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Legitimate Opposition to Same-Sex Marriage

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 “marriage.” 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.

(I have addressed this issue before, notably here and here.)

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.



  1. I suspect that Prop 8 will pass by a significant margin. Around town there are many many Yes on 8 lawnsigns, even on the lawns of people supporting local and congressional democrats. Not a single No on 8 anywhere to be seen. This town went for Kerry in 04, 51-49, and has grown more democrat as people migrate in from San Francisco. The prop 8 opponents really blew this with their relentless negative campaign.

    Comment by John in Dublin California — October 31, 2008 @ 4:26 pm - October 31, 2008

  2. Obama will attract black and Hispanic voters to the polls in record numbers. These voters are typically more socially conservative than their white counterparts.

    Comment by Ignatius — October 31, 2008 @ 4:54 pm - October 31, 2008

  3. 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.

    I’ve made this argument twice on here before but here I go again: For as long as humans have recorded their history, we have had prostitution and slavery. I could probably even put polygamy and polytheism on the list as well.

    The difference between opposite sex and same sex relationships can’t be easily explained unless one has been in both. But I wouldn’t trust a heterosexual person to educate me on a same sex relationship just like I wouldn’t trust a homosexual to be an expert on a heterosexual relationship.

    Comment by OutliciousTV — October 31, 2008 @ 6:25 pm - October 31, 2008

  4. Ignatius, sounds like you’re anticipating a post I have in mind attempting to forecast the outcome of 8.

    Comment by GayPatriotWest — October 31, 2008 @ 6:41 pm - October 31, 2008

  5. Did Obama, Democratic organizations, Black organizations, or Latino organizations put Prop 8 on the ballot? Or was it put on there as a result of the work of Republican ‘pro-family’ groups? And are posts on here ever going to take on other conservatives’ views of gays and citizenship? Or are they going to simply repeat ad absurdum that gay people are at fault and the problem? Speak to your fellow conservatives in this conservative language you speak, maybe?

    Comment by jimmy — October 31, 2008 @ 7:00 pm - October 31, 2008

  6. I have a question. I do not understand the latest anti-Prop 8 commercials when the announcer and or spokesman says that no matter what your view on marriage is, discrimination is not right. Huh? It appears that the whole statement is contradictory. It makes no sense. What the anti-Prop 8 forces need are people like yourself on the front line. You are correct that the whole equality angle is the wrong way to go. Prop 8 is going to pass and it is because of the court decision.

    Comment by Mark J. Goluskin — October 31, 2008 @ 7:53 pm - October 31, 2008

  7. And are posts on here ever going to take on other conservatives’ views of gays and citizenship? Or are they going to simply repeat ad absurdum that gay people are at fault and the problem?

    Lest we forget, jimmy and his fellow gay Democrats have no problem with constitutional amendments banning gay marriage when their fellow Democrats support and endorse them; in fact, they claim that said Democrats are “pro-gay” and “gay-supportive”.

    Aside from that bit of hypocrisy, people know that liberal gays like jimmy are antireligious bigots who hate and loathe anyone who dares to publicly express their faith and intends to sue them out of existence. They also know that liberal gays like jimmy believe it’s an “educational experience” to dress children up as sexual slaves and take them to places like the Folsom Street Fair to “show off”.

    In short, perhaps if gay liberals like jimmy didn’t use their sexual orientation as an excuse for their antisocial behavior, people wouldn’t believe that being gay automatically makes you a perverted lawsuit-happy bigot.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — October 31, 2008 @ 8:13 pm - October 31, 2008

  8. 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. …

    That could be very wrong. It may be what the white washed version of history admits to.

    Comment by sonicfrog — October 31, 2008 @ 8:22 pm - October 31, 2008

  9. As long as we’re considered equal in the eyes of the law…I frankly don’t care what anyone calls what my partner and I have together.
    If it helps the opposition accept it more easily, make up a new word.
    It’s JUST a word!
    We prefer partner, as in partnership. A coming together (under contract) to tie us together legally where our Rabbi joined us together religiously and spiritually. We take care of the joining of emotions, dedication and everything else.
    If “marriage” has gender specific bias attached to it…we need a new word anyway (as do heteros) because society has been redefining what we do and how we deal with what have been jobs in life and in our house that are traditionally defined by gender. People hurt us so much by having to stick labels (even if that label is marriage) on things.

    Comment by David — October 31, 2008 @ 8:30 pm - October 31, 2008

  10. #5: jimmy, it matter not whether or not Obama or other Dems put Prop 8 on the ballot. If it passes, the interesting thing will be that people from very blue state will pass it. There just aren’t enough conservatives in CA to pass it without a lot of help from Democrat voters (and I know that some conservatives will vote “no” on Prop 8).

    So, should it pass, what does that say about your fellow travelers on the left?

    It the courts had left marriage in the political arena, these amendments wouldn’t have been offered.

    Can anyone be surprised that citizens will react when some guy in a robe somewhere overturns centuries of law and tradition?

    Comment by SoCalRobert — October 31, 2008 @ 8:46 pm - October 31, 2008

  11. ‘responding to their arguments with respect for their opinions and understanding of their ideas.’ thank you sir.

    name calling just spells out ‘bully’ or even yet ‘insecure’. valuing differing points of view is truly a sign of intelligence and compassion. triats of one of the true activists that I admire, Jesus.

    some of the folk who have shared conversations over this topic have expressed the concerns of folk over the trampling of static, long-held views and traditions. mind you I love traditions, but traditional views change. for example in my short lifetime of 45 years, men have moved from role of primary bread winner to primary home/caregiver. women hold down jobs, family, partner and home. women are taking up the lead both at the pulpit and even are headed to the big ol’ White House.

    I believe that it is through the interconnected relationships of the big L (liberal folk) and the Big c (conservative) folk that make this country work. Checks and balances. Something that the great forefathers worked so very hard to embed into the Fabric of our nation. And the whole thing works because of folk like Dan, Leah and others here at gay patriot who are open for healthy discussion and dialogue, sans the back biting and the name calling.

    We all come from different places, have different experiences and our outlooks on life are constantly shaped by our interactions.

    With prop 8, although it may have not been timely or probably not the most productive, it has pushed the envelope. whether it passes or not, it has brought the Pink Elephant out to the middle of the room and has made people come to think about something that would have been put back, into a corner. I am sorry that some feel rushed and I know that accepting change is hard, but that is all part of the process.

    And all I have to say, it is for young folk like Yishai, that I would like to have a future of promise, hope and wonder.

    Comment by rusty — October 31, 2008 @ 10:32 pm - October 31, 2008

  12. I want to suggest that government ought to get out of the business of marriage altogether.

    Doing so allows churches to decide whom they will marry and how to define marriage for their congregation.

    Other churches that embrace gay marriage will continue to do so.

    Those that want a secular ceremony can appoint any person of their choice to facilitate.

    No symbolic ceremony will be considered legal.

    Instead, legal contracts will take the place of such, thereby eliminating all discrimination; eliminating all issues of “slippery slope marrying your goat” arguments; eliminates defining marriage and imposing discrimination into the Constitution (should be removed); eliminate all tax credits.

    This will allow private companies to decide how they wish to extend benefits.

    Government will allow individuals to purchase their own insurance outside of their government job and will be allotted a stipend by which to do so.

    Social Security death benefits go to whomever the legal contract has dedicated inheritance; it cares nothing of gender or relationship.

    Other issues would be decided upon based on the most objective and gender blind solutions.

    Comment by Gregory - New York, NY — November 1, 2008 @ 12:14 am - November 1, 2008

  13. I don’t like to be crude but frankly, Peggy is pseudo-intellectual pain in the backside and needs to buzz off . . . or find herself a home on MSNBC.

    Comment by rplat — November 1, 2008 @ 10:25 am - November 1, 2008

  14. About a month ago, WSJ had an article about how the Dems in CA are worried, that great numbers will vote for the messiah – at the same time they will vote no on 8. The Black and Hispanic communities do not favor gay rights. In many cases they are simply homophobic. Sure they’ll try and spin this as a Republican victory – that will be hard to do seeing that the majority of Californians will vote for obama.

    When 8 passes, I’m hoping lesson to be learned as that the gay community has a lot more educating to do, not demonizing.
    I’ll keep you posted, I’m friends with the head of PFLAG here in LA. (never in a million years would I join that liberal, Chirstian hating organization, and I’m not Christian).
    Early on she told me I have to convince everyone to vote no on 8. I told her I will vote no, but I have too much respect for the other side that I will convince no on else to change their mind.
    Later she came back and said, tell people who are unsure simply not to vote. I thought that was a much healthier attitude, but judging by the latest ads, that approach was also rejected.

    I must say I was very impressed the other day when another strong No on 8 person came out against destroying yard signs of the Yes on 8 people. She said something that really made me respect her – we have free speech in this country. What a breath of fresh air.

    Comment by Leah — November 1, 2008 @ 11:27 am - November 1, 2008

  15. EVERY AMERICAN should vote NO on any attempt to involve itself with public policy such as this issue

    Mob mentality is not a good thing; “majority rules” is mob mentality

    “Don’t take refuge is the false security of consensus”

    Every public policy legislation enacted ought to be upholding the Constitutional freedom of the individual to make a personal choice toward life & pursuit of happiness, regardless of whether or not someone has dislike or distaste for another’s behavior; if it’s not infringing on your freedom to act in your own self-interest, then it’s okay

    Morals and Values are subjective and are derived from various sources to each person

    Implying that they come from a god or religion, inherently discriminates against those who hold no such perspective about a god or a religion

    Further, it starts to deem ownership to a “majority” religious viewpoint and our First Amendment protects the individual from the mob in this situation

    ALL AMERICANS, regardless of party or religion, should be voting NO on these types of amendments in order to uphold the Constitution and individual freedom not engage in discriminatory behavior. Further, do not make a lightning rod for your own backs, if and when “majority” ideology comes after your behaviors and viewpoints at some future date

    To whom or what will you turn when you have set forth a precedent of infringing on others civil liberties because your personal subjective philosophy of deriving values & morals infringed on others in the past

    Have we not learned this lesson in our history already?

    Comment by scooter — November 2, 2008 @ 7:33 am - November 2, 2008

  16. […] In the two best books published in recent years on marriage, only David Blankenhorn coming out against gay marriage in The Future of Marriage addresses gender difference.  Jonathan Rauch, in his excellent book making the case for gay marriage, brings it up only to dismiss it. […]

    Pingback by GayPatriot » Once again, on Gender Difference & Marriage — November 17, 2008 @ 8:06 pm - November 17, 2008

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