Watching the Yes on Prop 8 ads has been painful. It’s painful because the arguments tossed about are so absurd that I’m baffeled as to why this is even close. How on earth can it be?
It’s close because of the underlying message. This is the real, unspoken argument made by the Yes of 8 campaign:
I think he means to say that if same-sex marriage remains a legal right, enshrined in state constitutional law, then homosexual relationships will come to be regarded as normal and good, and, consequently, anyone who objects to them will start to look like a bigot who should not be permitted to have his way. Thus, in order to preserve the right to discriminate against gay people and to keep schools from teaching children that gay couples are perfectly nice and so forth — all things Broyles wants — it’s important to outlaw gay marriage, because it will be a powerful force in changing perceptions about gay people and those who think gay people are doing something terribly wrong.
Bingo. It all goes back to that. Each measure that has anything to do with gay rights is never actually argued on the merits of the issues. Instead, each is a referendum on whether homosexuality is moral or immoral. As California Congressional candidate Tom McClintock, Prop 8 supporter said yesterday: “Lincoln asked, ‘If you call a tail a leg, how many legs has a dog? The answer is four. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it one. And calling a homosexual partnership a marriage doesn’t make it one.”
That’s the real argument…homosexual relationships should never be considered as good as heteroseuxal ones. Period.
As expected, Andrew Sullivan offers the best response. He nails my own thoughts:
One reason I favor marriage equality is that the simple public fact of gay married couples will in itself teach something about the reality of gay people and our lives – without any school or parent having to say a thing. It gives us a way to talk about gay couples for the first time in human history without talking about sex acts.
To give one simple example. I have never sat down with my niece and nephew, who are nine and twelve, and told them I am gay. But they were both in our wedding, along with my husband’s family’s children. They see me and Aaron for who we are – all of us, defined by all we do and are. They know we are gay but we never had to say so. And there is nothing more moving than hearing my nephew talk of “uncle Aaron.”
Exactly. I will argue to the death that gay marriage should be legal on purely political grounds. But, I’d be lying if I said that was enough. It means much more than just getting the legal privileges of marriage.
The real truth is that I DO want more than that. I DO want to feel like I am on completely equal footing with every other couple. I DO want children to grow up without being taught that I am perverse and dangerous. I DO want my fellow Americans to believe that my relationship is just as important to our nation’s stability as theirs. This does go beyond politics.
That is the real Prop 8 argument.