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Are Opponents Of Same-Sex Marriage Bigots?

 

The comment thread to my post yesterday about the Chick-Fil-A controversy ended up evolving into a debate over whether or not opposition to same-sex marriage was always per se bigoted. Michael Reynolds and several others take the position that it is:

When Mr. Obama opposed SSM he was a bigot. I said so then. And the African-American churches who campaign against it are bigots. I said that, too.

There’s a time when reasonable men can be simply misinformed, or unaware, or when their attitudes can be seen as part of a transition. Like Jefferson with slavery, let’s say, though that’s stretching it.

But at the point where an issue has been clearly laid out, and one side no longer has any rational argument but merely reiterates its opposition to an expansion of liberty and proposes to continue second-class status for some group of their fellow Americans, they cease to be “another opinion,” and become, “bigots.”

In my opinion we have crossed that line.

I understand the argument, but while I stand in support of same-sex marriage and disagree with people like Dan Cathy or, up until a few months ago, Barack Obama, I find it hard to take the leap into saying that every single person who opposes same-sex marriage is, by definition, a bigot. Same-sex marriage is an emotional subject matter for the supporters and especially those who are directly affected by the current state of the law. However, it should also be recognized that it’s also an emotional issue for many people on the opposite side of the argument as well. For many of them, it’s seen as a matter of deeply held religious values. For others, it’s a matter of tradition and the fact that, they contend, that same-sex marriage would constitute a radical change to centuries of how marriage has been defined in the west. Now, I happen to believe that neither of these arguments have much merit. As to the first, nobody in this country is seriously talking about forcing religious institutions to accept same-sex marriage (if they did, I would oppose it as much as I suppose SSM). As to the second, the fact that we’ve done something one way for a long time doesn’t mean that it’s the right way. The institution of marriage as recognized by the government brings with it certain benefits and legal protections and laws banning same-sex couples from attaining that legal status are a violation of equal protection because there is no rational basis for the state to define marriage as only being between one man and one woman.

So, the opponents of same-sex marriage are, in my opinion at least, wrong. But, does that mean that they are all bigots too?

Well, to answer that question, perhaps we need to remember what the definition of a bigot is:

A person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance

Are there some opponents who fit this definition? Most assuredly, and one need only listen to the words of men like Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association to see that, for some people, opposition to same-sex marriage is based as much in hatred for homosexuals as it is any appeals to what the Bible says or “tradition.” Indeed, many of them use the words of the Bible itself to justify their hatred, the most extreme example of that being the vileness that is the Westboro Baptist Church. Those people are justifiably called bigots. However, I don’t think it’s necessarily fair or accurate to apply that label to every single opponent of same-sex marriage.

Under this logic, as I mentioned in the comment thread yesterday, this would mean that President Obama was a bigot until his “big announcement” in May, that the African-American ministers who continue to oppose same-sex marriage are bigots, and that every single religious person who opposes same-sex marriage is bigoted simply because of that is both inaccurate and unfair in my opinion. Surely, if these people are also advocating discriminating against gays and lesbians, or re-instituting the laws against sodomy struck down by Lawrence v. Texas then the label can be applied, but not everyone who opposes SSM takes those position. Many of them support civil unions and other rights for gays and lesbians, but don’t believe it’s right to expand the definition of marriage. That’s the position that President Obama used to take, for example. You can say that they’re wrong, and I do, but to label them as bigots strikes me as hyperbolic and counterproductive.

Besides, if you’re going to call people who oppose SSM bigots, then what word is there to describe the Bryan Fischer’s of the world, or the Islamic nations where homosexuals are regularly put to death merely because they are homosexuals? On the grand scale of things, I’d say that last part is the most egregiously anti-gay position of all and yet I see people here in the United States spending more time worried about some relatively innocuous comments by the President of Chick-Fil-A on a radio show than the Iranian mullahs who are murdering gay people at will.

There’s one other point that’s worth keeping in mind here, I think. There’s no question that public opinion on same-sex marriage has changed drastically in a very short people of time. You need look no further than this Gallup chart to show how dramatic, and quick, the change has been:

Just sixteen years ago, nearly 70% of Americans opposed same sex marriage and only 27% said that they supported it. In a very quick period of time we’ve gotten to the point where same-sex marriage is, quite literally, a 50-50 issue. To understand just how unusual this rapid change in public opinion is, take a look at this chart showing the results of polling on interracial marriage from the time before Loving v. Virginia to today:

Loving was decided in 1967, striking down anti-miscegnation laws across the country. However, it wasn’t until sometime in the late 90s, according to this poll that 50% of the American public supported interracial marriage. That’s a period of time nearly twice as long as the period during which same-sex marriage has gone from something supported by less than one-third of the public to something that half of Americans support, and if you add civil unions into the mix the support for legal rights of some kind for gay and lesbian couples goes even higher. It’s easy to see where the trends are going here. Thanks largely to demography, but also to the fact that gays are a broadly accepted part of American life, we’re going to reach a day when the vast majority of the American public supports same-sex marriage. At that point, either the laws will have been struck own by the Courts, or they will be overturned by popular will.

Keeping that in mind, it strikes me that characterizing all of your opponents as bigots isn’t exactly the best way to win hearts and minds on this issue.  A lot of people have changed their minds on the issue of same-sex marriage over the years, most notably our President. If the cause of same-sex marriage is going to be advanced, more people’s minds will have to be changed. You’re not going to do that by telling them that they are no better than the Ku Klux Klan.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. DRS says:

    Doug, I get the feeling sometimes that you think a bigot = KKK member and that as long as someone isn’t actually burning a cross on another guy’s lawn that it’s somehow not as bad as “real” bigotry. Not all bigots are going to be as in-your-face as Bull Connor with his firehoses and police dogs attacking protesters.

    I don’t see why people should have to wait for years politely hoping that a dwindling section of the population grudgingly agrees to let them get married – something that has no impact on anyone else’s life.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 44 Thumb down 16

  2. al-Ameda says:

    I would say that if you hold beliefs that would deny an entire class of people equal protection under the law then you might be a bigot.

    I would also say that if you hold those same beliefs and you expend your time and money in an effort to actively impose those beliefs – via popular ballot initiatives and support of legislation that puts into law those beliefs – then you are bigoted.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 35 Thumb down 13

  3. MBunge says:

    “If the cause of same-sex marriage is going to be advanced, more people’s minds will have to be changed. You’re not going to do that by telling them that they are no better than the Ku Klux Klan.”

    I sincerely doubt accusations of bigotry are ever intended to change the mind of the person at whom the charge is aimed. It is, instead, almost always a red flag signal to others about what opinions are and are not acceptable. It’s a form of social pressure that is invaluable in maintaining a political/cultural commons among members of a civilization.

    As to whether it’s applicable to SSM opposition, I think that’s where the “obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices” comes in.

    Mike

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 5

  4. Me Me Me says:

    Opposition to same sex marriage doesn’t make you a bigot. The thing that makes you a bigot is bigotry.

    Do you oppose SSM because you think the vast majority of your fellow citizens just can’t wrap their mind around the concept? Or because you are a fiscal hawk who wants to avoid the extension of civil service employee benefits to any new group of people? Fine. You are an opponent of SSM, but not a bigot.

    If you oppose SSM because you think gays are disgusting people who are going to hell, you are a bigot.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 13 Thumb down 15

  5. Steve V says:

    Doug, do you think it likely that the remaining holdouts against Loving v. Virginia are or aren’t bigots? For me, I find it hard to call it anything else.

    I’m not 100% sold on equating interracial marriage with SSM, but I think it’s funny that you use a chart that highlights the persistence of bigotry in our society to argue against calling people bigots.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 3

  6. Keeping that in mind, it strikes me that characterizing all of your opponents as bigots isn’t exactly the best way to win hearts and minds on this issue.

    The fact that a particular statement is unpopular does not necessarily make it untrue.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 21 Thumb down 8

  7. Herb says:

    I don’t know if anti-gay marriage people are all bigots. They do seem to deserve some kind of pejorative, seeing as they think they should have input into other people’s lives, but “asshole” might be too impolite.

    So “bigot”….not for accuracy’s sake, really, just because that’s less rude.

    At any rate, I think this:

    On the grand scale of things, I’d say that last part is the most egregiously anti-gay position of all and yet I see people here in the United States spending more time worried about some relatively innocuous comments by the President of Chick-Fil-A on a radio show than the Iranian mullahs who are murdering gay people at will.

    is NOT a good point, seeing as how the people complaining about Chick-Fil-A do not live in Iran.

    We live in a free country, where you can call out the businessman on the radio if you want to. It’s wonderful, ain’t it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 5

  8. Spartacus says:

    Doug wrote: “[I]f these people are also advocating discriminating against gays and lesbians, or re-instituting the laws against sodomy struck down by Lawrence v. Texas then the label can be applied . . . ”

    These people are certainly advocating discrimination by denying SS couples the very right that they grant to hetero couples when, as you rightly point out, there’s no rational reason for doing so. That’s the very definition of discrimination.

    Secondly, as Michael Reynolds argued, once the issue has been clearly laid out and no rational reason for opposition exists, bigotry has taken hold. I don’t know when Obama exhausted all of the rationales for his opposition to SSM, but if he had continued to oppose it after having exhausted those rationales, he most certainly would have fit the definition of bigotry that you provided above.

    Has every one who still opposes SSM crossed that threshold where they’ve had sufficient information and opportunity to think the issue through? Maybe not, but the overwhelming majority of people who oppose SSM do so for religious reasons. Namely, they are Christian and the Bible condemns SSM. However, the Bible also condemns divorce (except in certain narrow circumstances) with almost the same degree of vigor, but none of these people are pushing to outlaw divorce because so many of them have divorced. They have focused on SSM as opposed to divorce or sex outside of marriage because SSM is really only an option for a small minority of people.

    So, even if these people haven’t crossed the threshold Michael Reynolds described, they are still bigots (at least on this issue) because they’ve condemned a small minority for an infraction that, by their own rules, is no more egregious than some of the same infractions that so many of them commit on a regular basis.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 4

  9. Spartacus says:

    Doug

    I would also add that your posts today and yesterday (wherein you implied but later backtracked that calling Cathy a bigot was absurd because 50% of the population shared his view) suggest that you feel the term “bigot” should be reserved for those who openly practice the most heinous and virulent forms of discrimination. That would be an error.

    There are many people who are, for the most part, kind, decent and generous who still hold bigoted views on some subject or another. People are very complex and are capable of doing many good and bad things at once.

    Ta-Nehisi Coates over at The Atantic wrote about this in a more articulate fashion than I can.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2010/09/because-there-are-no-bigots/62850/

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  10. Ron Beasley says:

    @Spartacus:

    Maybe not, but the overwhelming majority of people who oppose SSM do so for religious reasons. Namely, they are Christian and the Bible condemns SSM. However, the Bible also condemns divorce (except in certain narrow circumstances) with almost the same degree of vigor, but none of these people are pushing to outlaw divorce because so many of them have divorced.

    And don’t forget that Leviticus spends less time on homosexuality than any of the other “sins” it covers. The people that quote Leviticus are more than happy to eat shrimp and pork. All of them wear garments contain more than one fabric. It’s not a religious thing at all – religion is just an excuse to justify their homophobia and/or bigotry.

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  11. C. Clavin says:

    If you advocate denying equal rights to a group then you are being intolerant and by definition a bigot. Are there degrees of bigotry? Of course…we all harbor some intolerance on some level.
    But the argument here is like…”hey, they aren’t burning the cross on their lawns…they just want to deny equal rights”
    Oh, we’ll as long as its just denying them equal rights I guess it’s ok.
    WTF?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 6

  12. Racehorse says:

    A few months ago, my state approved the so called “Marriage” amendment to the state constitution. Our county passed by about 80-20%. I would describe the people around here as very friendly, accepting of others, and easy to get along with. Everyone helps each other. Our county is made of small towns and things just move slower around here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

  13. @Racehorse:

    Everyone helps each other.

    Would they help someone who’s openly homosexual?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  14. Tano says:

    I see people here in the United States spending more time worried about some relatively innocuous comments by the President of Chick-Fil-A on a radio show than the Iranian mullahs who are murdering gay people at will.

    There ya go again, Doug. Why on earth do you find this to be a compelling argument? Do you really think that it is somehow illegitimate for American citizens to try to improve the practices in their own country until it is no longer possible to find a worse situation elsewhere in the world?

    And I repeat my question to you from yesterday – who in the pro-gay-rights community in this country has ever given a pass to the mullahs with regard to their treatment of gays?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 2

  15. Commonist says:

    You can’t think less of a person because of a trait of theirs that has no bearing on their character and worth and not be a bigot.

    People who think gays don’t deserve marriages are bigots. Doug, you are not very smart and you waste thousands of words on trying to denigrate and diminish just attacks on bad people because the ones pointing the finger are to the left and you don’t want to admit they can be smarter and morally superior on issues. You are a bog-standard anti-left concern-troll and the fact that you aren’t a righty shill doesn’t excuse the chip on your shoulder .

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 5

  16. Tony W says:

    Here’s a twist on the issue – opposition without even a hint of bigotry.

    I know a gay man in a 20+ years long-term relationship who is himself opposed to same sex marriage. His reasoning: Government has no business being involved in marriage at all – government should recognize only legal civil unions, and should recognize them for *anybody* who wants one. He feels that the term “Marriage” is too tied up with emotional baggage and history to apply it even to his own relationship.

    This idea would leave the term “Marriage” (and its derivatives such as “Married”) off every government form, law and administrative code. The term “Marriage” would essentially become a quaint and old-fashioned word used only by religious organizations who choose to secondarily “bless” the civil unions through white-dress ceremonies, chicken sacrifice, or whatever other ritual pleases the group.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  17. Ben says:

    For many of them, it’s seen as a matter of deeply held religious values.

    Just because they use religion to justify their repression of a minority does not make it not bigoted.

    For others, it’s a matter of tradition and the fact that, they contend, that same-sex marriage would constitute a radical change to centuries of how marriage has been defined in the west.

    Eliminating slavery was a radical change to centuries of workforce management. That doesn’t mean that the people who opposed it weren’t bigots.

    yet I see people here in the United States spending more time worried about some relatively innocuous comments by the President of Chick-Fil-A on a radio show than the Iranian mullahs who are murdering gay people at will.

    This is a terrible argument. So just because things are worse somewhere else means that we shouldn’t continue to fight for equal rights here?

    A person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance

    Name me a single rationale for opposing SSM that doesn’t have hatred and/or intolerance of homosexuals at its core.

    Besides, if you’re going to call people who oppose SSM bigots, then what word is there to describe the Bryan Fischer’s of the world, or the Islamic nations where homosexuals are regularly put to death merely because they are homosexuals?

    That is a difference in degree, not one in kind.

    If the cause of same-sex marriage is going to be advanced, more people’s minds will have to be changed. You’re not going to do that by telling them that they are no better than the Ku Klux Klan.

    I don’t believe that the people who are opposed to same-sex marriage are going to listen to any arguments, no matter how honey-coated, because I think they are hateful and intolerant, and no reasoned arguments can break through that sort of blackened soul. The only way we’re going to be rid of these bigots is for them to die off, and for the younger, more tolerant generations to displace them in the electorate.

    Courts, not democracy, is how we’re going to get equal rights for all Americans in the foreseeable future. Yes, a few states have actually voted it in. But I mean come on, do you really think that Mississippi or Alabama (or Texas for that matter) are ever going to vote democratically to allow same-sex marriage. Hell to the no. It’s going to have to be forced down their throats by the courts, just like integration had to be.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 6

  18. Ron Beasley says:

    I am always amazed at those like Cathy who say they support marriage in the biblical sense. In the bible marriage was essentially a business proposition – the women were sold much like a brood sow. Does Mr Cathy really support that? If he is a Dominionist he may but I wonder how the females of his family feel about it.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 15 Thumb down 5

  19. Franklin says:

    “A person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices …”

    Heh, the first part of the definition of bigot is so broad that it applies to nearly everyone at some point in their life.

    Anyway, while some opponents of SSM are clearly bigots, there are some with just a different view of what marriage is (although the arguments here are not well thought out, IMHO).

    Perhaps the best way to look at this, based on the definition, is whether people would be open to changing their minds if they were presented with all the arguments. Considering that the percentage of people supporting SSM keeps increasing, there are likely many others whose minds will soon change. I don’t think they are bigots, and IT DOESN’T HELP TO CALL THEM THAT.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  20. rockmom says:

    I’m old enough to remember when gay couples didn’t want to get married at all. That was for the breeders.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

  21. Ben says:

    @Franklin:

    Anyway, while some opponents of SSM are clearly bigots, there are some with just a different view of what marriage is (although the arguments here are not well thought out, IMHO).

    If their “view of what marriage is” is deliberately crafted to exclude a certain group of people, then that’s bigoted, regardless of how they might try to rationalize it.

    Considering that the percentage of people supporting SSM keeps increasing, there are likely many others whose minds will soon change. I don’t think they are bigots, and IT DOESN’T HELP TO CALL THEM THAT.

    If their mind changes, then that is because they realize how bigoted they were being, and mend their ways. And that is a good thing. But it doesn’t mean they weren’t bigots before that moment of clarity and humanity.

    And I am not particularly concerned with the feelings of people who would deny others a right that they themselves are able to enjoy. People like that are deserving of scorn and shame.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

  22. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Commonist: Doug’s not a righty shill? Wait a second….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  23. jd says:

    This a more interesting breakdown:
    http://pewresearch.org/assets/publications/1755-3.png

    We’re just waiting for old people to die.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  24. wr says:

    @rockmom: “I’m old enough to remember when gay couples didn’t want to get married at all. That was for the breeders.”

    How nice for you. I’m sure you read all about it in Reader’sDigest.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  25. @Stormy Dragon: Furthermore, using that type of charegd language “bigot” on people who would prefer to not think of themselves as bigots is a way of moving people, first into a defensive crouch that they are not bigots, and then into attitude changes or at least helpful indifference.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  26. grumpy realist says:

    I’m cranky enough (as benefits my name) that if you want to keep the term “marriage” for those that procreate, fine. But that means truely “those who procreate”. Any female who has passed menopause, nope, not eligible. Any male who can’t get it up any more, nope, not eligible. (Testing for this will be amusing.) Anyone diagnosed as infertile, nope, you’re not married any more.

    And yeah, let’s see a heck of a lot more squawking about the immorality of divorce and how it should be outlawed among the Believers before anything is said about SSM among the non-faithful.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  27. Moosebreath says:

    @Ron Beasley:

    “In the bible marriage was essentially a business proposition – the women were sold much like a brood sow.”

    Not only that, but in the Bible, marriage relationships included bigamy (Jacob, Rachel and Leah, also see Samuel’s parents), having children with your wife’s servants (Abraham’s begetting of Ishmael, among others), and having hundreds of concubines (Solomon). Somehow, few of those advocating Biblical marriage seek to bring back these forms of marriage.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 4

  28. al-Ameda says:

    @rockmom:

    I’m old enough to remember when gay couples didn’t want to get married at all. That was for the breeders.

    I’m old enough to remember when people didn’t want the Kardashians to be breeders.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  29. Alanmt says:

    A sincere religious belief that homosexuality is immoral does not make a person bigoted. However, any action to impose thatreligious belief on others legislatively in denial of equal protection under the law is bigoted, and the people who are doing so are bigots.

    It is really that simple.

    Anyone who votes against gay marriage or any other form of gay equality is a bigot.

    Reasonable people now understand that homosexuality is a morally neutral trait. Those who choose to cede their reason to adherence to arbitrary religious doctrine are perfectly entitled to do so, within their minds and their churches. But when their animus moves to the political arena, they have earned the title of bigot and the social shaming that comes with it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  30. John D'Geek says:

    So many bigoted statements in this thread, so little time. Here’s a good example:

    @Alanmt:

    It is really that simple.

    Anyone who votes against gay marriage or any other form of gay equality is a bigot.

    So, without knowing even the slightest thing about me or my objections to SSM, you have pre-judged me as morally wanting. Congratulations — you’re a bigot.

    Listen, I’m a Geek — I know a bully when I see one. Most of the respondents on this thread are bullies — nothing more; nothing less. The term “bigot” is being used for the sole purpose of bullying a population to change their social response.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 19 Thumb down 8

  31. alanmt says:

    @John D’Geek:
    Let me make this precisely clear to you, one geek to another:

    There is nothing that anyone needs to know about you personally or about the nature of your objections to SSM to determine whether you are a bigot; the mere fact of your political action against it is sufficient to earn you that label, just the same as if you were acting politically to deny the legal state of marriage to catholics or interracial couples. There is no good reason for such civic or political acts. None.

    Perhaps, as a geek, you regret that fact that the one element of the population even you could look down on with impunity, the people on whose back’s even lowly you could bolster your own low social standing, no longer occupy that position of vulnerability, like some of the guys in my wargaming group used to think. Or perhaps you feel that the arbitrary doctrines of your religion ought to inform public policy, the United State’s long history of commitment to freedom of religion and separation of church and state notwithstanding, like many people who should have been paying better attention in 5th grade social studies. Or may be someone ingrained some visceral prejudice against gay people deep within you, like my father. It doesn’t matter. You are wrong. Your opposition is wrong. And yes, you should be ashamed. One would hope that one who associates himself with a bullied and downtrodden group would know better.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 12

  32. John D'Geek says:

    @alanmt: You’re prejudging again.

    I’m going to assume that you haven’t read my previous posts. My opposition to SSM is very similar to Tony W.’s (above) acquaintance/friend — I hold that government no longer has any right to be involved in Marriage. At all. For anyone.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3

  33. Ben says:

    @John D’Geek:

    Getting government out of the marriage business is a totally separate issue than what we are discussing right now. I might even agree with you.

    However, given the fact that government IS in the marriage business RIGHT NOW, being opposed to allowing ALL people to marry is wrong, period. Your stance is not a valid argument to oppose same sex marriage. It is a valid argument to oppose ALL marriage, which is only a tangentially related issue.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  34. Debbie says:

    Pot, meet kettle. I love hearing from all of the LGBT bigots who oppose consensual adult polygamy. If marriage is a basic civil right, then either everyone can get married or no one can. I am neither homosexual nor a polygamist, but if heterosexuals aren’t allowed to define what marriage is, then homosexuals shouldn’t be allowed to either. It should be defined by any and all parties involved who are capable of being party to a contract

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 5

  35. garretc says:

    Great Debbie, so you can get started convincing all the heterosexuals to abolish their government-provided marital benefits, but where does that leave us in the mean time? Oh, with a sizeable group of people (including my brother) who are lesser citizens in the eyes of the law based on a genetic characteristic. Which do we think will happen first: abolition of all marriage, or marriage equality for same sex couples?

    When did we qualify polygamy as something you’re born with? That doesn’t seem anything like a valid distinction? It’s illegal to turn someone down for a job because they were born with darker skin, but you can sure as hell tell the kid with gauges and tatoos that he’s not working for you based on nothing else.

    It’s really convenient that the slippery slope seems to start once you get past the part where the majority of people get to reap the benefits

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  36. Barry says:

    Doug: “You can say that they’re wrong, and I do, but to label them as bigots strikes me as hyperbolic and counterproductive.”

    Doug, you are switching arguments from ‘X is not a bigot’ to ‘calling X a bigot is counterproductive’. They are actually two separate arguments, and the second sorta concedes that the first is not correct.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  37. John D'Geek says:

    @garretc:

    When did we qualify polygamy as something you’re born with?

    A long time ago, actually. But while polygamy (particularly polygamy as practiced in the modern era by a significant portion of Americans*) can be very good for the female population, it’s very bad for the male population (I don’t know of any sociological studies on homosexual polygamy, but I can’t imagine that it would be any better for them).

    Back to OPs:

    Look, disagreeing with me is fine. In fact, respectful disagreement is how I learn the most. Calling me a bigot … well, if you’re trying to prove that the majority of Liberals and/or LGBT activists are arrogant hypocrites, your well on your way. Unfortunately for you, my uncle was a compassionate activist, so I’m well aware that they aren’t all that way.

    But, back to Doug’s point — I have decided that I will not longer discuss Gay Marriage on this board, precisely because of this issue. If you’re going to call me names and question my integrity, there is no discussion — it’s violence, pure and simple.

    Count me out.

    * The current “Sexual Liberation” is nothing more than a thinly disguised version of polygamy.

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  38. Alanmt says:

    @John D’Geek:

    Look, I agree that calling someone is a bigot is always disrespectful. But some people are bigots and, in the service of pursuing the American ideal of equality under the law, should be identified and addressed as such.

    Calling you a bigot only proves that I am disrespectful, not that I am arrogant or hypocritica, and not that the nature of the majority of either group you identify can be deduced from my personal actions. I am not a liberal, except in the classical sense, although I suppose I may qualify as a LGBT activist.It is not arrogant to use a word in a way that conveys the meaning that it holds. It may seem arrogant for me to make my pronouncement upon the moral neutrality of homosexuality to those who base their opposition on it to their understanding of the arbitrary pronouncement of a God that for anyone to question is automatically effrontery, but given that my view is based on developing human understanding and is consistent with the founding principles of this nation and their is based on faith and outdated and disproven assumptions, I would respectfully assert that the arrogance lies on the other side, while conceding that arrogance may be found both in those who are in the right and in those who are in the wrong.

    As far as hypocrisy is concerned, it is not a violation of the principle of tolerance to be intolerant of intolerance; that is tolerance acting in self-defense. Further, the people who you would paint this brush are not seeking to restrict actual rights – religious or otherwise – of those who are opposed to marriage equality, so there is no hypocrisy in that aspect of their efforts.

    I called you a bigot because you are one and deserve the label and the stigma that comes with it; not out of any desire to engage in gratuitous name-calling but in the hope that the harshness of the appellation may provoke a Sword of Shannara moment in which you truly examine your long-held assumptions on this issue in light of changing human understanding and what they mean about the goodness of your nature that you obviously value. I want you to be uncomfortable in your prejudice.

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  39. Al says:

    @John D’Geek:

    I’m sorry you don’t like being called a bigot. What would you call someone who wants to take away someone’s civil rights because of how they were born?

    If you’re going to call me names and question my integrity, there is no discussion — it’s violence, pure and simple.

    To quote someone much smarter than me: “Put on your big-boy pants and go speak your mind and, if that’s what pleases you, promote and patronize the media outlets that tell you what you want to hear. But if you start whinging about how the marketplace isn’t fair because your views are not valued highly enough, don’t expect to be taken seriously. If you start talking about a ‘right to freely voice thought without the fear of public scorn,’ expect nothing but contempt.

    For God’s sake, man. Summon an ounce of self-respect.”

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