uno itinere non potest perveniri ad tam grande secretum -- Q. Aurelius Symmachus, 384 C.E.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Prejudicial Template

Jim Daly, the president of Focus on the Family, has done proponents of same-sex marriage an invaluable service. In one, sweeping column published by Fox News (where else?), he has offered up all the absurd, prejudicial, fear-mongering, and internally illogical arguments spouted by the One-Man-One-Woman Crowd, all in a singular, neat package. All of us who plan to work toward marriage equality should read this nonsense to familiarize ourselves with these time-worn arguments.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

When I Became a Liberal (For Good)

Video still of me covering
the first Human Dignity
debate, April 21, 1998
Watching the Minnesota House debate a constitutional amendment to declare marriage as between one man and one woman (a declaration that, given the modern definition of marriage as simply the legally recognized companionship of two people, has no secular rationale) took me back quite a bit, especially in the speeches favoring the amendment in the weeks that preceded the final vote. In those speeches, we heard a lot of religious justification for how we should define marriage legally, and plenty of regurgitated nonsense about the supposed health risks of being gay, the sinfulness and wrongfulness of it, and declarative statements about the End of Civilization As We Know It. These are boilerplate arguments that have been made for decades. I know, because as an impressionable and unfortunate youth, I made them myself. Having just moved to the Bible Belt in 1991, I was caught up in the conservative religious culture that in many ways permeates all life there. And as a member of the high school debate team, I routinely refined my arguments against the litany of social ills that good Christians should avoid, complete with accompanying Bible verses and anecdotes from “common sense” (a good indicator that someone doesn’t actually have an argument is their deferral to common sense, which is really just an effort to avoid thinking about a given issue).

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Riding the Prejudicial Merry-Go-Round

Another day, another sad set of arguments against same-sex marriage, this one out of the Austin Daily Herald's Wallace Alcorn. We'll get to Alcorn's more impressive rhetorical flourishes in a bit, but first let's address this common meme among those prejudiced against gays and lesbians. Keep in mind that advocates of Minnesota's constitutional amendment defining marriage as One Man, One Woman were only a couple of days ago lamenting that proponents of gay marriage undeservedly call them "bigots." And what better way to prove that you have all the respect in the world for your gay and lesbian neighbors than to compare their relationships to -- you guessed it, incest!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Rationalizing Bigotry

Katherine Kersten had a column in the Star Tribune over the weekend regurgitating a common trope by NOM's Maggie Gallagher. You know the shtick: proponents of same-sex marriage "distort the issue" by calling opponents "bigots." To Kersten, this is manifestly unfair (more unfair than excluding a sizable minority from the full rights and privileges of citizenship?), because in fact opponents "argue, very reasonably, that marriage is rooted in nature ... and that children need both a mother and a father. They say that's why it's the bedrock institution of procreation and social order in virtually all times and places."
If you haven't heard these arguments before, get ready -- this is the pseudo-intellectualism that same-sex marriage opponents trot out whenever they want to make secular arguments.