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Friday, January 04, 2013

Answers to the National Organization for Marriage's Questions


There are several national organizations that are set up to defend "traditional marriage."  One such, the National Organization for Marriage, has a website page titled, "Same-sex Marriage: Answering the Toughest Questions."  (http://www.nationformarriage.org/site/c.omL2KeN0LzH/b.4475595/k.566A/Marriage_Talking_Points.htm) Over the next few days, I will respond to their "answers," and invite you to join in.

NOM's question from the opposition, Number 1. Are you a bigot?   “Why do you want to take away people’s rights?” 
“Isn’t it wrong to write discrimination into the constitution?”

A: “Do you really believe people like me who believe mothers and fathers both matter to kids are like bigots and racists? I think that’s pretty offensive, don’t you? Particularly to the 60 percent of African-Americans who oppose same-sex marriage. Marriage as the union of husband and wife isn't new; it’s not taking away anyone’s rights. It’s common sense.”

My response:  I will leave the question of bigotry aside as it gets us nowhere, except to wonder why they lead with this presumed slur, except to portray their opposition as unfairly characterizing them.  But, it hardly figures into the discussion.  Leaving aside, also, the insistence that "Marriage as a union of husband and wife isn't new," it is relatively new.  Marriage has evolved over the millenniums and has finally been codified in the West as such, but has never been, nor continues to be, the only way marriage is constructed.

Rather, my concern is with the notion that “it’s not taking away anyone’s rights.  It’s common sense,” that concerns me most.  There’s a bit of obfuscation here.  Surely, no straight person’s right to marry in the traditional fashion will be taken away.  The salient point here is that the right of a nonheterosexual person to enjoy the rights and privileges of marriage IS being withheld.  Those of us in support of same-sex marriage are so convinced of the worthwhileness of marriage that we want to expand the base, not contract it.  That seems more like common sense to me.

BTW, the African-American opposition to same-sex marriage is now reversed.  A Pew Research Center exit poll on Nov. 6 revealed 51% favorable to 41% not in favor nationwide.  This increase in favorability reflects virtually every demographic across the board.

And, yes, it is wrong to write discrimination into the U.S. Constitution.  It has never been done and it will never be done, at least on this issue.  Jim Crow laws, anti-miscegenation laws, women barred from voting, and many other discriminatory laws embedded in many state constitutions have all been declared unconstitutional. As MLK, Jr. said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”  It’s bending closer and closer to freedom for LGBTQs to marry.

TOMORROW: Answer to question 2.  Isn't the ban on gay marriage like bans on interracial marriage?


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