Spencer Tracy’s awesome argument for gay marriage

This weekend I watched Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, one of the all-time great movies. Released in 1967, it concerns an upper middle-class couple (Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy) whose liberalism is challenged when their daughter brings home a black fiancé (Sidney Poitier).

At the end of the movie the character played by Spencer Tracy makes a speech to the young couple. The conclusion of that famous speech is below.

Remind you of any other issue with which our country, despite all humanity, morality, and plain common sense, continues to struggle?

But you do know – I’m sure you know – what you’re up against. There’ll be a hundred million people right here in this country who’ll be shocked and offended and appalled at the two of you. And the two of you will just have to ride that out. Maybe every day for the rest of your lives. You can try to ignore those people, or you can feel sorry for them and for their prejudices and their bigotry and their blind hatreds and stupid fears. But where necessary, you’ll just have to cling tight to each other and say screw all those people! Anybody could make a case, and a hell of a good case, against your getting married. The arguments are so obvious that nobody has to make them. But you’re two wonderful people who happened to fall in love and happen to have a pigmentation problem. And I think that now no matter what kind of a case some bastard could make against your getting married, there would be only one thing worse. And that would be if—knowing what you two are, knowing what you two have, and knowing what you two feel—you didn’t get married.

I’m the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question:

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  • Dave-n-TN

    Wow. Given the time of that movie it is interesting how the speech is still relevant and applicable … even if the subject may be slightly different. Thanks for sharing this John.

  • http://www.enesvy.com/ Enesvy

    One of my favorite movies of all time. :)

  • Pavitrasarala

    For anyone who hasn’t seen this movie (like myself, ahem…), I just found that they’re showing it on Netflix :-) This is at least the second endorsement I’ve heard of this movie and I’m kicking myself for still not having seen it yet. I plan to change that tonight!

  • Guy Norred

    It is rare I get through that speech without tears for several reasons, this of course being one of them. I also find Gentleman’s Agreement to be, well lets just say I once found myself wondering if the person I was watching it with could ever see her homophobia as essentially the same as the antisemitism shown in the movie.