The following is a guest post from Amanda, one of the leaders of CASH, the SSA affiliate at the University of Minnesota.
My name is Amanda. In the fight for equality there are firebrands and there are diplomats, and I am definitely a diplomat. I don’t want to fight with anyone, and I have found that it is often more effective to kindly listen to all viewpoints and discuss matters rationally than to piss people off. But this week I am going beyond my usual self.
I have been actively encouraging my friends to vote “no” on the upcoming amendment to re-define marriage between one man and one woman by posting every media I can think of to Facebook (pictures, scientific documents, videos, sarcasm, diagrams, etc.). I recently posted this photo and finally got the first legitimate challenge to gay rights. I am a leader in a group for teens that is primarily composed of very religious kids, and one of them, we’ll call him “Tony”, responded with this video.
Hmm…I wonder why the YouTube comments are disabled…
Naturally it made my blood boil, but I sat down and watched the whole video. And I took notes. Unfortunately, it looks like some of the video has been edited out and I was unable to find the original, full-length version. Even in the edited version, though, there’s plenty to cover. It would take a novel to rebut everything presented in the video, so I will address some of the key points.
Moderator: “Canadians who continue to believe marriage is between a man and a woman and who refuse to recognize this new genderless concept of marriage have lost their jobs, have been dragged in front of human rights commissions for hate speech, have lost their parental rights, and have been forced to implement so-called “diversity curricula” in their schools and homes aimed at eradicating such things as heteronormativity bias as well as well as being coerced to accept same-sex marriage.”
Wow, there’s a lot in that introduction. No one can be forced to personally accept any philosophy. But it is perfectly legal to force them to obey society’s laws and not actively persecute citizens. Replace “homosexuality” with “blacks” or “women”, and maybe you’ll see why it is an issue to hold this attitude. No one can force them to like or agree with homosexual marriage, but if they are actively refusing to recognize the rights of citizens and using hate crimes to keep them silent, then yes, they should be prosecuted.
The Most Rev. Terrence Pendergast brought up the following concerns: Promotion of homosexual rights can usurp parental rights. Enforcement such as “loss of employment or embarrassment, lawsuits, and state intervention through legislation and funding.. increasingly compromise freedom of religion and freedom of expression.
Parents have every right to not put their kids in a public school system, and to discuss their own views with their children. If you are being openly bigoted in a business context, then yes, you risk legal repercussions. Additionally, freedom to follow one’s own religion does not mean restricting the rights of others. If you think something is wrong, you as a private citizen can fight it. Not as a corporation or business service. If you don’t want gays paying for a room in your home, fine. If you don’t want gays paying for a room in your hotel, too bad.
Similarly, homosexuality is protected by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. You cannot refuse to hire someone based on their sexuality. This is nothing new. Rev. Pendergast did mention that churches are still allowed to refuse to perform marriages. Yes. Yes they are. So restrict marriage restriction to the church, not the public sector. His other concern was that Quebec students, regardless of public, private, or homeschooled, are “mandated to take a course in ethics and religious culture”. That’s Canada, not the U.S. Here, it is unconstitutional to do so.
Ake Green was worried that the nature of homosexual marriages means either a mother or father is missing. By this logic, we should not allow single parents, widows, the elderly, or infertile couples to be parents.
Eric Rossbach and Phil Lees were both concerned with education. Their key concerns were that homosexual marriages would force curriculum to be redefined with the new definition of marriage, and that schools are encouraging kids to disbelieve what their parents tell them. If you are concerned that your ideals may fall apart when children are exposed to other viewpoints, then do not send them to public school.
As far as curriculum, it is constantly being revised when new scientific discoveries are made or when new interpretations of literature become available. Worrying that curricula will have to change is not a valid reason to restrict anything. They also claim schools will be “forced to implement Gay-Straight Alliance Clubs”. Schools must allow equal access to student clubs that are asking to form, but the school is not required to create a club without student initiative. Additionally, schools that do form a GSA do not force their students to be a part of it, just as they cannot force anyone to be one the dance team or participate in the Harry Potter club, so it in no way undermines students’ choices.
The take-home from all of this is that the majority of anti-homosexual marriage arguments are based on fear that allowing gays to marry will somehow make life worse for heterosexual couples. But in countries that have already allowed for gay marriage such as Denmark, The Netherlands, Belgium, New Zealand, Spain, they’re doing fine. Sure, with any social change there are initial issues. When women were allowed to enter the workforce jobs for men became less available. And when blacks were allowed to own property, neighborhoods that had been composed entirely of one-viewpoint, mono-experiential people were exposed to new ideas (the horror!)
I’d like to close with a quote from Phil Lees. “I just wanted to protect my kids from indoctrination”. Excellent! Good for you, Phil! Protect your kids from indoctrination! Teach them to think critically! Teach them what you think, but let them be exposed to other ideas so they can make their own decisions, not just ones force-fed them through Sunday school. And don’t restrict the ability of people to marry just because they have similar biology to you, and that makes you uncomfortable.