Another Step in the Prop 8 Saga
This week and last, apparently, a LOT happened re: California’s Prop 8. Of course, this proposition that banned gay marriage was overturned by the 9th Circuit (Dis)trict Court. The LDS Church quickly released a statement about what they felt regarding that. Conservatives have questioned Judge Vaughn Walker as being a “gay activist judge.” And since then, Mormons of both believing and non-believing stripes, on all sides, have been posting their reactions to the news and the future.
I think one thing to note is that this isn’t settled. This case will probably be appealed, and things will explode. But beyond the actual outcome of gay marriage, I am just as (if not moreso) interested in the psychological casualties caused by this struggle.
SilverRain at The Rains Came Down wrote:
Originally, I supported legalizing gay marriage. But, as I’ve listened to the debate, the pro-gay-marriage side has made me a lot more hesitant to support it. Their arguments for gay marriage have done more to frighten me about the possible ramifications than the arguments against have convinced me.
She later wrote something quite curious. One of the things that frightened her was the argument that sexual orientation is not a choice, because for her, it certainly is. I don’t really know what to say about this. I’m not quite sure if she is trying to divorce (…no pun intended) sexual orientation from sexual activity or what, but I didn’t fully quite get that. (As an aside, if there is anything that makes me more likely to view the sexes as not the same, how sexuality seems to play out differently between men and women is one of those things. Sorry women, you guys are weird.)
Nevertheless, I was more (dis)couraged by the idea that poor behavior and advocacy truly caused a casualty with her. And, to be fair, I can see some of her points. To someone who is against the impact of religion in the public sphere, it might sound perfectly acceptable to say, “Don’t vote with your religion.” But I can see how this is ideological tyranny and censorship — and I can certainly see how this would turn people off. If I regret anything, I regret that religions are so against things like LGBT equality (or even gender equality in some cases [cough ERA]), but I don’t then say, “Religion should be banished from the public sphere” just because I (dis)agree.
Some of the same concerns that SilverRain had were shared by symphonyofdissent. As he wrote:
…when in dialogue with other individuals we can not merely expect them to drop their most deeply held values. Gaddy speaks about the importance of dialogue with those that disagree with him, but also describes the pro-gay marriage side as on the side of the constitution and the right side of history while describing those opposed as backwards and opposed to the constitution. This rhetoric is not inviting to dialogue. A true commitment to dialogue would mean building first on where we can find common ground.
I think that both sides fail to even address each other with charged rhetoric, and this is tragic. Nevertheless, I wonder if there is even commitment to “common ground” or if the only com- we have is compromise (which we will never consider ideal.) Because, as symphonyofdissent continues (perhaps offering a realm of alleged common ground)…
Most Americans support Civil Unions with full marriage rights granted to gay couples. Most Americans oppose discrimination and other forms of hatred (though tempered by the rights of religious individuals to preserve their values). In my view these are the things that should be fought for rather than taking a divisive strategy of forcing Gay Marriage onto a population that does not support it and is not ready for it.
To (dis)pel: most Americans do not support civil unions with full marriage rights granted to gay couples (especially not, say, adoption). (Even when they do, the federal government does not recognize it and neither must any other states.) That is why in most states, there are not only gay marriage bans, but bans on other same-sex unions. If you look at this map of gay marriage rights in the US from wikipedia, the plurality of states with the darkest red shading ban more than just gay marriage.
But, looking further at symphonyofdissent’s statement, even if most people supported civil unions of gay people, then we’d have to confront the fact that this is not common ground but a compromise — whatever people think of the comparison, this reeks of “Separate but Equal” to the supporters of gay marriage. The entire push of civil rights movements — whatever people think of the comparison — is to “forc[e] [insert unpopular minority right here] onto a population that does not support it and is not ready for it.”
Symphonyofdissent also had a bit of a head scratcher argument in my view. To paraphrase, he questioned whether gay marriage would take gays out of “a more promiscuous lifestyle” into more stable families or entice people who were “marginally attracted” to the same sex (as he put it, “true bisexuals”) to choose gay relationships over equally fulfilling straight ones.
While I think this argument is a step better than arguments that suggests that acceptance of gays and gay marriage will “turn people gay,” I find the precarious approach of bisexuals with respect to gay people awkward…and I think it highlights the pitfalls of “separate but equal.”
See, symphonyofdissent talks about people who would choose gay relationships over equally fulfilling straight ones, but he does not value the gay relationships equally with straight ones. Even though he presents that they can be equally fulfilling (whether he believes it or not), he implies that straight relationships are really preferred, and that it would be a loss if bisexuals didn’t pass for straight and suppress any same sex attractions.
…Ultimately, I am not currently so hopeful. Like John at Young Stranger, I feel like there is no solace until people can celebrate with gay couples and celebrate their marriages which are affirmations of their humanity.
But I suppose that would be compromise.