I really must cross swords with Andrew Sullivan (www.andrewsullivan.com) over his insistence that Americans are a bunch of intolerant Bible-thumpers who kick puppies and throw lawn darts at kittens, solely because they do not agree with him on the issue of Gay Marriage.
Mr. Sullivan is a homosexual, and a Conservative, and on this issue especially, he finds it difficult to reconcile these two facts. At any other time, Mr. Sullivan would most definitely agree, as a Conservative, that religion does in fact have an important role to play in society, and that society has the right to define morality. In this instance, though, Mr. Sullivan (understandably) has let his personal feelings trump his ideology. Not a problem there, it happens to everyone now and again.
Andy has his panties in a bunch over the issue of Gay Marriage. He's not alone, as a lot of gays and straights do as well. Where Mr. Sullivan falls flat on his face, however, is when he insists that anyone who doesn't believe that gay marriage is a civil rights issue and the right thing to support, that the rest of us must be bigots and deserving of contempt.
He's incorrect and for a slew of reasons.
First, he assumes that most people are opposed to homosexual unions on the basis of religious belief. True, many of us are, but they do not represent the full spectrum of views on the topic. There are those amongst us that wouldn't care if Andrew married a cocker spaniel, although we might look at him funny if he did. Because the issue to legalize gay unions was put on 11 state ballots (and lost in all 11 states), he assumes that this defeat was the result of a sinister backlash by religious puritans every bit as evil as the Taliban. He easily dismisses a whole lot of other arguments against expanding tyhe definition of marriage.
For a start, many of us who aren't gay, aren't religious, and who aren't the least bit prejudiced towards or offended by homosexuals still find the concept of homosexuality nutty, and often, disgusting. The thought of penetrating another man's anus makes me sick, for example. But, I live in a world that says "whatever floats your boat" and then goes on with my own life. I don;t judge the individual by his proclivities, I judge the individual on the basis of his personality and character. If this makes me bigoted in Andrew's eyes, I can't see how I can change his mind.
Secondly, there are many of us who do see the logical reasoning in the argument for gay unions in strictly ideological and legal terms, but that doesn't mean we believe that it should be acceptable when the majority is dead set against it. We can make the circular argument that at one time the majority in this country was for slavery or Jim Crow or no sufferage for women, and true, those were wrongheaded ideas to be sure. But this is not the same as denying someone the right to exist because of the color of his skin. This is nowhere near the idea that "seperate-but-equal-as-long-as-equal-for-the-other-means-inferior". Applying this type of argumentation merely shows how desperate the proponents of gay marriage are to make the case -- they are appealing to emotion and guilt instead of reason.
Finally, the major reason for my own personal opposition to gay marriage, and probably a great many other's too, is that we're sick of hearing about the whole thing. I don't particularly care who choses to sleep with who, but I do get tired of being lectured about how I SHOULD care. It gets tiresome, it gets old and stale and boring and at the end of the day, you've numbed me with your whining and lost me. What this is really all about is not equal rights. It's not about evening a score. It's about people who engage in activity that society considers abhorrant to have that behavior normalized for the sake of their own personal selfishness. In other words, it's a fucking temper tantrum.
You know, Andrew, gays in this country have it pretty good. They are not being dragged out and beheaded and stoned to death like they are in Iran. They are not denied the right to earn a living, screw who they want to, appear on television, write books or run websites. Lynch mobs are not roaming the streets with the tacit approval of government or community, rounding up the fags and finding themselves the tallest tree in the county. In fact, I'll bet 90% of the people in this country don't really give a damn who's gay, who's not, or even care what gay means, they have lives to live and they just want to be left to it.
Yes Andrew, you lost. Yes, I can understand how upsetting it is for you. But did it ever occur to you that perhaps there are reasons why people don't want this kind of stuff to happen? Or was it easier, in your grief, to strike out at a bunch of "religious nuts" like the dumbocrats are doing at the moment?
Gay marriage was an issue in this election, Mr. Sullivan, and the people decided what they wanted. You are not bound to agree with the results, but you are bound to abide by them. Civil society demands this.