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The opposition goes silent

Timothy Kincaid

June 20th, 2013

Polls indicate that a majority of Americans now support marriage equality. This is a wonderful achievement that bodes well for our future rights.

However, I think that a shift has occurred that is not well measured by polls. I believe that the nation has changed its views on who bears the burden of proof. This is, in many ways, a more important shift than merely those who favor or oppose same-sex marriage; it’s a shift in how the debate is conducted.

Until recently, there has been an understanding that many Americans opposed same-sex marriage, and that their objections would be voiced with conviction. Whether one agreed or disagreed, it was not considered to be outside of reasonable debate that a politician would hold their head high and declare that they “support traditional marriage” with more than a hint of “and you should too”.

And those who championed equality didn’t get off so lightly. We were expected to defend our position, to explain just why it is that our demands were justified or our ‘change in the rules’ is needed. We had the burden of proof. We started from a defensive position.

But now it is those who oppose equality that must explain themselves. Where once “I support the traditional definition of marriage” was sufficient, now even those who also fear including same-sex couples are not content with such a limited explanation. Now the trite phrase is issued – if at all – with more of an air of defensiveness than with a presumption that surely all reasonable people agree.

Other issues which divide the nation are strongly debated. And the public doesn’t think any less about those who strongly support or oppose positions on immigration, gun legislation, tax policy, or even Obamacare. You may disagree, but while your opponent is “wrong”, they are not “vile”.

But it seems to me that we have entered a phase in which one can be “not ready” or “not convinced” or “not yet evolved” on the issue of marriage equality. That’s simply opinion. But to be actively opposed suggests a character flaw, something with a whiff of nastiness and maybe even vile. The public – right and left – seem to have decided that you can support gay marriage or you can not support gay marriage, but you can’t oppose gay marriage any longer.

So more and more, those who can safely be assumed to favor heterosexual superiority simply choose to say nothing. Instead of defending their God-given moral view, they announce their support for states’ rights, defer to the wisdom of the courts, or just change the subject.

Politician after politician, those most skilled at detecting the currents of the populace, have suddenly found that they just aren’t all that worked up about the issue. Even George W. Bush, the man most tied to the campaign against equality, decided that he just doesn’t have an opinion anymore.

And today we have another good example.

The Palm Beach Post has an article about activists in Florida beginning a campaign to change minds in that state towards an eventual referendum to reverse their constitutional ban on marriage equality. It’s a nice article, but the most interesting paragraph is this:

Republican Gov. Rick Scott is staying out of the argument, however. Scott spokeswoman Jackie Schutz noted that voters put the ban in the constitution before he was governor and that he is focused on other issues.

Translated out of politician speak, Scott said, “My view on marriage is… ummm… look a squirrel.”

Comments

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TampaZeke
June 20th, 2013 | LINK

Yeah, Charlie Crist had no opinion at first too and then as the vote got closer he decided to throw his full weight behind Amendment 2. Of course that was before he magically turned into a Democrat and decided that marriage equality was the right thing after all. So let’s review: He had no position before he was against it before he was for it. In spite of his current position he’s a slimy, whatever it takes, whichever way the wind blows politician. Rick Scott is also slimy and a total disaster to the state but at least he stands by what he believes in no matter how unpopular it is. That’s why he’ll be a one term governor. I just hope the Democrats come up with a better option than Crist for the upcoming election.

Hue-Man
June 20th, 2013 | LINK

After 8 years of national marriage equality, it is now a political non-issue. In fact, last year, gay-hating racist candidates caused their party to lose the guaranteed-win provincial election in Alberta – Canada’s Texas.

Globe & Mail: “But if you allow even a whiff of intolerance, of homophobia, of racism, of anything that smacks of “I’m-more-moral-than-you” into an election campaign, then the voters will cast you out.

In 2012, you can’t go around warning that homosexuals will burn in hell, as one Wildrose candidate did, or that ethnic minorities can only speak to their own kind, as another did.

You especially cannot, as [Wildrose Party leader] Ms. Smith did, defend such comments as a matter of religious conscience, or something that can be taken care of with a quick and only half-hearted apology.

And to the question: How can a province that elected a Muslim mayor in Calgary and a Jewish mayor in Edmonton elect a government like Wildrose?

The answer is: they didn’t. They didn’t even come close.” http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/smith-learns-hard-lesson-in-alberta-intolerance-doesnt-win-elections/article1390924/

Will American voters convert their support for marriage equality into votes at election time?
BTW, translation:
Progressive Conservative = right of center
Wildrose = far right of center but left of today’s TeaParty/GOP.

Regan DuCasse
June 20th, 2013 | LINK

When you break it down the only defenses aren’t even legal, singly or collectively.
For example.
One of the first and most common defenses is that gays don’t spontaneously procreate.
Well. so?
There is no basis in the law to discriminate for that. It’s not legal to.
The next defense is because children have a right to a mother and a father.
Well, MARRIAGE doesn’t require either. Or children for that matter.
No LEGAL defense for discrimination on that basis.
Next.

It’s God ordained and in the Bible.
This is a country that doesn’t require or enforce any religion, so as a legal or civil policy is unnecessary as a basis for discrimination.
It’s ALWAYS been between a man and a woman for the purpose of sustaining the family and public good.

Well, no and yes. In ancient times there have been polygamous social hierarchies, but that’s changed and there is social,historical and legal precedent that shows that there are negative results from it.
And NONE from gay couples marrying. The presumption on both is that women were subjugated and are no longer. They are equal members of the marriage, rendering gender unnecessary as an enforceable factor of the union.

Were I before the court, I’d argue that heterosexuals have been presumed to marry someone of their shared sexual orientation. And although this is not asked or required on application of a marriage license, it’s only fair and appropriate that gay couples marry someone of THEIR shared orientation.
The standards then would still and do remain the same to all intents and purposes.
Where gender AND orientation are concerned.
And still remains within the established legal requirements of age and familial status.
I’m not even a legal scholar or an experience justices like SCOTUS.
So I don’t see how they can’t let DOMA and Prop. 8 stand.
None of their supporters had anything to defend either with.

Regan DuCasse
June 20th, 2013 | LINK

Oy, my horrible GRAMMAR.
What I meant to say was. I don’t see how they can let DOMA and Prop. 8 stand.
I’m not a legal scholar or any experienced justice as in SCOTUS.

Ben In Oakland
June 20th, 2013 | LINK

The only reason they have gone silent is that we, in our infinite rainbow power and spiffy clothes, have bullied them– YES BULLIED THEM– into submission with our intimidating spiffiness and magical gay bully powers. we have silenced Christians in the public square, we have isolated those who support traditional marriage instead of supporting traditional- marriage-destroying homo marriage.

We have silenced the voices of traditional morality, of heterosexuality, of faith. They no longer can preach, or write letters, or denounce us in public. We have bullied the boy scouts, corrupted uncounted churches and minsters, have bullied legislatures judges, governors and the population of at least four states.

FEAR OUR POWER. FEAR OUR POWER.

NOM!NOM!NOM!NOM!NOM!NOM!NOM!NOM!NOM!NOM!NOM!NOM!NOM!NOM!NOM!NOM!NOM!NOM!

Markanthony
June 20th, 2013 | LINK

The former edition of the new republic wrote, in Regards to SSM, that all you have to do is get people to think about it and the problem solves itself. I feel like that must be true for even the most die-hard partisans.

Guffey
June 21st, 2013 | LINK

What is also (IMO) a shift is that Ben In Oakland can write a comment that you, I, *and* NOM staffers perusing this blog will clearly recognize as meant in humor, but may still end up on NOM’s site as “See!?!? Ben In Oakland admits it! the gay-homo-fascist agenda!!!”, and… it just doesn’t matter anymore.

Maybe it’s just me but, whereas 5-6 years ago I would have cringed and thought “awww… did’ja have to write that, Ben? You *know* it’ll be used against us”, nowadays I can chuckle at the intended humor and whistle my way to the next post.

Where’s the squirrel? I like squirrels.

Carin
June 21st, 2013 | LINK

Hello, I think your web site could be having internet browser compatibility issues.

When I take a look at your web site in Safari, it looks fine however, if opening in IE,
it’s got some overlapping issues. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other than that, excellent website!

Hunter
June 21st, 2013 | LINK

“But to be actively opposed suggests a character flaw, something with a whiff of nastiness and maybe even vile.”

Do you think the rhetoric of Matt Barber, Peter LaBarbera, Linda Harvey, Tony Perkins, et al., could have anything to do with that? P.T. Barnum notwithstanding, most people get it, even if it sometimes takes awhile.

JFE
June 21st, 2013 | LINK

While it’s certainly heartening at the progress made, let’s not forget that the passivity of our opponents is also coupled with the fact that many of these states have constitutional bans on same-sex marriage that still have to be dismantled. I would like to see what same-sex marriage opponents have to say when their precious, precious statements upholding traditional marriage at the expense of us are threatened in court, challenged by a legislature, or our rights are once again put to a vote of the people. The spokeswoman for Scott says it all, “Look, we denied you your rights, we don’t have to give you a reason why we did it and we don’t have to talk about it anymore, now would you go away please?”

IT
June 21st, 2013 | LINK

well, they’ve lost the faith argument, because many faith groups support equality. They can’t claim to speak for “christians” when increasingly, the pro-Equality Christians are pushing back. And the polls showing ≥50% support are incontrovertable.

Let’s remember that when Loving was decided, only 20% of Americans approved in inter-racial marriage. The smarter opponents realize this, and realize they run the risk of aping George Wallace “Segregation foh-evah!”

Now An Agnostic
June 21st, 2013 | LINK

Oh, Ben. Now you have gone and exposed the agenda of the Gay Mafia. I thought that was supposed to be secret!

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