Yesterday, I linked a video showing one pretty crazy proponent of Proposition 8. Opponents of the initiative would be wise to focus on anti-gay marriage zealots like this guy in order to defeat the initiative.
Yet, this focus won’t help us understand many people who have legitimate concerns about gay marriage. Nor convince them to change their minds. As one reader commented yesterday:
Let gay couple have all the same rights (which they do, therefore it is not discriminatory) but don’t call it â€œmarriage.â€ Don’t call it marriage because it is not the same thing. On one hand it is same sex and on the other it is opposite sex. . . . [T]here are fundamental differences between men and women. The fundamental difference between gay couples and heterosexual couples is the gender make up of the couple.
For as long as humans have recorded their history, we have defined marriage, to paraphrase Rick Warren, as a contract between a man and a woman. Yet, despite that history, even Jonathan Rauch, perhaps the most thoughtful advocate of gay marriage, dismisses those who raise the gender difference argument as “reducing marriage in its very essence, to–forgive my bluntness–main-boinks women.”
Jonathan’s words notwithstanding, for millennia, gender difference has been the essence of marriage. And that is why so many people are troubled by calling our unions marriage. It’s too bad that all too many advocates of gay marriage assume all opponents are as narrow as the nut in that video. Such hateful opponents allow them all to easily to dismiss legitimate opposition to this rather significant social change.
While we should ignore (save to mock) such silly spokesmen, we need to acknowledge the legitimate concerns of those opposed to same-sex marriage. After all, those favoring same-sex marriage are the ones proposing to change the longstanding definition of marriage; they should have ready responses to those defending the status quo.
But, too many advocates of gay marriage want to pass the buck and let judges decide the issue for us when the burden should on those pushing the change. We need show why such a change is good for society.
Of course, we all want our opponents to be like the nut in that video. While he may be a spokesman for the “Yes on 8” movement, he does not speak for all opponents of gay marriage. We need recognize the sincere opposition of many less narrow opponents, responding to their arguments with respect for their opinions and understanding of their ideas.