Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Change Is, In Fact, A Change, And Is A Privilege Rather Than A Right


If gay marriage advocates are serious about securing state recognition of same-sex marriage, they need show respect for and take issue with serious arguments against their cause. The angry rants of all too many activists notwithstanding, many opponents of gay marriage ground their opposition not in bigotry but in their understanding of the meaning of the institution.

They see it, as it has been defined for millennia, a union of individuals of different genders. I know I’ve said this before, but it bears repetition: those pushing for change need understand that that’s what they’re doing — pushing for change.

And considering how so many of them warmed to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign with just that slogan, “Change,” they should welcome a campaign for change. They trying to change the type of relationships states privilege by calling them marriages.

Note the verb I use in that last sentence, “privilege” because that’s what states do when they call a particular kind of union, “marriage,” they privilege it. I’ve been saying that for years.


As I’ve said repeatedly on this blog, it’s time gay activists acknowledge reality and change their rhetoric and strategy accordingly.

The passage of Proposition 8 should serve as a wake-up call that these advocates need show respect for their adversaries. Given that marriage has always been defined by sexual difference, they need recognize that they are pushing for social change. Not just that. In asking for states to recognize this expanded definition of marriage, they are asking governments to confer privileged status upon our unions, not protect some long-extant right that Californians just voted to usurp.

There is the continued idea that voters in CA have just stripped a class of people of their rights. The fact is, the legitimate right to SSM has never existed in CA. The CA Supreme Court made a major error in erroneously finding this right in the Constitution, and the spurious opinion has just, as a simple matter of duty, been voided by the voters. Moreover, at the time all of these erroneous "marriages" occurred, the participants knew full well that the question was still in the process of being decided. These folks should not be mad at the voters, but they should be furious at the courts for their judicial incompetence.

Some comments from a previous GayPatriot post:

“Instead of throwing public temper tantrums, those who are serious about gay marriage should be holding private (or semi-public) meetings to figure out why why Proposition 8 passed and what can be done to defeat similar initiatives in the future.”

Isn’t this sort of part of the problem? Why aren’t SSM supporters holding meetings to figure out how to *win* an amendment-in-favor-of-SSM campaign, rather than thinking only about how not to *lose* an amendment-against-SSM campaign? Is it because they fear that their issue *cannot* win via legitimate means, without the use of judicial diktat? In my opinion, they’d be far better served by dropping the judicial route and making the affirmative case, as you’ve argued in your post. A win via legitimate means will gain them respect. A ramming-it-down-our-throats via judicial coup will gain them precisely the opposite.


Bravo! Well said. I remember reading a gay advice columnist tell his readers that “Don’t worry, with gay marriage, we don’t have to give up having multiple partners. We don’t have to be monogamous as it’s defined by heterosexuals.” This is an example of someone who doesn’t “get” marriage, and that example is powerful. It doesn’t surprise me that the straight community is reluctant to embrace same-sex marriage. They fear gays will make a mockery of the institution of marriage. The gay community has a lot of work to do to counter that impression.


I think voters would have been more receptive if the gay rights movement had brought up a gay marriage proposal to the people.

As such, a vote for Prop 8 was a vote to reflect reality, a vote for the Constitution and against activist judges. It makes me very angry that the anti-gay marriage movement had to use all of this energy to pass a iniatitve that is already clearly in the Constitution. Very, very angry. I don’t ever see the gay movement ever getting my vote unless they publicly declare their respect for the people and the Constiuton while at the same time strongly condemning the judges who perverted the Constitution.


I agree that a change of attitude is required.

I’d like to see gay leaders who pressed hard for the litigation that led judges in California to rewrite the California Constitution to step forward and acknowledge that they were wrong. I’d like to see them state that this effort to sidestep the need for a political movement seeking public support was in error. That, in pursuit of new rights, they’re going to launch a new proposition initiative for the next general election, in 2010, and spend the next two years trying to persuade the people to support the establishment of a new right through the democratic process.

I would support such an initiative. However, I admit that I voted for Prop 8. I am sick and tired of judges creating rights out of whole cloth, because of the “need” to get out in front of the democratic process. The supportfor Prop 8 should not be seen exclusively through the prism of “anti-gay”. It was (I believe largely) anti-judicial activism.

Although I’m not convinced the civil rights banner is the right one for gay marriage, I note that judicial fiat is not how we ended slavery, established national due process and equal rights under the law, secured women the right to vote, or ended Jim Crow. It was constitutional amendment and legislation.


Much of the resisitance to SSM comes as the result of the judicial imposition of a new definition of marriage . . . the “discovery” of this “right” within long standing constitutional language when it is clear that no such “right” can be legitimately read into the document.


I think your spot on. If the no on 8 people ran positive ads about why they wanted it rather than ads saying people who disagreed were denying them ‘rights’ (re: they’re bad)… it might have gone differently.


f I may make a suggestion (from deep within the heart of Utah)…

It would be extremely valuable to the gay movement to band together around a “don’t teach sexuality in schools” mantra. Most LDS members (aka Mormons) that I know send their kids to public schools and are scared out of their minds that the morality they teach their children at home will be underminded by the public schools if gay marriage becomes the law of the land. I’ve never seen that fear addressed with any level of sympathy for what it is like to raise a child within a religious context.

If the gay community could make a good-faith effort to assuage this fear and communicate to religious conservatives that they don’t want to force their views on their children, I think progress on the issue would be made much quicker. I don’t know how to do that… perhaps a state constitutional amendment that allows gay marriage but forbids the teaching of sexual morality in schools?


Matthias said:

“If the gay community could make a good-faith effort to assuage this fear and communicate to religious conservatives that they don’t want to force their views on their children, I think progress on the issue would be made much quicker.”

True. If it could be guaranteed that SSM would not be used as a weapon for indoctrinating children and harassing churches, then more poeple would be for it. However, I have never heard SSM advocates call for such restrictions. Which can only make me suspect that they *do*, in fact want to use SSM as such a weapon. Based on recent observed behaviors (and as Scott mentioned, the past legal harassment of the Boy Scouts), I suspect that there is a radical and vocal minority driving SSM *precisely* in order to use it as such a weapon.

If that is not their intention, then they need to try one *hell* of a lot harder to make it crystal clear. Their ongoing silence about these concerns is speaking rather loudly at this point.

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