Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Stop The Hate

With the recent Supreme Court term ending with a couple cases that (at least seem to) support same-sex marriage, conservatives have been complaining.  Some of the complaints make sense, some are overdone.

First, they say the Court shouldn't be "redefining" marriage.  I suppose it's a fair question who should be doing it--the courts or popular will--and it's an open question if the Supreme Court is doing it, since it hasn't yet found a Constitutional right to gay marriage.  But I've always had trouble with the use of the term "redefining."  It's one of those words so often used in politics that packs a lot of emotional weight but doesn't necessarily describe the situation well (even if it's technically correct).  "Redefining" makes it sound like there's some seismic shift going on--that white is now black and black is now white.  Legalizing same-sex marriage is closer to "redefining" America by adding Hawaii--we now have a bunch more people who can call themselves citizens, and a nice state to visit if you like, but everyone back in the other 49 will still have pretty much the same lives they had before. In fact, if they didn't read about Hawaii in the papers, they probably wouldn't notice any difference.  Some "redefinition."

Second, they don't like being accused of "animus" in passing DOMA.  Well, wasn't that the point?  They didn't like gay marriage, they vociferously opposed it, trying to make sure it could never happen. One argument goes "are you telling me everyone, liberal and conservative, who voted for this widely supported bill was a bigot, and Obama was one until a couple years ago?"  Well yes, of course.  We don't have to use the word bigot, with all it connotes, but everyone who opposed or opposes gay marriage is publicly announcing that it is good policy to discriminate against gay couples.  The whole thing is built out of strong opposition, hostility if you will, toward an idea they want to keep out of society.

Finally, people who oppose same-sex marriage don't like being called haters and homophobes.  Here they may have a point. This isn't the same thing as the second point--you may not agree with the laws this group wants, but that doesn't mean they personally hate gay people.  Those who oppose gay marriage have a different view of how society should work, but that doesn't tell you what's in their hearts.  (And since most favor civil unions, they're more "progressive" on this issue than most people were a few decades ago.)  I'd think now that those who favor gay marriage seem to have the majority, not to mention the wind at their back, they might try a little outreach.  Calling their opponents names sounds more like they're sore winners.


Anonymous Denver Guy said...

Colorado just passed a Civil Unions law through the legislature (after adopting a definition of marriage into its Constitution by referendum years ago). There is now a push to repeal the Constitutional Amendment by referendum (which is how it should happen, imho, not by Fed. Court action).

The tricky part of all this is discrimination should not, per se, equal bigotry. There are plenty of perfectly legitimate discriminations engaged in by government, and certainly in private interactions.

Government, for instance, is perfectly entitled to favor small businesses over large businesses (or vice versa) as long as it serves a rational state interest. And while "separate but equal" has been discredited by the courts when used as a defense of segregation that systematically gives advantages to one race over another, no one yet is suggesting that separate but equal bathrooms for men and women are somehow signs of bigotry.

I will vote to remove the definition of marriage from the Colorado's constitution if it comes for a vote because I think our state Const. is already crammed full of crap that need not be there. (And I would like the State to stop licensing any marriages - I'd vote for that too). But I would not ascribe bigotry to people who like marriage to be the name for heterosexual marriages, and civil unions the name for homosexual marriages. I'd even support adding a third category called "platonic marriages" or something like that for couples who are joining together primarily for the benefits offered married couples, without necessarily "pledging their troth" to each other.

9:45 AM, July 02, 2013  
Blogger LAGuy said...

Some have opposed separate bathrooms for men and women, and others have complained separate is not equal inasmuch as women often have longer lines. I've also been in places that had bathrooms for anyone without regard to sex.

Because of the civil rights movement, "discrimination" has become a dirty word. In fact, discrimination is generally a good things. It means you can tell the difference in quality between things. It's only when discrimination is done certain ways, such as along racial lines, that it becomes suspect and something to be avoided.

10:57 AM, July 02, 2013  

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