Friday, August 10, 2012

The gay marriage debate

Really cool to see South Africa up there

There seems to be a lot of talk lately concerning marriage equality.  It seems that a lot of american states are deciding to legalize or not gay marriage.  But is it the right debate? (or fight ?)

Don't get me wrong, I fully support marriage equality.  But, it seems that the arguments in favor of gay marriage are actually arguments in favor of gay acceptance or "gay-understanding".  It seems to me that in the bottom of their heart, "anti-gay" people simply hate the gay thing more than gay marriage.  Let's think about it:  if I was walking on the street with my boyfriend and that we were bullied for being gay, would I say: "Wait a minute, we're not married!!" and walk away with it ?  I don't think so. 

What I want to say is that while marriage equality is good for gay people, that's not what will make change anti-gay people's mind.  Gay marriage legalization probably angers them more.  To me, right now, it seems that gay acceptance and gay education is what's more needed to make a better society. 


  1. I'm not sure it's an either/or sort of thing. Yes, we need more acceptance of gay people. And it's true that marriage equality isn't going to (directly) bring that acceptance. But at the same time, marriage equality does bring a lot of other important things, like the hospital visitation rights, the right to make medical decisions for your partner, how medical benefits for your partner are taxed, and how inheritance law is applied in respect to a surviving partner. And those are just the examples I can think of off the top of my head. I think all of those things are important and needed right now as well.

  2. Bonjour JF -

    Just found your blog via Matt & Brad's blog and am in the process of reading your posts. I’m really enjoying your blog and find it very informative and interesting. As an aside, I spent a bit of time working in Canada (Toronto and Montreal) back in 1999/2000 and I really enjoyed it!

    This particular topic is a huge hot button issue with me. I happen to live in the US - in Indiana to be exact. The Republican majority State House in my state is trying again to ban same-sex marriage for the second time in the 21st century via constitutional amendment. Luckily, the process to amend the state constitution of Indiana is one of the most difficult in the country, so the 2005 attempt was thwarted and hopefully this one will be too.

    I should say that at this point that I am a middle-aged heterosexual woman with no children and no gay family members - that I know of ;) – and I do have a number of gay and bisexual friends and co-workers. I have no "skin in the game" to use a popular phrase here. However, as a human being and supporter of equal rights, I take extreme issue with putting other people's "rights" to a popular vote. They are either "rights" or they are privileges. If they are indeed rights, then it doesn't matter what "the people" want – end of story. The truth is that in most states (and certainly at the federal level), marriage includes a whole host of legal rights that are currently not available to same-sex couples. These include tax treatment, inheritance of property and pensions/social security, availability of and tax treatment of employer based insurance coverage (very important here since we do not have guaranteed health insurance), the ability to authorize medical treatment or even visit a sick partner, even make decisions about the body of a deceased partner, etc. Even more troubling are the supposed “reasons” the supporters of these bans cite. Most of them are based on particularly stringent and narrowly interpreted religious beliefs – nothing logical or fact or evidence-based. Fair enough. Believe what you want. That does not mean such beliefs should be the basis for public policy. If we waited around for civil rights for other minorities to be “popular” and vote on them, we would still be waiting. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 certainly wasn’t “popular” among large segments of the country (I’m convinced it still isn’t). Too bad so sad. On the Wikipedia page for The Civil Rights Act of 1964, there is a video of President Johnson’s remarks when he was signing the bill. Substitute sexual orientation for race and the concepts are in parallel. Even though he was not a good public speaker and uncomfortable in front of the cameras, this was one of the best speeches he ever gave.

  3. Part 2

    I had this discussion with my mother after the Chik-Fil-A dustup down here. She kept telling me that it really doesn’t matter because there is no way to convince these people who believe that homosexuality is “a choice” that it isn’t and that it isn’t “wrong.” Of course many of these are the same people who don’t believe in evolution. But the Scopes trial is over. Again, they can believe whatever they want to and open their silly museums to promote their views, but the deal is they do not get to dictate public policy or what is taught in science classrooms. Again, the concept is the same here. I understand that some people will absolutely never ever accept fact-based evidence and will determinedly believe what they want to believe. What they don’t get to do is determine public policy based on their biases. Until these rights are protected under the law and there are consequences to breaking that law, things will not change. Unfortunately we cannot count on people to “do the right thing.” If we could, we wouldn’t need the EEOC or OSHA or any of the other government oversight bodies that try to provide a level playing field and protect those without their own personal power. And those are the things that government SHOULD do.

    Rant over ;)

    I look forward to reading your blog entries in future and wish you nothing but the best.

  4. Hello Sxswann, thanks for this elaborate rant :) Thanks for being so informative. I did listen to Johnson's remarks and found it was a great speech as well. Listening to it, I just don't understand how so many Americans want to deny rights to homosexuals, as it is clearly against the values with which your country has been founded.

    I do see the debate differently now. Before, it was like the egg or the chick? I was thinking what should come first in order to help the second to happen? I thought that security should come before rights. I prefered to be alive with less rights than dead with rights. However I do get that if we wait for acceptance and more security before having our rights legalized, we will wait forever. So I suppose that both fights are important and that they can both positively feed each other with their own successes.

    1. Indeed both are very important. The truth is that the majority of Americans support marriage equality according to all recent polling. It seems though that many are reluctant to voice that support while those who are opposed are certainly not reluctant to voice their opposition. They also seem to be much better organized and quite well-funded in their opposition (obviously given what happened with Prop 8 in CA and more recently in North Carolina). I find it very troubling when any religion is inserted into secular public policy. One of the strangest things I find is that these same people see fundamentalism and rigid dogmatism as a danger in other religion (especially Islam), but somehow refuse to see it in Christianity. It raises hypocrisy to a new level. And apparently they have not studied much history ;)