Sunday, April 7, 2013

10 ways the opposition to gay marriage insults all of us

What I didn't mention in the previous post about the purpose of marriage, because I intended to discuss it in this post, is that marriage currently serves-- for many people, at least-- the purpose of cementing gender roles. The single biggest fear of gay marriage opponents honestly seems to be that if men are allowed to marry men and women are allow to marry women, both men and women will forget the paths in life which they were assigned by God himself, which will bring about the destruction of society itself. No, I'm not exaggerating. Let me give you some examples:

1. "A child has a right to his/her biological father and mother"
Who this insults:
No, my wife and I are not of the same sex; I am a man and she is a woman. But we are infertile. We did not procreate. For the past nine years, we have been the adoptive parents of our daughter; we are legally her mother and father, but not biologically, and since Tuesday have been surprised and saddened to be reminded that for a sizable minority of the American public our lack of biological capacity makes all the difference — and dooms our marriage and our family to second-class status.
  • And single parents, obviously-- parents to 25% of America's children. Children who are not necessarily doing any worse than those raised by two parents at once and in some ways might be doing better? Insulting to them, too.
2. "Young people just favor gay marriage because TV tells them to." -- Really? 
Who this insults: Anybody who is young, pro-gay marriage, and watches TV.

3. "Same-sex marriage would just allow feminists to marry each other and leach off the state. Men would be used for their sperm and money but otherwise unwanted." -- Yes, somebody actually claimed this
Who this insults:
  • Feminists, because supporting the radical notion that women are people does not make you a gold-digger. Or a lesbian.
  • Men, because they have more to offer than cash and sperm. 
  • People legitimately on welfare, because hey, apparently they could just get gay married and all of their problems would be solved!
4. "Gay marriage will lead to people marrying their dogs, goats, cows, etc."
Who this insults: Anybody who doesn't think of their spouse as an animal. Well, a non-human animal.

5. "Gay marriage cannot be legalized because homosexual relationships don't produce children."
Who this insults: Our intelligence.
Who else this insults:
  • People who know that sexual orientation is an orientation and not a legal mandate or a natural law-- gay people have occasionally been known (as in, a significant portion of the time in which the stigma against homosexuality was sufficient to make it illegal) to have straight sex, which has been known to create babies. 
  • Adoptive parents, again. 
  • People who want to get married with no intention of having children, either because of physical inability or because they just don't want to. The comfortably infertile. The childfree. The elderly. 
6. "Gay marriage will destroy marriage as an institution. Men and women will no longer want to marry each other."
Who this insults: Straight men and women, who represent the overwhelming majority of people who are sexually and romantically attracted to each other, and always will. 

7. "Gay sex is icky."
Who this insults: 
  • Straight couples whose sexual repertoire include mundane and commonplace practices such as anal sex (which, let's be honest, is the only kind people who say this are thinking of).
  • Men specifically. Because certain sexual practices have been designated as off-limits to them, however enjoyable they might be, because of the association with homosexuality. Point of order: If a woman is doing it to you/with you, it's not gay. 
8. "Marriage equality will lead to 'sexual anarchy.'"
Who this insults: 
  • People who are aware that being gay is not the same as being polyamorous or a hedonist
  • Actual polyamorists and the hedonists
  • People who are in monogamous relationships and like it that way. 
9. "Legalizing gay marriage leads to the destruction of a nation."
Who this insults:
Nations which have legalized gay marriage and yet somehow have managed to avoid destruction. Such as Denmark (the first country to recognize same-sex civil unions in 1989, which legalized gay marriage in 2012),  the Netherlands (legalized gay marriage in 2001), Mexico (2009), Portugal (2010), South Africa (2005), and many others. 

10. "Legalizing gay marriage would corrupt the institution of marriage."
Who this insults:
Anyone who is married. Who wants to be married. Who has ever thought about being married. Because it suggests that their commitment to a (hopefully) lifelong relationship with the person they love could be "corrupted" by the fact that two people of the same sex are able to make the same commitment. 

If you have doubts about whether some of these arguments have actually been made, please see this list. Tom Junod, who wrote about how the supposed right to a biological father and mother is an affront to his relationship with his adopted daughter, says:
I was not the only one to reject out of hand the logical fallacy of what might be called the “zero sum” defense of traditional marriage, and before long I started hearing an argument based on biology or, as groups such as the National Organization for Marriage would have it, “nature.” For all its philosophical window dressing — for all its invocation of natural law, teleological destiny, and the “complementary” nature of man and woman — this argument ultimately rested on a schoolyard-level obsession with private parts, and with what did, or did not, “fit.” There was “natural marriage” and “unnatural” marriage, and it was easy to tell the difference between them by how many children they produced.
Fundamentally, the greatest fear of gay marriage opponents is something we all should be concerned about. It's the fear of their losing the ability to tell men how to be men and women how to be women, which is what "rigid gender roles" means. Gay marriage opponents have planted a flag in the notion that men and women are not just different, but different in ways that make it a crime against nature and morality for there to be two husbands without a wife, or two wives without a husband....which says some very restrictive and unfortunate things about what they believe it means to be a wife or a husband. A man or a woman. Things we all should reject, if we don't enjoy being told what to be.

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