, that he wanted regular offerings (burnt bull, in one extreme case, a guy’s firstborn son, all sorts of stuff), stoning was an A-okay punishment, and many good Christians had multiple slaves and wives. It’s funny though, how the same folk quick to cite chapter and verse for something they don’t like (gay marriage) are left stuttering and sputtering when stuff like this is pointed out. Of course, this doesn’t even touch the fact that we’re not presently living in the Theocratic States of America, nor the notion that our laws are grounded in the Constitution and Bill of Rights, not chapter and verse, but that’s a whole ‘nother can of worms, and probably worthy of its own article, later.
It’s fairly easy to take any book of significant length and selectively cite passages from it to make pretty much any point you like. I could probably do it with Stephen King’s “The Stand.”
That it is possible, however, makes a relatively poor basis for policy decisions that impact the nation.
Closely related to the religious objection is the notion that changing the definition of marriage would in some way destroy the fabric of the nation.
Of course, conservatives have no real answer for the fact that the definition of marriage has, in fact, undergone many changes in its meaning over the centuries, and means radically different things in different cultures, none of which has ever been a major (or even a documented minor) factor in ripping the fabric of those cultures apart and sundering nations. (Examples include the notion of slave wives, arranged marriages, dowries, polygamy, rape/sex being the event (“becoming one flesh” or “entering into” in the bible) that actually marks the couple as being married, and so forth).
The other major objection centers around the idea that by allowing such a law to exist, it will further embolden gays to demand yet more (I heard mention of free sex change surgeries, stipends and reparations for former ill treatment, and even stranger stuff).
And that it will embolden gays socially, apparently turning large segments of the gay community into rogue, predatory homosexuals, who will, with the law’s passage, suddenly try to date heteros and “turn them.” (no real explanation from the conservative crowd about what mechanism in the law will trigger this magical rogue behavior, nor any evidence that points to this as a likely outcome, but as we all know, “mathematics” and “statistics” are part of one or more of the liberal conspiracies anyway.
Finally, I heard that homosexuality is a “gateway” deviant behavior, and that passing a law allowing gay marriage will legitimize the behavior, and open the door to yet more debauchery. Thus, America will be doomed to the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah. Again…no evidence cited for this by the conservatives…these are just responses to the question I got when I asked it here.
Conservatives like short, snappy phrases you can fit inside a single tweet, or on a bumper sticker, and they have summarized their position on gay marriage thusly:
We believe in the notion of marriage between Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve…
Here’s the thing, conservatives.
Okay. I believe that YOU believe the above. Good for you.
Given that you feel this way, does it not make sense that the proper response for you would be to…you know…NOT marry someone of the same gender? Do that and call it good, right?
But that’s not where conservatives want to stop, is it?
No…they won’t be satisfied until and unless they can tell other folks that THEY ALSO must believe in marriage between Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.
They MUST control the beliefs of those around them.
I do not know where this need for control comes from, but it is pervasive in the republican party, which self identifies as a conservative group, and reinforces this self identification via various control mechanisms (purity tests and purgings…observe the ‘RINO Hunts’ that have gone on in recent years).
Now, conservatives will tell you that they’re not the ones forcing their beliefs onto others, but rather, it’s the dirty libruls who are forcing THEIR beliefs onto the God Fearing conservatives, which is a silly argument on its face, given that the absence of a law very definitely punishes the gay community in all sorts of tangible ways, but the presence of the law would not impact the non gay community AT ALL. Of course, this does not matter to the ones raising the complaint, and does not even cause the slightest pause in the ongoing conservative hysterics on the issue.
Big surprise, right?
Anyway, good for the Democrats for embracing yet another group and further enlarging the already Big Tent.
Update 1: A good timeline on Obama’s history with this issue.
Graphics credit: http://www.edgeboston.com/news/politics/news//135640/poll:_65_percent_of_democrats_support_gay_marriage