Can’t You Fight For Equality More Politely?

Every revolution spawns a counter-revolution. That’s as close to an iron-clad law of history as you can get. So after the successes of the marriage equality movement, it’s no surprise that there’s a backlash. The “religious freedom” laws that many states have attempted are a good example. But probably more indicative are the moderates who now seem to think that maybe things have gone to far, and maybe the proponents of gay marriage should be, y’know, more civil.

Once again, civility is the last refuge of the scoundrel.

As an example, here’s Conor Friedersdorf at The Atlantic, who wants you to know that just because they want to invalidate your marriage and not serve you at the counter doesn’t mean they don’t like you:

In such [Christian] circles, there are plenty of ugly attitudes toward gays and lesbians, as well as lots of people who think gay and lesbian sex and marriage is sinful, but who bear no ill will toward gays and lesbians themselves. I wish even the latter group would reconsider. I don’t regard homosexuality as sinful. Unlike my friends in the orthodox Catholic community, I don’t regard sex before marriage or masturbation or the use of contraceptives or failing to attend Sunday Mass as sinful either. Knowing those Catholic friends neither fear me nor treat me with intolerance nor bear hatred toward me, it’s easy for me to see how they could view gay sex or marriage as sinful without hating gays or lesbians.

That post got some angry reactions. Damon Linker at The Week responded to the responses, with the ultimate example of the “a pox on both your houses” argument:

I submit that, measured by this standard, virtually everyone involved in the gay marriage battle is a bigot. Someone who considers homosexuality an abomination that should be a criminal offense is certainly expressing bigotry. But so is a traditionalist religious believer who professes to hold no animus toward homosexuals and yet opposes gay marriage because she conceives of marriage [...] as “a religious sacrament with a procreative purpose.”

And so, also, is a gay marriage supporter who can see no relevant moral distinction between these two positions — and is willing and eager to hurl insults as a means of bullying them both into submission.

Most of what needs to be said has been said, at Crooked Timber and Lawyers, Guns and Money. And me, a couple years back.

No one seems to be afraid that the marriage equality folks are going to turn around and invalidate covenant marriage or anything like that. No one seems the think that gays will descend on conservative churches and demand to be married there. Only the paranoid think that gays are intentionally seeking out bakers, florists and photographers that oppose gay marriage.

In short, no one thinks that conservative Christians are likely to be treated the same way they want gays to be treated. The question is, is the marriage equality side being too forceful in their arguments? Which means we’re basically still at this phase of the argument:


(via molly alice’s art blog)


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