January 26th, 2009
Some anti-gay statements/ideas make me huff in frustration, but because they seem — on the very face of it — silly, I huff and move on. These comments are iterated in casual conversations and debates but rarely receive close scrutiny because they don’t make it onto CNN discussion panels or the Op-Ed pages of the New York Times. They are the stuff of anonymous online comments, the product of an amateur punditocracy. But these memes are powerful; while an offensive comment posted on one of Chris Crocker’s YouTube videos may not be suitable for public debate, it is perhaps more indicative of where public opinion stands — and what people, in the comfort of their homes and under the cloak of anonymity, really think.
I wanted to dedicate a series of posts (five in total) to crazy anti-gay arguments and encourage BTB’s readers to respond to and engage them below.
#1: Any man — even a gay one — can marry a woman. Therefore, it is not discriminatory to deny marriage rights to members of the same sex given that a straight man can’t marry a man, either.
What irritates me about this is that it very obviously misses the point and tries to win the argument on a technicality: “Aha! The law treats everyone the same — I can’t marry someone of the same sex and neither can you.” Underlying the argument is a very amateur understanding of what it means for the law to “treat everyone the same.”
Let me try a reductio ad absurdum (though it seems to me almost like a straight analogy):
Or to invert the principle:
The argument above is conflating and misunderstanding a number of issues:
First, what the right in question is. The real argument that proponents of LGBT rights are making is that the “fundamental right” in question is the right to marry the person one loves, not to marry someone of the other sex. It is also a moot point/irrelevant whether a straight person can or can’t marry someone of the same sex given that they do not want to (in the same way that, above, it is irrelevant whether or not a Christian is forbidden from practicing Judaism). I take exception with the narrow interpretation of the “marriage right” under dispute.
Second, the understanding of what it means for the law to treat everyone equally. “Equal treatment” without regard to the interests of the individual, age, identity etc. leads one to adopt silly positions such as those mentioned above. For very obvious reasons, the law does not treat all groups equally (though it strives to treat them equitably). Certain groups are “suspect classifications” and subject to special state protection. Thus, groups like Jews, blacks, and women are considered “suspect classifications” and protected from tyrannical interpretations of the equal protection clause. It is because the law does not strictly “treat everyone equally” that we can’t pass a law that says everyone has to practice Christianity just because it applies to everyone.
The premise of the argument — that the law is just so long as it “treats everyone equally” — is wrong. So is its narrow understanding of the right in question.
Next installment: The ‘slippery-slope’ argument: why allowing gay marriage does not entail allowing bestiality
In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.
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On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.
Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!
And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.
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Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.
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