Tag Archives: gay rights

The “protecting traditional marriage” lie

Last Friday, I explored some of the flaws in some equality opponents’ argument that lowing same-sex marriages will further weaken heterosexual marriages.  I think it’s equally important to understand why it’s important to actually tackle this argument despite the fact that it’s not quite as commonplace as (more overtly) religious arguments against same sex marriage.  It’s importance is best understood in light of some equality opponents’ attempt to rebrand themselves as “defenders of traditional marriage.”

You see, some anti-equality organizations have figured out that being openly identifiable as anti-gay casts them in a bad light.  The National Organization for Marriage explains this with surprising candor on their “Talking Points” page:

Extensive and repeated polling agrees that the single most effective message is:

“Gays and Lesbians have a right to live as they choose, ?they don’t have the right to redefine marriage for all of us.”

This allows people to express support for tolerance while opposing gay marriage. Some modify it to “People have a right to live as they choose, they don’t have the right to redefine marriage for all of us.”

Language to avoid at all costs: “Ban same-sex marriage.” Our base loves this wording. So do supporters of SSM. They know it causes us to lose about ten percentage points in polls. Don’t use it. Say we’re against “redefining marriage” or in favor or “marriage as the union of husband and wife” NEVER “banning same-sex marriage.”

They go on to explain that it’s important to stress that they defend traditional marriage no the grounds that, in their opinion, the best families have a man, a woman, and children.  Their desire is to prove that they are for this rather than against gay people having equal protections and rights.

However, there is a slight problem with this.  You will not find a single press release on NOM’s site that isn’t about stopping, banning, or repealing same sex marriage.  You will not find any press releases about them doing anything to improve the state of marriage, the rights of married couples, or providing support for struggling families.  You will not find Maggie Gallagher or Brian Brown teaching a workshop on how spouses, parents, and children can develop better communication skills, create a safer environment for honest discussion, or deal with troubling issues like peer pressure, substance abuse, or domestic violence.  The only thing NOM wants to do to “protect” marriage is keep QUILTBAG people from enjoying its benefits.  As such, their claims about “protecting marriage” are already flimsy at best.

Challenging the idea that same sex marriages would destroy “traditional marriage” – or that “saving traditional marriage” is the burden of QUILTBAG people in the first place – serves to drive the final nail into that coffin.  When organizations like NOM can no longer fool anyone into thinking that they’re doing anything productive to protect “traditional” families, they will have to admit that yes, they really are just about stopping QUILTBAG people from enjoying the same rights and protections as their favored “in-crowd.”

Or they’ll have to come up with a new lie.

Let’s leave Kim, Britney, and others alone

I’m sure that by now, all of my readers are well aware that Kim Kardashian’s marriage ended this past Monday.[1]  Most of you have also probably seen one of the snarky jokes in support of marriage equality suggesting that it’s not gay people who cheapen marriage.  I’ve even seen photographs edited to add such comments.

This isn’t the first time a celebrity’s failed marriage has been tossed about like this by marriage equality advocates.  A similar flurry occurred when Britney Spears had her marriage to Jason Alexander annulled a mere 55 hours after they tied the knot back in 2004.  And it’s certainly understandable why those of us who want our relationships protected by law would enjoy a certain amount of pleasure in pointing out the hypocrisy of accusing QUILTBAG people of being incapable of taking marriage seriously while heterosexuals — and prominent ones at that — don’t seem to do much better.

But by Wednesday, I was getting tired of all the snark.  To be honest, while I can certainly identify with the sentiment behind it, I’m not convinced that “heterosexuals treat marriage like a joke, so quit blaming us” is a good or effective argument.[2] And it’s certainly not our best argument.

I think we need to get back to talking about how the legal protections of marriage are numerous and impossible to duplicate.  I think we need to continue to point out that SCOTUS has already determined that the right to marry the person of your choice is a fundamental right and challenge the anti-equality crowd’s arguments for denying us that fundamental right.  I think we need to remind people why marriage matters.

And let’s live Kim’s, Britney’s, and any other heterosexual person’s failed marriage alone already.  We don’t need to resort to pointing out that we can “do better” than them.[3]  We’re better than that.

[1]  Seriously, I heard about this already, and I normally don’t find out about these things until someone living under a rock mentions it to me in passing.

[2]  Some might argue that it’s not meant as a real argument but as a joke.  The problem with this argument is that, like most jokes, it’s gotten old through repetition.  So while I might accept the “it’s a joke” stance on the face, I’d still argue it’s time to put this one to bed.

  Seriously, isn’t that what the argument boils down to?  A snarky reply of “well, we can do better than this loser“?  And talk about judgmental!

Examining the Immorality of Sexually Moralistic Liars


Image by tdietmut via Flickr

This morning, while checking out Carol Boltz’s latest blog post, I saw a link to a “survey” (and I use the term loosely) put out by the Public Advocate of the United States.  Apparently, the PAUS is yet another group of moralizing Christian busy-bodies posing as “defenders of traditional values.” I put that in quotes because, given how little integrity they demonstrate in presenting the facts and issues they discuss, I have a hard time buying they’d know a traditional value if it bit them on the butt.  The truth is, they’re just a bunch of moralists who want to say what kind of relationships and sexual activities are okay.  They don’t care about anything like compassion, integrity, loyalty, hospitality, justice, or anything you might find in the Boy Scout Law, the fruit of the spirit passage in the New Testament, or any other treatise on what it means to be a moral person.

Their “survey,” however, is instructive.  It demonstrates just how willing they are to put out leading questions that are worded in such a way that they practically beg to be answered they way PAUS wants people to answer them.  It’s much like using the infamous “have you stopped beating your wife yet?” and only giving the options to answer yes or no.  What idiot is going to answer that question “no,” even if he’s never beat his wife.

So with that in mind, I want to take a moment to examine their five questions, dissect them, and demonstrate just how manipulative and misleading they are.

1. Should homosexuals receive special job rights and force businesses, schools, churches and even daycares to hire and advance homosexuals or face prosecution and multimillion-dollar lawsuits?

I believe that all employers should base their hiring decisions on exactly one thing:  The applicant’s ability to perform the duties of the job being applied for.  And that’s exactly what non-discrimination legislation is about.  It’s not about “special rights.”  It’s a way of telling employers that, “Hey, if the guy applying for that job happens to be gay and that’s the only reason you’re not giving it to him, that’s discrimination and you’re breaking the law.”  Personally, I’d add that any employer who turns down a highly candidate for such a reason should not be an employer because they’re probably not a very good one.  They certainly don’t have the best interests of their business or organization in mind.  That also tends to make them rather immoral, in my book.

But rather than own up to discriminating, engaging in bad hiring practices, and being and incompetent and immoral employer, it’s much easier to pretend it’s about “special rights” and being “forced” into everything.  No one wants to oppose a victim, so they’d rather play the victim.  And hey, what’s a little dishonesty?  Like I said, they’re just against sex.

2. Do you support the use of hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to fund homosexual “art”, so called AIDS-awareness programs and homosexual research grants that are frequently funneled to political advocacy?

I’m a strong believer that all art should be supported, and I find it interesting that these guys are only opposed to “homosexual” art.  I can understand and respect those people who believe that all art should be privately funded (though I disagree vehemently with them) because they’re being consistent.  These guys, however, are going for the shock value of funding “gay art.”

And I really would like to ask PAUS about what they would do about AIDS?  Just let everyone who becomes infected die?  Not very compassionate.  That’s another traditional values failure on their part.

3. Should homosexuality be promoted in school as a healthy lifestyle choice, while information about the life threatening consequences are ignored?

The only life threatening consequences of “homosexuality” are the same life-threatening consequences of that anyone of any sexual orientation potentially faces.  Straight people contract HIV and other STD’s as well.  What’s more, the approaches to address and decrease those dangers is also the same for gay and heterosexual people alike.  People like the PAUS simply like to pretend that there’s bigger risks for gay people.  However, the only support they have for those claims comes from outdated and/or bad (junk) science.

And no one’s suggesting that we shouldn’t have a frank talk about health risks and ways of preventing illness.  I’m all for talking about the very real risks of sexual activity.  The difference between me and PAUS is that I don’t want to use that talk to scare and manipulate (that’s another values failure, for those keeping track) people into doing what I want them to do.  I simply want them to be able to make informed decisions.  The PAUS wants them to make the “right” (determined by the PAUS, of course) decision based on misleading or outright false information.

4. Do you support same-sex “marriage” for homosexuals or “marriage-like” rights, like homosexuals being able to adopt children and raise them in their “lifestyle”?

Oh no!  The gays are raising children.  You can almost hear the implied screams of “They’re recruiting” buried in this question.  There’s just one problem.  There’s absolutely zero evidence that a child raised by gay people is any more likely to be gay than those raised by straight people.  And let’s be honest here, gay people just aren’t going to care whether their kid is straight or gay.  This is more fear-mongering by PAUS.

5.   Should the U.S. Supreme Court overturn traditional marriage between one man and one woman?

The problem with this question is that it ignores the fact that the “traditional family” that people like PAUS keep touting is a fabrication of the 1950’s.  People two hundred years ago did not marry for love, something that is big these days.  They often were involved in arranged marriages, and they were often for political reasons.  They also often involved paying a dowry.  Like the bumper sticker says, “I believe in traditional marriage.  How much do you want for your daughter.”

In fact, the Bible makes it pretty clear that a one-man, one-woman marriage was far from the only possible or acceptable arrangement.  The number of Biblical heroes — men established as God-fearing men and mighty instruments of Jehovah’s will — had multiple wives and even concubines.  And to top that off, considering that the only two Biblical prohibitions against polygamy were directed at specific groups of individuals (namely kings and ministers), one could argue that the underlying implication is that polygamy is perfectly acceptable.  Somehow, I don’t think the PAUS will be looking to support quite such a “literal” interpretation of those passages, though.  😉

But the PAUS would rather have you believe that this is the first time our understanding of love, marriage, and relationships has undergone any sort of shift.  This is because they want to let you believe that this will spell certain doom.  If gay people start getting married, existing stable families will magically crumble to dust (I never understood how that’s supposed to work, anyway) and no one will ever want to raise a family again.  Because if you let us gay get married, your desire for a spouse and 2.5 kids will get absorbed by the resulting gay mojo that will be released or something.  Hey, the PAUS doesn’t need to make sense.  They just need to prey on your fears enough that you do whatever they tell you to.

So there you have it.  That’s how moralistic groups that like to pretend they’re about “traditional values” spin and manipulate the facts to try and get people to agree with them.  But don’t believe it for a second.  You won’t find any true morality in them.