Gay Bashing or Principled?
What is the real motivation to oppose same sex marriage?

I love the Moteworthy blog which often brings forth points of real interest in the culture wars that no one else seems to notice. In a recent post, they took Senator Kerry to task for holding two competing positions on the issue of gay marriage. As reported in Senator Kerry's Marriage Contortions: "In a recent Advocate interview [Kerry] told reporter Chris Bull that, despite his otherwise strong support for gay rights, he could not bring himself to support gay marriage." Yet, in a 1996 article Senator Kerry wrote for the very same gay and lesbian magazine The Advocate cited in the prior quote, Senator Kerry made it clear that he was solidly in favor of gay marriage. To quote Kerry from the Advocate article:

"But we are a better nation than that. Echoing the ignorance and bigotry that peppered the discussion of interracial marriage a generation ago, the proponents of DOMA call for a caste system for marriage. I will not be party to that. As Martin Luther King Jr. explained 30 years ago, 'Races do not fall in love and get married. Individuals fall in love and get married.' This is the essence of the American pursuit of happiness and the core of the struggle for equality."
Now, it may be that we have simply run into another Kerry nuance, but that is not what disturbs me about what Senator Kerry says. The truth of the matter is that I am not ardently opposed to the legalization of same sex marriage in society at large. I do believe that it is not a good idea due to the fact that we will be making deep and troubling changes to the social institution of marriage that has served the country (and many other countries) well for centuries upon centuries. There are some articles that suggest that gay marriage is fraught with peril for both the gay couples who are married (see, e.g., Redefining Marriage Away) and for any children they may adopt or bring into a gay marriage with them (see, e.g., American College of Pediatricians, Homosexual Marriage: Is it time for a change? ["Children reared in homosexual households are more likely to experience sexual confusion, practice homosexual behavior, and engage in sexual experimentation. Adolescents and young adults who adopt the homosexual lifestyle, like their adult counterparts, are at increased risk of mental health problems, including major depression, anxiety disorder, conduct disorder, substance dependence, and especially suicidal ideation and suicide attempts."])

What disturbs me most about the John Kerry quote is the assumption, built naturally into the language, that people who oppose same sex marriage are bigots. Look at what he says in the quote above: "Echoing the ignorance and bigotry that peppered the discussion of interracial marriage a generation ago, the proponents of DOMA call for a caste system for marriage." And that is not all he says that demeans people who do not agree with his point of view. Other places in the same Advocate article, Mr. Kerry says:

"It seems no coincidence that every election year a few politicians gang together for some legislative gay bashing. This behavior panders to the basest instincts of the human condition--scapegoating and ostracizing."
He also says:

"We must all push together as one powerful force to roll over the obstacles of hatred and bigotry in this country. "
Is that all that the people who oppose gay marriage are? Bigots? Gay bashers? Haters? Is it true that they have no reasoned convictions that would lead them to believe that gay marriage would not be a positive step forward for our country? Of course not. There are many well-reasoned arguments against gay marriage. The CADRE has listed some such arguments on the Christian CADRE Public Square page. Even if the arguments are rejected, one cannot say that they are unreasoned and motivated only by hatred, bigotry and a desire to gay bash. This is good stuff. The arguments are sound, even if they may not be persuasive to the reader.

Equally troubling is the fact that this denigrating language leads people to believe that it is an undisputed fact that people who oppose gay marriage are bigots. And since the most outspoken group against gay marriage are evangelical Christians, guess what they are labeled? Yup, bigots. Just yesterday, I was listening to the Michael Medved program, and he had a caller tell him that Christians (didn't even limit the group to "conservative" or "evangelical" or "fundamentalists") were bigots because they opposed gay marriage. I'll never forget what the caller said (paraphrasing): "Christians would rather see a gay man dead." That is ridiculous, but it is sad that this person would honestly believe that a religion which passionately believes in a God who is a creator of life, who seeks all people to be saved, and who commanded that it was against His moral law to kill, would rather "see a gay man dead." But what leads to this type of confusion? The outlandish statements of people like John Kerry who ignores the arguments of the other side in favor of brandishing the rhetorical sword of intolerance.

While I am generally against gay marriage in society due to real concerns about the effect it will have, it is not the hill I will choose to die on. If society votes to approve it, I will accept it even if I think it is a bad idea. But let's have a real debate on the issue. Let's get rid of the rhetoric and agree that the reasons that many people oppose the idea of same sex marriage is an intuitive sense that there is something wrong with it that research is just beginning to confirm. But then, I guess I am hoping for too much.


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