The American Decency Association is an absurd little Christian right group located in a small town about an hour and a half away from me. And I find it terribly amusing that in this column, Chris Johnson pretends that the pro-equality position is based purely on emotion while the anti-equality position exhibit Spock-like logical rigor.
We live in a very emotional culture. I once heard it pointed out – unfortunately I can’t remember by whom – that when the people of my generation give our opinion, we no longer tell you what we think. We will instead tell you what we feel…
This is why it sometimes seems that our arguments for marriage are the proverbial knife in a gunfight. We tend to fight an emotional battle with intellectual weaponry.
When the same-sex marriage proponent says “these two people love each other; why shouldn’t they be allowed to stand in front of their friends and family and make it official?” our response is that marriage has always been defined as between as a man and a woman and the state’s interest in marriage is to regulate the individual units of society in the way that’s most productive to society.
When they say, “why can’t this loving couple adopt a needy child who just wants a family?” we answer that, statistically speaking, the child will be better off waiting to be adopted by a heterosexual family which can give them the benefit of both a mother and father.
And these arguments are solid, but the problem is that if you tell two people who really do love each other, that making the state recognize their love will fray the fabric of society, you will always look like a spiteful villain.That is not to say that we shouldn’t make those arguments. If the only result was that we would be more resolute in our own support of God-defined marriage, that would be valuable enough to focus on those aspects – and that’s beside the fact that some people’s emotions may still be swayed by an intellectual argument.
The issue, in my opinion is that while we’re wielding a knife in the gunfight, we’re leaving our gun in the holster.
Let’s unpack this. First of all, I’m a little tired of this idea that any concern for justice, fairness and equality is just “emotional.” Yes, we feel passionately about it, but it’s also the right thing intellectually. Second, the notion that your position is logical could hardly be any more ridiculous. You weave these terrible dystopic visions of a future in which marriage, family and maybe even civilization itself will be destroyed if we let gay people get married. There isn’t any evidence for this, of course, nor is there even a remotely coherent argument to be made in its favor.
And no, the notion that leaving a child in foster care instead of giving him a loving family solely because the adoptive parent is gay is a “solid argument” is both intellectually and morally bankrupt. I dare say it is based upon the emotional response — hatred, bigotry, fear — that you have toward gay people. Irony!