Several people have given me plausible, sensible, cogent explanations of why the thought of legalizing same-sex marriage drives its foes to the most breathtaking contortions of logic.
In an earlier HuffPost blog post, I mentioned the "diversity" argument used by opponents of marriage equality in Utah. They cited the fact that colleges and universities use diversity as a criterion in admissions. Academic institutions have such policies because activists complained that some schools had monochromatic student bodies from the same social classes -- and in some cases the same geographic areas. Also, studies over the past half-century or so indicate that students indeed learn more and better when at least some of their classmates are different from them.
It obviously follows, then, that kids are better off with two parents who are of different genders. At least that's the conclusion of those diligent folks in the Beehive State.
I guess one of Utah's neighbors simply could not be outdone. So from Nevada we have yet another canard from the bizarro world of people who simply can't stand the thought of Jane marrying Jill or John wedding James.
We really should listen to what the golden minds from the Silver State's Coalition for the Protection of Marriage said in a Ninth Circuit court hearing. Are you ready for this?
White supremacists engrafted the anti-miscegenation rules onto the marriage institution -- and thereby altered marriage from how it had existed at common law and throughout the millennia -- to bend that institution into the new and foreign role of inculcating white supremacist doctrines into the consciousness of the people generally. Because of the profound teaching, forming, and transforming power that fundamental social institutions like marriage have over all of us, this evil strategy undoubtedly worked effectively for decades.
Question: Where does one see today a similar massive political effort to profoundly change the marriage institution in order to bend it into a new and foreign role, one in important ways at odds with its ancient and essential roles? Answer: The genderless marriage movement.
So let's see: White supremacists "engrafted anti-miscegenation rules onto the marriage institution." (Gotta love that phrase!) White supremacists thus changed the definition of marriage. Gays want to do the same. Ergo, those who want same-sex marriages are no different from white supremacists!
Now, I'll grant you there are white supremacists, as well as bigots of every other kind, who happen to be gay men, lesbians, transgender people, bisexuals or people of just about any other kind of sexual orientation or gender identity you can imagine. If nothing else, most at least have enough fashion sense not to wear white robes and hoods. (Most white people don't look good in white. I include myself.) But, seriously, I think that there are fewer such extreme haters in the "spectrum" in which I include myself. Most of us still have unconscious prejudices, as nearly everyone else has, simply from being inculcated with subtly (and sometimes not-so-subtly) stereotypical notions about the sorts of jobs people are supposed to have, the clothes they're expected to wear and the foods they should eat, depending on their race, gender, geographical location or any number of other factors.
Still, I have yet to hear even the most racist, classist, misogynist, misandrist, or even homophobic or transphobic (yes, we have those!) people in our midst suggest that we pass laws to keep people from marrying each other. Like most right-thinking people, most of us support only one restriction on marriage: a minimum age.
I have never been to law school. I entertained the thought of going for, oh, maybe 15 minutes of my life. So forgive me if I am missing something. I simply cannot understand how anyone can use laws that were used to keep people from marrying each other to rationalize his or her opposition to a law that would allow people to marry. Moreover, I don't get how anyone can use a law that kept people who were of different races from hooking up to oppose a law that would allow two folks who are the same, in at least one way, from getting hitched.
Maybe I'm just too East Coast-centric to understand the dazzling feats of logic they've achieved in Utah and Nevada. Or perhaps I'm too European in my outlook (after all, I've lived in France!) to understand how real Amurrikkkuns do things. Or perhaps I have misunderstood every thinker and writer I've ever read. Yes, it's been some time since I've read Descartes or Hegel or Kant. So perhaps I need to refresh my skills in logical thinking.
Or it may be that I just haven't spent enough time in Nevada to see how marriage is supposed to be. Growing up in the dystopias of Brooklyn and New Jersey, all I ever saw were people who were married in churches, synagogues and by justices of the peace, and who remained together. Such couples include my parents. They have been Mr. and Mrs. for one year longer than I have been on this planet. I blame them for setting such an example for me, their firstborn.
I mean, if I haven't been around folks whose nupitals were witnessed by slot machines, how can I possibly know what marriage is? Right? I didn't grow up in a place (or time) where Dennis Rodman wed Carmen Electra or Kim Kardashian tied the knot with Kris Humphries. I never saw or heard about such perfect unions as the one between Jason Alexander and Britney Spears. Never having the benefit of having grown up around such fine examples of matrimony, I guess I'm unduly impressed with two women of my acquaintance who've been together since 1971. Or with my parents.
Yes, I admit that I want to hijack the august institution of male masters and female chattel so that folks like my friends can have the same rights as my parents. Or -- now I'll expose my self-interest -- so that I can enjoy those same rights, if I decide to marry a woman (or, for that matter, a man).
I guess that makes me no better than the white supremacists. As we say in the old country, tant pis.