Six Serious Questions We Want to Ask Opponents of Same-Sex Marriage

Categories: Controversy

rick_santorum_sweater_vest.jpg
This is from Rick Santorum's real website. Seriously.
​Hi, Opponents of Same-Sex Marriage!

I suppose you're wondering why we've invited you here today, the day Washington state joined the world of the future by approving the kinds of weddings you don't care for. It's not to denounce you, or to make fun of you, or to ask you to explain the head-spinning contradiction that is Rick Santorum's assertion that the overturn of Prop. 8 robbed seven million Californians of their rights.

No, today we just want to try to understand you. Here's six serious questions we've been dying to ask you. Are you willing to think them through? Would you like a beverage before we start, perhaps a Mountain Dew or a Michelob Ultra? (JUST KIDDING!)

Question One: In what previous civil rights struggles would you have been proud to be part of the majority denying rights to a minority? Please list these chronologically.

Question Two: Have you ever met a really old white person who speaks with warmth about segregation? Maybe one who has a good, decent heart, for the most part, but still out of habit or fear or perhaps something darker casually uses racial slurs or -- like one nice old fellow I know -- complains that "colored"s shouldn't be quarterbacks or shouldn't live in a particular neighborhood?

Do you ever fear that, to your kids and grandchildren, you might one day sound like that, too?

Question Three: The parents of opposite-sex couples are often eager -- and even pushy -- to get those couples married and official. That's just how American parents are. Now, imagine that a friend or coworker is a parent to a gay American with a longtime partner. And let's say that, over coffee, that friend or coworker says, "Maybe now that Prop. 8 has been struck down, my child will finally get around to tying the knot." How would you tell your friend that his or her child should not be allowed this right?

Question Four: Since no law will ever keep same-sex couples from enjoying fulfilling, life-long relationships with each other, in public and in private, what real and demonstrable harm would allowing those couples to marry pose to you or your community?

Question Five: Have you ever read the Serenity Prayer? Seriously, resisting the inevitable is a real waste of energy.

Question Six: For several years I taught college English in the county that The New Republic once deemed the homeschool capital of America. I encouraged my students to argue their beliefs with force and pride, even if I didn't share those beliefs. But, as the years passed, I began recommending that they not write papers arguing against gay marriage. (I never forbade them, of course.)

The problem was that even the brightest students made a hash of these. The key to persuasive writing is convincing others that a truth that you might hold is one that they might come to find true, too. To accomplish this, a writer must rely on logical reasoning and empirical evidence from outside his or her own personal stock of beliefs. In most of these papers, the students asserted that the institution of marriage would suffer irreparable damage if it were opened to same sex couples. ... and then they would flounder for paragraphs, finding no real-world evidence and relying instead upon slippery-slope nonsense and chatter from their own private worlds: Here's what a grandfather believed, or here's what a preacher insists, or here's the romantic idea of marriage that kids grow up with, and wouldn't it be sad if it changed?

In short, they couldn't mount a serious argument.

That eventually became an assignment. If a student said, "I want to write my paper about why gay marriage is bad!" I would insist that he or she first produce an outline with at least three strong pieces of evidence.

Many tried, including A students. And none ever came up with even one.

So, here's my last question: If you were in an entry-level composition course, and you had to write a persuasive paper arguing that gay marriage would harm America, could you craft arguments that would convince an impartial outsider who doesn't share your exact set of beliefs and assumptions? And if that paper were to sit in your attic for fifty years, until a descendant discovered it, would those arguments still have power -- or would you look hopelessly of your time?

Follow Alan Scherstuhl on Twitter at @studiesincrap, SF Weekly's Exhibitionist blog at @ExhibitionistSF and like us on Facebook.



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24 comments
stratford escorts
stratford escorts

As per my opinion Same-Sex Marriage is the good think but it create many problems in future. Now the government granted the permission for the gay and lesbian marriage but i am do not agree with the government decision.

909Jeff
909Jeff

Your whole argument is based on the premise that Homosexuals are in fact conferred the status of "minority".  Are they? It seems to me that they granted themselves minority status because its convenient to their argument. I wasn't aware that living a particular lifestyle made you a minority?  So what is a Black, Latino, or Asian Homosexual?  

Your questions are well intention but rife with logical fallacies.

Sally
Sally

----, is she? One of my friends told me he saw Kim Kardashian  has a personal profile at an tallconnect site called------

'TallLoving. С' o M--Many sexy photos were found on that site last week! I can't beleive it! What happened?

My67falcon
My67falcon

Question One: In what previous civil rightsstruggles would you have been proud to be part of the majority denying rightsto a minority? Please list these chronologically.

 

Answer One: Gay marriageis in no way part of civil rights as it is defined by the constitution.Homosexuality in itself cannot be compared to the civil rights movement.  Ancestry, skin color and genetics are a farcry from a lifestyle choice.

 

 Question Two: Haveyou ever met a really old white person who speaks with warmth about segregation?Maybe one who has a good, decent heart, for the most part, but still out ofhabit or fear or perhaps something darker casually uses racial slurs or -- likeone nice old fellow I know -- complains that "colored"s shouldn't bequarterbacks or shouldn't live in a particular neighborhood?

Do you ever fear that, to your kids and grandchildren, you might one daysound like that, too?

Answer Two:  Again, you try to compare a group ofpeople that are connected genetically to a group that are connected by choice.Also you should tuck that (s) in the word coloreds back into its quotationmarks. Kind of makes you look stupid.

Question Three: The parents of opposite-sex couples areoften eager -- and even pushy -- to get those couples married and official. That'sjust how American parents are. Now, imagine that a friend or coworker is aparent to a gay American with a longtime partner. And let's say that, overcoffee, that friend or coworker says, "Maybe now that Prop. 8 has beenstruck down, my child will finally get around to tying the knot." Howwould you tell your friend that his or her child should not be allowed thisright?

Answer Three: The answer to thisis a simple one.  Marriage should not norshall it ever be defined by the federal government. States hold the right toregulate marriages within their boundaries and defining them is theirresponsibility. If the state voted and marriage between same sex partners was notrecognized then it is the voice of those states citizens and should be upheldUNLESS it is found to be unconstitutional or illegal. Neither is the case inthis matter.  U.S. District Judge Vaughn struckdown Prop. 8 claiming it “tramples on therights of gay and lesbian couples, has no social justification and isunconstitutional”.  No rights weretrampled on, nor is the act of marriage regulated by the U.S. Constitution. Asfor social justification, Judge Vaughn based that decision on a perceivedsocial justice for a group linked by a decision to have cohabitationcommitments with a member of the same sex. That in itself is not a definitionof social justification.  If the lawstated that same sex couples could not live together or have relationships itwould be a case for social justification.

Question Four: Since no law will ever keep same-sex couplesfrom enjoying fulfilling, life-long relationships with each other, in publicand in private, what real and demonstrable harm would allowing those couples tomarry pose to you or your community?

Answer Four:  Again, it is up to each state to definemarriage. Your state did and then the rights of the voters and the processitself was deemed invalid by Judge Vaughn thus making the legal procedures todefine anything a moot point as it can illegally be taken away at the federallevel with the only justification being a misinterpretation of the Constitution and personal beliefs.

Question Five: Have you ever read the Serenity Prayer?Seriously, resisting the inevitable is a real waste of energy.

Answer Five: Is this the line youare referring to?

“Taking, as He did, this sinful worldas it is, not as I would have it”

Be carful with the quotes you use. It could be used against you.

Question Six: For several years I taught college English inthe county that The New Republic once deemed the homeschool capital of America. Iencouraged my students to argue their beliefs with force and pride, even if Ididn't share those beliefs. But, as the years passed, I began recommending thatthey not write papers arguing against gay marriage. (I never forbade them, ofcourse.)

The problem was that even the brightest students made a hash of these. Thekey to persuasive writing is convincing others that a truth that you might holdis one that they might come to find true, too. To accomplish this, a writermust rely on logical reasoning and empirical evidence from outside his or herown personal stock of beliefs. In most of these papers, the students assertedthat the institution of marriage would suffer irreparable damage if it wereopened to same sex couples. ... and then they would flounder for paragraphs,finding no real-world evidence and relying instead upon slippery-slope nonsenseand chatter from their own private worlds: Here's what a grandfather believed,or here's what a preacher insists, or here's the romantic idea of marriage thatkids grow up with, and wouldn't it be sad if it changed?

In short, they couldn't mount a serious argument.

That eventually became an assignment. If a student said, "I want towrite my paper about why gay marriage is bad!" I would insist that he orshe first produce an outline with at least three strong pieces of evidence.

Many tried, including A students. And none ever came up with even one.

So, here's my last question: If you were in an entry-level compositioncourse, and you had to write a persuasive paper arguing that gay marriage wouldharm America, could you craft arguments that would convince an impartialoutsider who doesn't share your exact set of beliefs and assumptions? And ifthat paper were to sit in your attic for fifty years, until a descendantdiscovered it, would those arguments still have power -- or would you lookhopelessly of your time?

Answer six:

For any teacher to “suggest” a student not argue against a belief that theteacher held is a sure sign of a poor teacher. That being said I offer this asmy beliefs on the subject of same sex marriage, the U.S. Constitution and wherewe are heading as a country.

The federal government has these rights:

Print money

Declare war

Establish an army and navy

Enter into treaties with foreign governments

Regulate commerce between states and international trade

Establish post offices and issue postage

Make laws necessary to enforce the Constitution

It is each states right to produce laws for their state that do not fallinto these categories. Marriage is a binding contract that is validated by thestate in which it is enacted. This validation (marriage license) is thenprotected by the Constitution.

Article 4:

Full Faith and Credit shall be givenin each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of everyother State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in whichsuch Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.

If a state recognizes the union of same sex couples the all states mustrecognize the union. That in itself does not mean that all states should berequired to grant such a union. That is up to the people of each state.

Most states (perhaps all) prohibit marriage between brothers and sisters,parent and child and between aunt or uncle and niece or nephew.  Individuals who would like to see these typeof marriages made legal are in the minority. Should they be seen as anoppressed group whose civil rights are being trampled on?  If they are adults why should they not havethe same rights as you or I?

These types of marriages are almost universally seen as wrong and wegenerally have no issue with denying a marriage based on those beliefs but youfail to see that to some the idea of same sex marriage is just as intolerable.As we move into the future I’m sure more and more people will care less ifsomeone of the same sex wishes to marry and the laws will slowly change butuntil that happens it is the right of the state to uphold the legal definitionof marriage for that state and not the job of the federal government.

 

 

 

 

  

Mario Vilas
Mario Vilas

If it makes you happier, compare segregating homosexuals to segregating people of a particular religion. It's also not genetic or racial but a lifestyle choice. Thus being against same sex marriages is akin to being against muslim marriage.

My67falcon
My67falcon

You are kidding right? I'm not against you marrying someone of the same sex.I answered each question with facts. None of them said I excluded gays frommarrying. I simply pointed out that the 6 question asked by the author of thearticle are at the very least weak arguments for the case of same sex marriages.

 

My67falcon
My67falcon

Mcjames53

My “concerns” in this matter are that state rights are beinginvalidated.  Californians voted to not allow same sex marriage. That should be the law in Californiauntil enough voters can stand up for what they believe and the law is changed.If or when that happens and if The Honorable Judge Whomever overrules the rightto same sex marriages after the people voted for it I will speak out about thatdecision.

 

“OH, and for this little shot you took at the author:

"Also you should tuck that (s) in the word coloredsback into its quotation marks. Kind of makes you look stupid."

Pointing out slips of the fingers and then making pettyinsults doesn't make you look morally superior; it makes you look like a kid.”

 

In no way was attempting to look “morally superior”. I’m noteven sure how that even correlates to a sense of superior morality.  If you see it as childish then that is fine.It was a jab taken with the same insensitivity as the author has shown againstsweater vests.  Long live the sweater vest.  

Mcjames53
Mcjames53

Do you bother to read through what you're written or do you merely spout whatever comes off the top of your head? Let's analyze a particularly silly statement you made: 

"What I did say was that homosexuality is a lifestyle choice and it is. One may feel attracted to aperson of the same sex but it is their choice to act upon those feelings just as it is a choice to act upon heterosexual feelings. That is vastly different that being a black man or woman in 1960’s Alabama."

No, it's not a lifestyle choice. A lifestyle isn't merely in the actions; it consists of one's ability to live and thrive. You may think that it's just as easy to give up on all your dreams of living as a normal citizen in favor of carrying out your life in secrecy, but for the rest of us, that would be an unnecessary Hell. However, as for your assertion that it should be the State's decision, I believe I may agree with that. But by the tone in your writing and your incredibly defensive attitude towards your naysayers, it seems like you have absolutely no concern for the current majority of states that proclaim that gay marriage is illegal. If you are truly as invested as freedom and liberty as you say you are, then you should feel a pang of anger when governments will not allow so many people to have the rights they deserve. America is supposed to be a land of tolerance and freedom. Make your point about state's rights, but perhaps it may also do you good to mention the tyranny displayed every day on this subject. 

OH, and for this little shot you took at the author: "Also you should tuck that (s) in the word coloreds back into its quotation marks. Kind of makes you look stupid."

Pointing out slips of the fingers and then making petty insults doesn't make you look morally superior; it makes you look like a kid. 

dcinsider
dcinsider

This juvenile rant proves the point even better than the article.  Opponents of marriage equality lack any rational basis to support their bigotry because bigotry cannot survive intellectual discourse.  Arguing that a "lifestyle choice" differs from an innate biological trait is a display of stunning ignorance.  At what point did you decide to become a heterosexual after you rejected the choice to be a homosexual?  The answer is you never chose to be heterosexual any more than I chose to be homosexual. However, even if homosexuality were not an innate biological trait, and, like religion, was an individual choice, it makes no rational sense to deny gays and lesbians access to civil marriage under our Constitution.  You simply cannot deny equal protection of the laws against a group of your fellow citizens because you happen to hold a particular religious belief that tells you that these citizens are sinners. There is nothing in the equal protection clause that exempts members of religious cults like Christians from the prohibitions against inequality.  Your religious beliefs, while perhaps strongly held, are not the laws by which this country is governed.  Thus they are irrelevant to the discourse.  Once removed from the discussion, there is nothing left for you to argue other than your hatred and bigotry, which is precisely what the equal protection clause was designed to fight against.    

The stupid, the ignorant, and the bigoted are protected by the First Amendment to shout their hatred from the highest mountain. However, they are controlled by the 14th Amendment from turning their hatred and bigotry into the laws by which we are governed. So feel free to rant, its your right as an American, but if I believed in God, I would thank her for giving us the common sense to have passed the 14th Amendment, and ensure that the very worst elements of our diverse society, the vile, the bigoted, and the ignorant, cannot impose their will on the most disfavored among us.

My67falcon
My67falcon

First of all at no point did I say I was against same sex marriage. I couldnot care less if two men or women want to get married. What I did say and showis that the rights of the states are being trampled upon.

I also showed that to compare the civil rights movement is not comparable toanything within this article. You say “Arguing that a "lifestylechoice" differs from an innate biological trait is a display ofstunning ignorance.” I never said anything like that. What I did say was thathomosexuality is a lifestyle choice and it is. One may feel attracted to aperson of the same sex but it is their choice to act upon those feelings justas it is a choice to act upon heterosexual feelings. That is vastly different thatbeing a black man or woman in 1960’s Alabama.

 I never at any point said anythingabout denying “equal protection of the laws against a group of your fellowcitizens because you happen to hold a particular religious beliefthat tells you that these citizens are sinners”. What I did say was “It is eachstates right to produce laws for their state that do not fall into thesecategories. Marriage is a binding contract that is validated by the state inwhich it is enacted. This validation (marriage license) is then protected bythe Constitution”.  If you marry to thesame sex in a state that legally recognizes same sex marriages then you should berecognized as married in ALL STATES. That is the law of the land protecting yourrights as a legally married couple and is covered in the Constitution.  If the state you live in does not recognizessame sex marriages then you, by law, cannot marry in THAT STATE. The answer tothat is not to have a judge go against the constitution but to bring the issueback up for vote until it passes.

Here is my favorite from you.     “Your religious belief,while perhaps strongly held, are not the laws by which this country is governed. Thus they are irrelevant to the discourse.”  Where did I bring up religion?  I made a reference to question 5 but it wasthe author that brought up that passage. I merely pointed out that the passagecould be used against the argument of same sex marriage.

……………….than your hatred and bigotry, which is precisely what theequal protection clause was designed to fight against.  At no point did I show hatred or bigotry. Isimply pointed out the laws and the rights of the states vs. the federalgovernment. As for the “EqualProtection Clause”:

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, arecitizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges orimmunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive anyperson of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny toany person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

This applies here how?  Due processwas done in determining if same sex marriages would be recognized. It does notkeep a same sex couple from being together nor does it unduly punish a couplefor being of the same sex.  You aretrying to put your desire to marry a same sex partner into an article of the Constitution.The reason I pointed out the illegality of marriages between parent/child orsiblings is because once you define marriages as being protected under the 14thamendment then all marriages will fall into that category and as long as theyare between consenting adults anyone can marry anyone else. That is a ratherbroad spectrum and a Pandora’s box we do not want to open. The decision on marriageis best left to the people of each state. Don’t get mad at me because yourstate is filled with people that don’t side with your view. 

Sheleen Clarke Owens
Sheleen Clarke Owens

Personally, your choice to live this way is between you and God. I have chosen to believe that marriage should be only between a male and a female, but that is my choice and my right to believe that way, just like it is your right to believe and choose to enter into a same sex marriage.  Questions like these do not need to be answered by people like me, who don't believe that same sex marriages are right, so we would never be able to agree on this particular point.  We, as Americans, have the right to believe or not believe in what we choose.  That's the beauty of it, we don't have to agree on everything, we just need to find a middle ground, where we can see the great things that have become each of us, individually.  You are not going to approve of many of the things I do, but that is okay, because we are all created differently.  This world would be a boring place if we were all a bunch of robots, thinking the same, acting the same, believing the same.

NEP
NEP

Your explanation defeats your own stance. I agree with you that you have the right to believe differently regarding same sex marriage. You have the right to believe it is wrong. Therefore, you have the right NOT to enter into a same sex marriage. What you do NOT have the right to do is PRECLUDE someone who does NOT share your belief from entering into a same sex marriage just because YOU personally believe it is not right. See, the difference is, marriage equality does not take away YOUR RIGHT to not believe in or not participate in same sex marriages. Banning same sex marriages however, imposes YOUR PERSONAL BELIEF on everyone else. You are restricting others from rights and priviledges that you enjoy based on what YOU consider to be right or wrong. With marriage equality no one forces others beliefs on you. You can continue to believe what you believe and enter into a marriage with whomever you want according to whatever marriage means to you. With marriage inequality, however, you are directly FORCING your beliefs on others by not allowing them to marry whomever they want according to whatever marriage means to them. 

Sheleen Clarke Owens
Sheleen Clarke Owens

I don't claim to understand the need of have a same sex relationship, I just know that it is a choice, just like falling in love with someone of the opposite sex.  It is what it is, and I will never think ill of someone who makes a choice that they think is correct.  I would be a hypocrite if I did.  Again, the choices I make, many of you probably wouldn't agree with, but I don't feel like I need to become angry or defensive of my choices.  Once we as people, come to a point where we can all stop pointing fingers at one another for the choices we make, then we will have a common ground.   I completely respect peoples choices in their lives, that is for them to live.  The only time I become resistant to a choice someone has made, is when it breaks the law as we know it, or if it hurts someone intentionally.   I never once imposed my personal belief on anyone, not once. I have been open to listening to what you all have said, and I hope you all can do the same for me. DEMANDING that we all accept same sex marriages or opposite sex marriage, is imposing.  We can both say that. You know what I mean?  We have to all come to a point where we realize that we are NOT the judge of what others do.  We have to be accountable for our own choices, but not to one another.  

NEP
NEP

Sheleen. You say that you do not impose your views on anyone but what you propose and favor (marriage inequality), however, DOES impose your particular view of marriage on people who do not necessarily agree. That is, if I were a gay person, I would be DENIED the right to marry because you, Sheleen, do not believe this marriage is right and does not follow YOUR faith or views on what marriage should be. That is IMPOSING YOUR view of marriage because you are actually directly affecting others and denying them access to rights and privildges based on YOUR world view. A lesbian couple trying to raise their kids, for example, will be precluded from receiving the benefits of filing joint tax returns because YOU feel their relationship should not be recognized legally. That same couple might be forced to enter into complicated legal contracts to protect each other because inheritance rights wont apply to them. That same couple might suffer the heartache of been refused visitation rights at a hospital because YOU feel their relationship isnt right and should not be recognized legally. As you see, in fact,  these couples and families have to live with all sorts of restrictions, difficulties, and hardships,  because, in YOUR view, their relationship should not be legally recognized. That is, in fact, IMPOSING YOUR view of marriage on them. And it affects them directly in ways you probably cant imagine.  

On the other hand, marriage equality does not IMPOSE anything on you, it does not affect your rights, it does not deny you anything, it does not restrict you from anything. You can continue to believe that is is wrong. You can continue to choose not to enter into a same sex marriage. With marriage equality you can continue to enter into the marriage you choose according to your beliefs and values (which I sincerely respect though I disagree with). No one looses with same sex marriages. All views and rights are respected because everyone has EQUAL access under the law. With marriage inequality only YOUR view prevails while others are directly and adversely affected.

Jjskck
Jjskck

Damn, man. Well done.

Federale
Federale

Are you really serious?  Well then some questions for you:  Do you support polygamy?  Or is your defense of civil rights limited to 2 people in marriage? Do you support ending other restrictions on marriage such as degree of relationship? Do you favor sibling marriage, parent child marriage, cousin marriage? Homosexuals dominate our culture and politics.  Are they the same as blacks under Jim Crow?  Are you serious?  Do homosexuals have the right to vote, hold property, own firearms, etc.  How does that compare to not being allowed to marry someone of the same sex? Homosexuals can marry, just no persons of the same sex.  They also cannot marry siblings, parents or children.

Zfahrney
Zfahrney

TROLOLOLOLOLOLOL

Federale
Federale

Takes one to know one Comrade.

Federale
Federale

Typical leftist.  Don't address the issues, just revert to name calling.

Zfahrney
Zfahrney

Wait, you were serious? I could have sworn you were trolling... my apologies, douchebag! 

Mario Vilas
Mario Vilas

I think you're taking the analogy too far. Compare these two statements:

"Homosexuals can marry, just no persons of the same sex."

vs.

"Jews can marry, just not in a jewish wedding."

See the point now? The idea of the comparison is not to say the two things are perfectly identical in every possible aspect, but that those two things are similar in at least one aspect, and that's the aspect the author is trying to point out.

A.M. Lutz
A.M. Lutz

Um, are you really serious? No, seriously. You have to be joking, right?

BDL
BDL

Holy shit, Federale! You just proved the article's point: nearly every question you posed was based on a slippery-slope argument. How IN THE HELL does letting two people of the same sex marry lead to polygamy or incest?

Alan Scherstuhl
Alan Scherstuhl

You've puked out some faulty if/then statements and some half-assed comparisons rather than anything resembling an argument. 

Grade: F.

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