Orson Scott Card Changes his Tune

Orson Scott Card, July 2008:

How long before married people answer the dictators thus: Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage, and help me raise my children in a society where they will expect to marry in their turn.

Biological imperatives trump laws. American government cannot fight against marriage and hope to endure. If the Constitution is defined in such a way as to destroy the privileged position of marriage, it is that insane Constitution, not marriage, that will die.

Orson Scott Card, July 2013:

Ender’s Game is set more than a century in the future and has nothing to do with political issues that did not exist when the book was written in 1984.

With the recent Supreme Court ruling, the gay marriage issue becomes moot. The Full Faith and Credit clause of the Constitution will, sooner or later, give legal force in every state to any marriage contract recognized by any other state.

Now it will be interesting to see whether the victorious proponents of gay marriage will show tolerance toward those who disagreed with them when the issue was still in dispute.

Five years really makes a difference, doesn’t it? We go from “overthrow the government!” to “can’t we all just get along?” Now suddenly the moral weight is on us, the proponents of marriage equality, to show tolerance.

What exactly is Card afraid will happen? That gays will throw big Ender’s Game themed weddings? No, that folks will boycott the Ender’s Game movie. Card’s appearance as a guest author for a Superman comic was scuttled by controversy, and he’s likely aware now that his over-the-top polemics aren’t playing well with his core audience.

But here’s the problem: tolerance means that I acknowledge Card’s rights to hold his beliefs and speak them as he sees fit. I don’t think that tolerance means that I’m obliged to spend money on his production.

I could also argue that tolerance also means allowing other people to love and have relationships as they see fit so long as they harm none, but Card is on record as supporting anti-sodomy laws, so that’s out. One would think that a Mormon, part of a group that once faced intense legal pressure because of the supposed “bad tendencies” of their religion, would be more cautious in advocating government involvement in personal life.

The idea that the issue is now “moot” is clearly wrong. The fact that the National Organization for Marriage hasn’t closed up shop should be a tip off for him. After all, Card is still on the board. The idea that the issue of gay rights did not exist in 1984 is also wrong, although Card may be narrowly right that gay marriage wasn’t on the political radar for most Americans.

(As an aside, I can’t boycott the movie because I have no intention of seeing it. I enjoyed Ender’s Game when I was young, but I made the mistake of rereading it when I was a bit older. The second time I found it heavy handed, the characters unlikable and unbelievable and the “innocent murderer” theme too forced.

Let that be a lesson: never reread your old favorites. Let them stay perfect and uncorrupted in your memories.)

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