It was not the arguments of pro-choice advocates which caused me to shift my view on abortion, no longer favoring laws banning the practice out right. I found it all too easy to tune out the case they made as all too many dismissed the arguments of their pro-life adversaries as “anti-woman” or “rooted in the past.” Or some such. Ironic that they’d label a movement overwhelmingly female as “anti-woman.” Guess those pro-life women are really, to borrow an expression from Gloria Steinem, just plain ol’ “female impersonators“.
It was in talking to women who had abortions that I began to understand the complexity of the issue.
And so it was with gay marriage, at least as it relates to my vote on popular initiatives in the Golden State. As I have expressed frequently on this blog, I’m pretty ambivalent on the issue, content with domestic partnerships, not beholden to having the state call our unions “marriage.”
Ever since the proposition which would come to be numbered as 8 qualified for the California ballot, I expected I would vote against it. While opposed to the state Supreme Court’s decision mandating state recognition of same-sex unions, I also did not think it appropriate for a state constitution to define marriage. In large part because of my ambivalence on the issue and the mean-spirited attacks of gay marriage advocates on the Proposition’s proponents, I did waver in the last few weeks before the election.
My resolve to defeat the proposition strengthened when I saw two friends of mine together, lesbians who gotten married in the window between the court’s decision and Election Day. I knew from following their example (and that of another lesbian couple) that they understood what marriage meant. I voted, “No.”
In many ways, the attacks of the gay marriage advocates on their adversaries resemble those of the pro-choice zealots. Each side bristles at any expression of opposition to their cause Via Mark Tapscott, we learn of another example of pro-choice zealotry. The National Organization for Women (NOW) is “mounting a campaign to force . . . off the air” a TV spot slated for the Super Bowl telecast where University of Florida football star Tim Tebow and his mother talk “about the fact he might have been aborted had she listened to a doctor who encouraged her to have an abortion due to complications in her pregnancy.”
They are, says Tapscott, paraphrasing CBS News legal reporter Jan Crawford, “trying to stifle debate on an important issue“.
Sounds a lot like gay marriage zealots who have “hounded, threatened,blacklisted, beaten, and forced to resign from their jobs” their adversaries for the mere crime of “exercising their political free speech.”
On social issues, some on the left betray an incredible intolerance of open debate. And that’s unfortunate. Had pro-abortion zealots been more tolerant of their ideological adversaries, they might have seen me shift my views long before I actually did. How many others stand where I once stood, open to persuasion if respect is shown for ideological adversaries and the right argument is made?
And how many people might flip on gay marriage in similar circumstances.