Monday, July 01, 2013

Fear of 'bigot label' a cynical dodge of marriage equality opponents

Almost from the very day we began the argument over marriage equality, opponents have been fretting about how they would be perceived. They have expressed in supposedly sad tones that they merely believe that marriage is between a man and a woman and it was unfair that their "simple and innocent" belief would have them labeled as bigots.

I think Justice Kennedy last week expressed the problematic deception behind this false worry with his words about DOMA. He said DOMA demeaned children in same-sex families by sending them a message that their families are somehow inferior.

In expressing that, Kennedy did not call anyone a bigot. However, to hear the opponents of marriage equality rant and rave, that's exactly what he did. They refuse to notice that by not calling them out specifically, Kennedy was actually agreeing with their notion that their beliefs regarding marriage equality don't make necessarily make them bigots. But he did attack the idea behind opposing marriage equality and you can attack an idea without attacking those who prescribe to that idea.

Now that is the standard view of Justice Kennedy's opinion versus the opponents of marriage equality fretting about being unfairly called bigots.

But it's not my view.

I don't worry about the so-called bigotry of marriage equality opponents because I am bothered by their deliberate evasiveness. Let's be honest. Their whine about being unfairly cast as bigots is a cynical dodge. It's a game many of them play to distract us from a real issue of marriage equality.

And that issue is the one Justice Kennedy so eloquently put. What about the children raised by gay couples?   Why should these children feel that their families are somehow inferior simply due to someone else's personal beliefs?  Why should they be denied rights and self-esteem simply because someone like Tony Perkins from the Family Research Council or Brian Brown from the National Organization for Marriage will not address their very existence while at the same time wax insincerely about being labeled as bigots. Or attempt to blur over the point with meaningless statements about "decades of social science research" supporting their point of view but not naming at least one study which would accurately back them up.

Just as they feel that they have a right to boggart the definition of  "marriage,"  marriage equality opponents feel that they have an equal right to boggart the argument over marriage equality itself until it's less about same-sex families and more about them. As long as they focus all of the attention on themselves, they don't have to address how their point of view actually harms same-sex couples and their children.

And sadly, I think that those leading the charge against marriage equality know this. Their careful avoidance of same-sex couples and especially their children is deliberate.

A little tip, guys. All of the talk about "morality" and "values" don't mean a thing if you employ dishonest methods designed to ignore the rights, needs, or the very existence of your fellow Americans.

Especially when those fellow Americans are children.


BJ Jackson Lincoln said...

When they talk about "the children" they mean theirs, not ours. The only mention of our kids is how the parents are depriving them of a mom or a dad and use discredited studies to prove their point.
The only people calling them bigots are themselves. I have not read or hear one person on our side call them that. They are good at name calling.
They have called us so many bad things and compared us to the worst of humanity that IF our side does call them bigots they should be grateful that's all we call them.

Anonymous said...

If the shoe fits, wear it. They are anti-gay bigots.

Glenn Ingersoll said...

"Their careful avoidance of same-sex couples and especially their children is deliberate."

I believe it was Jeremy Hooper at who republished NOM's calls for the children of glbt couples to volunteer to make videos/ads about how evil and terrible their families are. The anti-gays would love to have kids in the glbt community rat out their parents. But if anybody's dropped a dime on Mom & Mom or Dad & Dad we've yet to see the poster child.

Frank C said...

"Religion is the last refuge of
hman savagery" Alfred North
Whitehead 1861-1947
They are not only bigots but demogogues as well for they sing and dance to the tunes their myths
are imposing even when they can't hear the music. The poor fools
just can't help themselves. Religion tells us that we can all
have eternal salvation for the low, low price of refusing any
urge toward critical thought.
However the twin evils of rascism and homophobia that form the
Gordian Knot that so binds Americas potential will never be
vanquished until we live Emerson's
words that nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of our
own minds.