An Open Letter to Andrew Sullivan
I have a great deal of respect for Andrew Sullivan. He is a fantastic writer and an usually clear thinker. I swear, I wish I had 1/10 of the talent that he does. If you haven't stopped by his website (www.andrewsullivan.com), I strongly recommend that you do so.
That having been said, there are a few things on which we disagree on. That's fine, this is America, after all, and people are allowed to have differences of opinion, provided they don't bring them up someplace like the local university, television or polite company. When you do any of those things, you get branded as a "hater".
Be that as it may, one area where Mr. Sullivan and I diverge is on the issue of homosexual marriage. Mr. Sullivan supports the right of homosexuals to enjoy the privilege of matriomony and all the attendent legal benefits that extend from it. I guess that is to be expected since Mr. Sullivan is, by his own admission, a homosexual. I do not agree with him, and I base this disagreement upon my personal beliefs that homosexual activity is contrary to nature, is abhorrent, and immoral.
Mr. Sullivan, this past Saturday, listed a quotation from Hannah Arendt in his Daily Dish, that attempted to tie the concept of homosexual union into the American beliefs in the right to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." Fair enough, I guess, if you believe that the individual has the right to decide for himself which laws and conventions of society he wishes to abide by and which he chooses to discard. This is a dangerous idea. While we all relish the idea of freedom, it must be clear that freedom must have limits sometimes, for the good of society as a whole. For example, it has been determined that drug usage is bad for society, therefore, drug usage is proscribed by law. Those that continue to indulge in the use, production or sale of illegal narcotics go to prison. The freedom to pump heroin into one's veins must be limited by the effect that such action has on the whole of society.
To take this analogy one step further, the Mayor of San Francisco recently decided that, contrary to the laws of the State of California, he had the right to decide that he would not enforce the statues in which marriage is considered the union between people of opposite sexes. The Mayor, an elected official sworn to uphold the law, thinks this particular law is wrong. Fine, that's his opinion. There are also people who feel that the laws against heroin use are wrong too. However, until the law states that it's okay to shoot up heroin or to marry someone of the same gender, then it's illegal. People who perform illegal acts go to prison.
The Mayor of San Francisco, however, is not in prison. He's being hailed as a hero for defying a law that he disagrees with. He did not try to get the law changed by legal means, he did not bring the matter before a court or a legislature, he took the law into his own hands. He has set a dangerous precedent.
If the Mayor of San Francisco can decide which laws he chooses to obey and enforce, then why can't the rest of us? Why can't I decide that the laws against assault and battery are inconvenient and stupid and take a baseball bat to the next person I see? What if anti-discrimination laws fell into my "don't like 'em" category, and I decided to take my baseball bat to the next homosexual I see? Or maybe the next black person? My defense would be, "Well, if an elected official has he right to decide which laws are pertinent, which are wrong and which should be obeyed, why shouldn't?"
Naturally, I do not advocate anyone using a baseball bat for anything other than it was intended for, i.e. the sport of baseball. But this is America, a place in which, according to most liberals (small "l" intentional) most people haven't the most rudimentary clues as to how to think for themselves unless there is a government program for it. So, if one were to apply the warped logic of baseball bats and homosexuals like I just did (in conjecture) to reality, I can guarentee you there would be an awful lot of hurting homosexuals out there. That's not fair, it's not even moral, but it is part and parcel of what happens when people are given the wrong example.
The second area in which I disagree with Mr. Sullivan is the argument he often makes about homosexual rights being equated with civil rights.
You have civil rights, Mr. Sullivan --- you can vote, read and watch on TV whatever you want, travel without being asked for identification every 12 feet, you cannot be arrested without cause, you have the right to legal advice if you are, you or your property cannot be searched without a legal warrant. You have the right to date or engage in sexual congress with anyone you want, so long as you are not violating any laws. In fact, society has bent over backwards (no pun intended) to look the other way at what most of us agree are disgusting and immoral sexual practices. That goes for straight people too, or are you implying that S&M is fit for public display?
This is not a civil rights issue, Mr. Sullivan, it is a societal issue. Society has decided that marriage is an institution that is reserved between memebrs of the opposite sex. Until society says that changes, that's the way it is. But openly flouting the law, encouraging the same and applauding those that do it, is not the way to change it. The only way it changes is when the question is put before the public in a legal manner --- by referendum. If we ever got a national referendum in this country (assuming the two major parties would actually let the people have a say in how we run our affairs), I would bet that homosexual marriage would be defeated, overwhelmingly. Will you then beat your breast and wail that the whole thing is blatantly unfair and a violation of your rights, or would you accept the wisdom of the populace to do what they honestly believed was the best thing for all involved?
Why not advocate that, Mr. Sullivan?
By the way, when it comes to the "life, liberty and pursuit of happiness" stuff, only the pursuit is actually guarenteed.