Since the legalization of gay marriage has been sweeping the nation and hit none other than…. Utah? Yes – Utah… I’ve seen a lot of people, mostly politicians stating, “Now, I’m not homophobic, but I am afraid of what this will mean to traditional marriage and families across the nation. We need to protect children!” While not a direct quote – something like this keeps getting repeated over and over until I’m dizzy.
We all watch arguments thrown one way, “It’s in the Bible! It’s unnatural! It’s against Christ!” And then we see them thrown the other way, “It’s a mis-translation! (or more commonly), Yeah, so is eating shellfish or sex before marriage, or eating meat on Friday! It’s as natural as anything; homosexuality exists in other species as well! Christ never said anything about homosexuality! There are a million ‘rules’ in the Bible, most of which are no longer adhered to – you can’t pick and choose! Christianity means you follow the teaching of Christ, and since Christ never said anything on this (that is recorded) you can’t say…” blah blah blah.
Now, these are all fine arguments, but I’m not here to debate this. Some believe it’s wrong, some believe it’s right, some believe it’s wrong, but it’s also wrong to try and make laws about it, and some don’t care. I’m not here to fight on it – since I’m “gay married” I think it’s pretty clear where I stand on this. What I want to go over is the statement, “Now, I’m not homophobic, but…”
First of all, as I think we all learned in about third grade, when you say “but…” you negate everything you just said before it. Is it a technicality? Sure, but let’s be honest – you are homophobic. “No I am NOT! I don’t hate gay people! I just think marriage is between a man and a woman!” Ok – fair enough. You and Sarah Palin have at least one token gay friend so you can tell the world you like gays. Or maybe you mean it from the bottom of your heart. You really do love and support gay rights, and even support a “something” that gives all the same rights as marriage, but just isn’t called “marriage” because that’s between a man and a woman. Let’s say that, for arguments sake. When we ask “But why make it such an exclusive club?” The answer ranges from “Because it’s against God,” to “Because it could open the doors to polygamy (bestiality, pedophilia, incest, or whatever thing that has nothing to do with the conversation, but can be scary enough words to some that it grabs their attention).
We should also define “phobia.” It’s a “fear of…” No, I know – you want to put a bunch of qualifiers on it. “No, it means an IRRATIONAL fear! I’m not being irrational!” Well, most of the time, people who have irrational fears, don’t KNOW they are irrational. But even if they do, that isn’t what “phobia” means. It simply means, “fear of…” Seriously, look it up.
So let’s break down the first part of the statement. “Now, I’m not homophobic, but I am afraid of what this will mean to traditional marriage and families across the nation.”
First, the “but,” does negate what you just said, technicality or no. You state you have no “phobia” of “homo’s” but are afraid (or phobic) of what it will mean. The “it” you refer to is “homosexual’s” and their ability to form a legal relationship. So if you “fear what it will mean…” in any way, then you are homophobic! I don’t mean that as a sling – just a statement of rationality. You are afraid of something, or fear what it means for… Whatever. But that’s a fear and it stems from something being done by homosexuals, so however you want to twist it, you ARE homophobic. Don’t worry, I’m vaginaphobic. I don’t hate them, I don’t think their rights should be denied – they just scare me.
Here is the reality. If you are saying traditional marriage will be changed, you may be right. If traditional marriage means it is only limited to a man marrying a woman, then you are correct! It’s being changed! Of course, not for the first time, but that’s again another big argument that both sides has too many stock answers and responses to bother repeating here. But yes, I admit it! Depending on how you define “traditional marriage,” that is changing. How that affects YOUR marriage, of course is totally up to you. It doesn’t have to change anything, but you can let it. If you now see your marriage as worth less than it was 10 years ago, then I guess it did effect your marriage – now you have to ask yourself not only why, but why did you allow it to? Anything only has the meaning you yourself give it, so in this case, you must have taken something away from the meaning you gave it in the first place. But again, your statement is true. In 50 years when people talk about a “traditional marriage,” they will most likely be saying, “you know, between 2 people.”
The second half of the statement of course is, “We need to protect children!” Now you have moved from simply stating your phobia about traditional marriage being changed to trying to project a new fear onto others. Again, this is a wonderful buzzstatement that get’s people’s attention. And it’s VERY effective!
“We need to stop the use of GMO’s – we have to protect the children!”
“Public schools are not meeting the needs of children – we have to protect them!”
“Gay’s getting married will be too confusing to kids – I just want to protect the kids!”
Seriously though – can you think of a wedge issue where some politician (on either side of the isle) has not brought up why we need to fear it, because we cannot know yet what it will do to children? Or maybe even state the DO know what it will do to children (and it ain’t good – to be sure).
There are of course legitimate things to be worried about for children, for adults, for society, and everything that surrounds it. But this statement has started to throw a red flag for me, towards whoever is making the statement. Pay REALLY close attention to the arguments that follow this statement, given by anyone. They almost always follow up with something like, “This could cause irreparable harm!” or maybe “We don’t know how this could impact them.” Well… Damn! Could? Might? Don’t know? How do we make arguments about what we don’t even know? Does the argument that it “hurts kids,” really have any peer-reviewed study proving that? There are of course things we KNOW hurts kids. If you punch a kid in the face, I’m pretty damn sure, it will hurt them. And thus, there is a law against adults punching kids in the face. Right? We can PROVE this hurts kids. There are (too many) medical and psychological, peer-reviewed studies, not to mention kids themselves who are, or have been subjected to abuse that can tell their stories and we have a reason to legislate that. But since when do we make laws about what we don’t and CAN’T know? So far I have heard thousands of stories from kids, straight and gay that talk out about what it was like having gay parents. The only thing I’ve ever heard that was really common in the negative, was sometimes they were teased at school, or were made fun of, maybe called “gay,” themselves. That is for sure unfortunate. But I was made fun of because I was fat. I made fun of a girl with red hair. Kids make fun of kids for anything they perceive as different, right? And that usually stops around 3rd grade. So the only real danger for kids that I’ve ever heard actually comes at the hands of… Oh what? That’s right – another kids’ homophobia…
I was watching Chocolat the other night, and saw a very interesting (though fictional) account of a small society that decided they could legislate morality. Not morality that harms other (like abuse, murder, theft, etc.), but someone’s beliefs about how things should and should not work. Instead of letting people follow their hearts and out of experience, or the strength of their own faith, make their own decisions, they tried to operate within the law but at the same time project their own fears onto others and expect everyone to comply. Everyone of course kind of puts on the “show” that they believe that too! Because who wants to rock the boat? But behind closed doors, they really just do whatever they want anyway. When things aren’t working the way Count wants them to, he helps to write a speech to the congregation. The priest states something along the lines about how these indulgences can hurt children.
The funny thing is – I don’t think anyone who has watched this movie or read the book would say, “Oh the Count was being totally reasonable!” It’s a pretty slanted view of woman who moves into town, opens a shop that the Count thinks may tempt people… If they can be tempted from a solid belief, how solid is that belief really? He wants her out and when he really has no legal basis for stopping her, he invokes the phrase that will catch everyone’s attention. “…the children.” Because there are very few in this world that WANT to hurt children! We ALL want to protect them! Anyway, we watch the movie, we hiss at the Count, we see him for what he is, a fear-monger, and all laugh while the town hides their true feelings about the whole situation and circumvents him at every turn until he finally breaks down and goes nuts eating all the chocolate he can get his hands on. But really… How different is this that the subject at hand?
“What would the founding fathers say?” Thomas Jefferson stated that homosexuals should be castrated. “Ah ha!” you think! SEE? They would never have wanted this for our country!!! You are probably correct. They also all owned slaves and I don’t think they would have wanted to see any freedoms or rights for blacks either. Nor women. The bottom line really is, what the founding fathers WOULD want to see, and they framed the greatest documents ever crafted in a way where we as a society can change things, and make revisions as society moves through different phases of learning.
Let’s say all gay marriage is legalized everywhere and indeed we were all so very wrong. A hole opens up in the middle of the earth, and all the light in this world starts to pour in and vanish. Children and running around banging into each other and can no longer tell which way is up and which is down. Everything opponents of gay marriage stated was correct! And hellfire is now raining down upon the earth, children are no longer protected and existence is now in limbo… In the most simplistic terms, everything can be reversed. We have a history of experiments with laws. You make a law, an act, or something and if it works, you keep watching and make refinements as needed. If it doesn’t work and it’s doing something bad, it can be overturned and new laws put in place to protect people. So the real red herring of this whole argument is that it couldn’t possibly be undone if indeed it really did start to tear at the very fabric of reality.
Maybe a more accurate “phobia” that is had by the gay marriage opponents would be that of Metathesiophobia… The fear of change. But to stay still because of that fear, is maybe the most irrational fear of all. If we never change, we never learn and to me, the halt of growing and learning and knowing more tomorrow than we know today would be a tragedy that would rival most any other I can think of. The tragedy of complacency is terrifying. And really, if we allow this to happen, who will protect the children?