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A Fool’s Hope for a Civil Discussion of Gay Marriage?

Thanks to Glenn, I just discovered another gay blogger who holds views on Carrie Prejean nearly identical to my own.  It seems that we gay folks who favor civil discourse on gay marriage are a minority among outspoken gays.  Most of our peers alas remain silent as vocal gay activists and celebrities slur gay marriage opponents instead of rationally responding to their opposition.

Australia’s Garth Godsman looks at how various gay people and their allies in the left-wing media have responded to Miss Prejean’s simple answer that “believes that marriage is between a man and a woman” and asks:

What happened to being able to firstly argue a case intelligently and rationally and then, secondly, be prepared to agree to disagree while respecting another person’s honestly held opinion?

He’s much less sparing in his criticism than I might be (closer in style to my co-blogger  🙂  ).  He too sees the hypocrisy of the left in their hysterical reaction to Miss Prejean while excusing her fellow gay marriage opponent who sits in the White House:

But, let’s face it, Prejean is a much smaller and easier target for the hatred of Hilton and others.

The organisers of the Miss California pageant fell over themselves to piously declare that “religious beliefs have no place in politics in the Miss California family.”

Does anyone imagine they’d have said the same if she’s espoused support for gay marriage because of her religious beliefs?

But as has been observed repeatedly about the left, tolerance for them is very much a one-way street.

Why haven’t more gay people join Garth, Japhy Grant and myself in standing up to those who would attack Miss Prejean personally instead of take issue with her rationally?   Instead the publicity she generated by stating her opinion simply and civilly to explain why states should recognize same-sex civil marriages, they’re using it to make themselves look mean.  And petty.  

They’d rather insult their adversaries than make their case.

But, I’ve said this before.  I look forward to the day when I no longer have to repeat this point.  But, that would mean that all too many on the left would have to change their very manner of relating to their ideological and philosophical adversaries.

A fool’s hope perhaps, but a hope nonetheless.



  1. I don’t think it’s possible to have a civil conversation with a lefty (there are exceptions – can’t think of one right now).

    I am convinced that there are two factions on the “pro gay marriage” side: those of us who believe that there is case to be made that SSM would be of benefit to society (subscribe to Jonathan Rauch’s views) and those who see gay marriage as nothing more than a milepost on the way to destroying what they believe is an oppressive (western, traditional) culture.

    To them, gay marriage is no more than a trophy to hang on the wall along with other deconstructed institutions and people who they thing get in the way.

    Unfortunately, they’re a vocal (and vicious) mob that gets all the attention.

    Comment by SoCalRobert — May 10, 2009 @ 7:37 pm - May 10, 2009

  2. Thoughtful…


    Comment by Americaneocon — May 10, 2009 @ 7:59 pm - May 10, 2009

  3. as nothing more than a milepost on the way to destroying what they believe is an oppressive (western, traditional) culture.

    To them, gay marriage is no more than a trophy to hang on the wall along with other deconstructed institutions and people who they thing get in the way.

    Cleverly spun into a God, big government, court given right.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — May 10, 2009 @ 8:12 pm - May 10, 2009

  4. The only person I’ve dealt with, who held left leaning views, that could argue correctly, has gone from seeing reason in gun control laws like his native Canada to owning a rifle and becoming more libertarian in his views on the subject.
    therein lay the issue. If they have reason, they end up not only seeing your side of the argument, but then can be swayed by your points. Then they may well change their minds.
    The left cannot allow this, so they simply attack. Some on the right have this technique down as well.

    Comment by JP — May 10, 2009 @ 9:11 pm - May 10, 2009

  5. On a personal note, last Friday I had the pleasure of being condescended to by a straight friend of many years. He let me in on “how gay people should feel about Obama.” He was shocked that I laughed right in his face.

    Leftish concern for the poor and the downtrodden always had strong elements of elitism to it – a sort of dark noblesse oblige. Never had it directed at me before, though.

    Pretty scary.

    Best wishes,

    Comment by MFS — May 10, 2009 @ 9:26 pm - May 10, 2009

  6. One of the reasons civil discussions don’t occur is simply logistics. Media outlets cater to their audiences, their preachers to their choirs and seldom are we aware of venues where both sides can present their views openly, without interruption. As technology progresses, the media have become more niche-marketed and although it has been predicted ad nauseum that we would benefit from the coming greater discourse, the opposite has happened. We are increasingly insulated from one another — willingly and comfortably so. With web video, instant message utilities, chat rooms, and other technologies, there exist the tools needed for exactly the kind of format needed to bring about a d’etente. I believe there is an opportunity to fill a need.

    I agree with JP. Those who would appreciate an honest, civil discussion or debate are those who think through issues and consider their opponents claims, assuming those that hold them do so by a rationale that is at some level acceptable to a thinking person. This is a premise that certain people cannot afford for fear of losing the debate and losing willing, unthinking foot soldiers. To even concede a conservative opponent to same-sex marriage is a thinking person, honestly concerned for society who is approaching the issue with seriousness simply isn’t allowable and an idea that is possibly dangerous; with time, such a fearful person becomes the caricature they claim is their opponent: the hate-filled bigot.

    Comment by Ignatius — May 10, 2009 @ 9:42 pm - May 10, 2009

  7. I think there’s a bit of a mistake on your part if you think a snitty gossip columnist asking a question to a beauty contestant forms the basis for a civil discourse. Having sides on an issue discuss in a public sure isn’t what it used to be.

    I yearn for a debate much like the once between John Briggs and Harvey Milk (along with the fantastic Sally Gearhart). I’m convinced this helped in the defeat of the Briggs initiative. Milk and Gearhart provided facts and figures over and over to dispute Briggs’ ludicrous claims about gay teachers. like Briggs, anti-gay marriage advocates have the same statements that defy logic for their reasons. You constantly whack here on how gay marriage proponents won’t debate, but I sure don’t see gay marriage opponents clamoring to put themselves in the same position.

    Comment by Kevin — May 10, 2009 @ 9:50 pm - May 10, 2009

  8. but I sure don’t see gay marriage opponents clamoring to put themselves in the same position.

    Sorry, doesn’t the burden fall to those demanding a change?

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — May 11, 2009 @ 3:41 am - May 11, 2009

  9. I think that the best way of looking at this issue is to recognize that Perez Hilton and his type are the ones who are projecting their own bigotry onto others.

    I have noticed from reading this blog and the other gay members that those who are the most uncomfortable with themselves are the ones who project these traits onto straight people.

    What was really gross about Hilton was the language that he used against a woman. What is really hypocritical is the reaction of the other the left and in particular the feminists who, instead of having a go at Hilton for his foul language and misogynist leanings joined in persecuting this young woman for expressing her views.

    She did not bring religion into it, she stated her views and that is not stating a religious belief or even showing hate or bigotry.

    Comment by thestraightaussie — May 11, 2009 @ 5:57 am - May 11, 2009

  10. Just dealing in stereotypes here, but……..

    Carrie Prejean is painted as the typical beauty pageant bimbo who didn’t mouth the safe kind of apple pie answer to a political question. Even worse, she is a Christian with implants.

    Perez Hilton is the self promoting gossip maven who survives as a leech and a tattler. He sees himself as a master of dishing dirt and is actually a bit jealous that the doesn’t have implants.

    That Prejean has aroused interest based on anything whatsoever to do with Perez Hilton is a tribute to Donald Trump who has the instincts of P. T. Barnum. He will keep Perez stoked up as long as the publicity flows. Freaks are good for show business. Especially freaks who can’t differentiate between acting the fool and being a fool. Court jesters are like that.

    Comment by heliotrope — May 11, 2009 @ 9:17 am - May 11, 2009

  11. Funny how the same feminists who decry beauty pageants as being stereotypical and degrading to women are being silent as the whole leftist world piles on Carrie Prejean.

    Of course, these were the same women who stood by in silence while Sarah Palin was given the Hitler treatment by the Drool-By Media.

    Hypocrisy? What blatant liberal hypocrisy?

    Peter H.

    Comment by Peter Hughes — May 11, 2009 @ 11:13 am - May 11, 2009

  12. Civil discourse is pretty much impossible if one uses the word “marriage”. You find that if one uses the term “Civil Union” most of the resistance goes away.

    The word Marriage is deeply imbedded in Church Doctrine. Look at what is happening in Sweden. Lutheran Churches will shortly be forced to host Same-Sex Marriage ceremonies or face legal action.

    This is the primary reason for the resistance to “Gay Marriage”–the much “valued” division between Church and State is destroyed when Church doctrine is redefined by law. It defies logic when the ACLU can use “strong boundaries between Church and State” in one court room while demanding the equivalent of a “State Religion” in another.

    The insistence of using the word Marriage has been the result of an unholy alliance between those who wish to continue the ban–insurance companies and smaller self-insured government entities; and those who would attack the Churches themselves. Neither of these groups care a whit about the actual merits of the legal and medical issues with respect to gay couples.

    Intent means absolutely nothing. Seeing all Churches as a cash-cow to be milked in court because they refuse to host a Same-Sex Marriage Ceremony is another. That is why trial lawyers are in favor of a law–it’s about the money stupid!

    The irony, of course, is that a Church Wedding means nothing in the eyes of the law without a “marriage license” from a civil court. You can call that document anything you want! It is the only thing that means anything in the eyes of the court for the purposes which are really important in the debate.

    Comment by Eric — May 11, 2009 @ 11:43 am - May 11, 2009

  13. Most the gays I know do not like civil discourse on anything for no reason other than they are pathological snobs. Snobery drives their discourse and their hatred for most things American (although everything they hold dear actually derives from America, from the porn they watch to those rainbow flags they wave so proudly, just to name a few). Snobs tend to think their way is the only way, and everyone else is simple minded trash. God forbid you disagree with a leftists on the most minute detail, they disregard you as hopelessly right wing.

    Comment by Mark — May 11, 2009 @ 8:06 pm - May 11, 2009

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