Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Disgrace of Prop 8

WAP riled me up a little about something I was already riled about: California's disgraceful vote on Prop 8 and gay marriage.

I'm not going to link to any articles here - you can go do the research yourself. Several news outlets have reported the ultimate irony, which is that the high African-American turnout is part of the reason the vote went the way it did. Apparently an overwhelming number of black voters stood in the booth on the historic day this past Tuesday, and voted for a minority candidate for president with tears in their eyes and joy in their hearts... right after giving gay Americans the middle finger on Prop 8.

Now, I'm not going to lay the blame for this disgrace at the feet of black voters alone - that's unfair. But apparently they missed the irony of deleting civil rights for one minority group whilst celebrating the ascendancy of a member of another long-oppressed minority on the same damned voting ticket. How a minority group could be so self-centered and lack perspective on such an issue is amazing to me.

But I want to take this all one step further. I will not put the blame on one group. The blame is on us all, even those of us who are in favor of gay marriage. We aren't doing enough to protect the rights of this group of Americans. When we let a people be oppressed or denied rights that we enjoy, we are as guilty as those that put on pointy white hoods. We are oppressors by apathy.

I am pro-gay marriage. In fact, I consider it a national disgrace that gay Americans cannot get married. It's a black eye to our society that - mark my words - one day your children or their children will look at you and shake their heads in shame about. They will wonder how we could have possibly denied this right (yes, RIGHT) to a select group of Americans for reasons that are so absurd, petty or downright ghastly that it begs the question: what the fuck is our problem?

So I invite anyone - anyone - out there to take me on. Tell me why gay Americans should not be allowed to marry. Pat Bateman invites all dissent. Give me your reasons and I will prove to you that you're a bigoted idiot for having them. Please - I beg of you. The comments section is open for business.

Let's look through a few in advance though, shall we?

The Bible says marriage is between a man and a woman. Well, first of all, the Bible says a lot of things, and if this is your argument, I expect you're following everything in that book to the letter. Otherwise, keep quiet. Do you take the Lord's name in vain? Do you covet? Have you ever stolen anything? Right, now go ahead and throw that stone and let's see if that house is made of shatterproof glass. I'll bet it isn't. But leaving that aside, using religious reasons for government policy is something that smacks to me of being verboten in this country. I'm no Civics professor, but I seem to remember something about the separation of Church and State. I feel like that's prominently featured somewhere in some sort of important document. If your argument for a law is based in religion, do not bother making it here in America. Move to a country where religious dogma and state policy can be one and the same, and such a dovetail is even encouraged. Might I suggest some countries in the Middle East?

If we let gay people marry, it's a slippery slope to other things. I love this one. It's a short jump to marrying your dog or your sister if we allow gay marriage, some say. This is my favorite argument. I just love it. It would be wet-my-pants funny if it weren't so frightening that people say it with a totally straight face. I'm still waiting to see the statistics proving that legalization of gay marriage fosters a jump in the incidents of man-pet love. If someone has those numbers, please send them my way.

It will destroy the sanctity of marriage. You mean like our national divorce rate of approximately one in four... or is it one in three? Or has it even crept higher than that by now? Good thing we aren't letting those gays get married. We straight people are doing a pretty solid job of wrecking it ourselves. I'm always confused how letting people who want to spend their lives together get married destroys the fabric of marriage. This hasn't been adequately explained to me, so perhaps someone out there can do a better job. If so, please enlighten me. It's dark in this cave of ignorance.

Marriage is meant for reproduction and gays can't reproduce. Well, again, I think this mostly comes back to the Judeo-Christian admonition that thou shalt marry and multiply. Which, again, is not a valid basis for law in this country. But I think this is a good point. This argument has merit. But why are we stopping here? While we're at it, let's not let impotent men or men with low sperm counts get married. Or women who have had cervical cancer and cannot have a baby. These people are getting married for entirely the wrong reasons. They will be unable to reproduce and thus should also be banned from getting married. Sure, if they want civil unions, that's cool, but marriage? If they cannot have children? Inconceivable! Weirdly, nobody ever suggests this - it's only gays that are subject to the reproduction argument.

Gay people are morally wrong and we shouldn't countenance their lifestyle choice. I respect this opinion, actually. You see, at least this line of argument doesn't hide what it really is saying - it is outwardly bigoted, but at least it's honest. It doesn't dress up its message in pseudo-science or quasi-legal terms. It says what it means - you're wrong, I'm right and thus you shouldn't be able to do what I am permitted to do. I respect that honesty. But it doesn't make it any more right than any of the other "reasons" listed above.

This reason also often has an element of "gay people choose to be gay, and if they just would choose to be straight we wouldn't have this problem." Frankly, I cannot speak to this even though it's absolutely amazingly ignorant. I am not gay and cannot explain why someone who is gay cannot make themselves not be gay. I can, however, offer this: I am a guy, and I'm a guy who likes women. It's just one of those things that has always been. I don't know if I was socialized to like them from all those beer commercials, or if it was the presence of a strong father in a positive relationship with my mother that made me this way... or hey, maybe I was just born to want to have sex with women. I don't know if it is genetic or I've been socialized. Whatever the reason, that's just kinda how it is. I really wouldn't appreciate it if someone tried to change me. I kinda like women. I really don't care why I do. I'd bet gay Americans don't really care why they like sleeping with who they like sleeping with - I would bet they simply would appreciate you leave them alone to their sex like they leave you alone to yours.

These are the "justifications" offered most often when I see opponents of gay marriage open their pie holes and spout their dumbassness. And for anyone reading this and saying "just another typical liberal who thinks they know better than I do." Well, know what? Guilty as charged. It doesn't make me smart or eggheaded. I don't live in an ivory tower. It doesn't make me a genius. It just makes you a bigoted idiot. Someday I look forward to celebrating and toasting to the equality of gay Americans just as I toasted to the historic moment America had on Tuesday. But I am sad and also angry that day is not today.

That's my rant and I needed to say it. We came a long way on Tuesday, but Prop 8 and others like it in two other states prove that we still have far to go as a nation before all of us are equal and able to enjoy the rights due and owing to all Americans.


Merge Divide said...

I know what you mean. I actually had an internet tough guy (just yesterday) challenge me to meet him for a fight over this very issue. Apparently it didn't seem like a ludicrous suggestion to him, despite the fact that we live 300 miles apart. Like most rabid homophobes, he assumed I was gay for defending gay rights. I didn't even bother to correct him, because that was beside the point. If you want a link to our "exchange", let me know. It's at once amusing and disturbing.

Warm Apple Pie said...

Before you sit in judgment on your gay neighbor, put your own house in order:

It is frequently reported that the divorce rate in America is 50%. This data is not accurately correct, however, it is reasonably close to actual. The Americans for Divorce Reform estimates that "Probably, 40 or possibly even 50 percent of marriages will end in divorce if current trends continue.", which is actually a projection.

"50% of all marriages in the America end in divorce."
The above statement about the divorce rate in America hides all the details about distribution, however.

Age at marriage for those who divorce in America Age Women Men
Under 20 years old 27.6% 11.7%
20 to 24 years old 36.6% 38.8%
25 to 29 years old 16.4% 22.3%
30 to 34 years old 8.5% 11.6%
35 to 39 years old 5.1% 6.5%

The divorce rate in America for first marriage, vs second or third marriage
50% percent of first marriages, 67% of second and 74% of third marriages end in divorce, according to Jennifer Baker of the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology in Springfield, Missouri.”

According to enrichment journal on the divorce rate in America:
The divorce rate in America for first marriage is 41%
The divorce rate in America for second marriage is 60%
The divorce rate in America for third marriage is 73%

Warm Apple Pie said...

Merge - I'm certainly intrigued by that link. Be proud to post it as well with your permission.

No shock that bigotry is willing to travel 300 miles - like elephants migrating to their final resting ground.

Progress will win.

Pat Bateman said...

Yes, Merge, please forward it along or even post it here. I'm tired of this issue and defending it rationally, trying to gently change people's minds. It's time to get nasty about it. If you oppose this, you're a flat bigot and there's not really much common ground for us, so let's take it to the blogosphere octagon.

Merge Divide said...

Well... here's the link:

PROP 8 and the Like

The owner of the site (a singularly unpleasant fellow at times) is showing good judgment by shutting down this part of his board on Tuesday, so check it out soon if you intend to.

Merge Divide said...

You know Pat,

I like the idea of a rapid response team that would be alerted when someone on a particular blog makes an egregiously offensive post.

Pat Bateman said...

I like that idea, Merge. Also, it'll get our viewership numbers up when people come to our boards to blast us!!

Pat Bateman said...

Went and read that thread. It was actually a relatively reasoned and interesting discussion until that yahoo went rogue and steered the conversation into nitwitville. Unfortunately, that's what happens in this conversation - people are prevented from having a reasoned discussion because all of their time is spent dealing with the absolute mental midgets who hijack the issue and swerve the truck onto the highway to crazytown.