Ten years ago, when there was not one single state in the U.S. that performed gay marriages, opponents of such matrimonies enjoyed strutting around on the national stage, filling airwaves and newspaper columns with long arguments about the decline of the family and the collapse of our values-based society. After President George W. Bush rode to victory in the 2004 election by playing on people's fears about the creeping homosexual agenda, it seemed that the debate had been laid to rest, and prominent liberal Democrats chose to downplay the issue for fear of hurting their party's electoral prospects. Supporters of gay marriage were mocked for their radical idealism and chastised for clinging too stubbornly to their values against the will of the "moral majority."
What a difference 10 years make. Gay marriage is advancing rapidly across the nation, winning at the ballot box, in state legislatures, and in the courtroom. The cause has energized liberals and demoralized conservatives, who are left to bemoan the changing social fabric of the nation. For those of us who believe that gay marriage is a fundamental civil right, this sudden shift has been cause for much celebration. It seems like only a matter of time before the issue becomes settled.
But take a step back and look at the current scenario, and that triumphant feeling will quickly fade. Thirty-seven U.S. states still do not recognize same-sex marriage, and some 70 percent of the U.S. population lives in states without marriage equality. Opponents of gay marriage are still a powerful force in large swathes of the country, and they do not plan on conceding the fight without a fierce, public debate. Arguments against gay marriage are not about to go away anytime soon.
Proponents of marriage equality have responded to these arguments in many ways: rationally criticizing specific points, discussing common values of love and inclusiveness, and calling out prejudiced assumptions. We have decided to take a different approach: satire.
Certain arguments against gay marriage are often referred to as empty, hollow, or vapid. Well, why not make a book that illustrates this as literally as possible? What way to better illustrate the meaninglessness of traditional arguments against marriage equality than reducing them to blank pages?
In that spirit, I present Good Arguments Against Gay Marriage. Written by a fictitious Dr. Scott M. Warshire, a self-described "expert" in the field of family development, the book lays out an argument against gay marriage that will leave readers speechless. Its deceptive cover and empty interior encourage opponents of marriage equality to consider adopting a new tactic: silence.
The book is a great gift for any friend who has been co-opted by the growing fad of marriage equality and needs some convincing to get back on the path of virtue and righteousness. It's also a wonderful find for true opponents of gay marriage who have yet to find a book that truly speaks to them. Even if one doesn't find the arguments convincing, it makes for a great notebook, day planner, or coffee-table decoration. There is an intense, spirited debate going on across the country today, and this light, easy-to-read book will keep that discussion moving forward.
Patrick McAnaney is a member of Venture for America's Class of 2013 and published Good Arguments Against Gay Marriage as part of a challenge for the VFA Summer Training Camp, along with his teammates Astrid Schanz-Garbassi, Brian Feldman, Mehves Tangun, Sam Roberts and Wesley Verne. In August 2013, Patrick will join the team at Downtown Project Las Vegas, an urban revitalization project spearheaded by the CEO of Zappos, Tony Hsieh.