The Left

Cry Me a River

Gay marriage
Gay marriage
Same-sex marriage (also known as gay marriage) is marriage between two persons of the same biological sex and/or gender identity. Legal recognition of same-sex marriage or the possibility to perform a same-sex marriage is sometimes referred to as marriage equality or equal marriage, particularly by supporters. | Photo: | Gay Marriage, Homosexual, Rights, Religion, Prop 8, Lesbian, Gay,

Anti-gays need some cheese to go with their whine

Of all the feeble arguments against gay marriage, the worst one I've seen is that passing gay marriage is an act of intolerance that oppresses the freedom of good conservatives who oppose gay rights.

Anti-gay activists keep predicting that the government will soon send gay storm troopers into houses of worship, force them to stop preaching against gays and then demand that priests (and rabbis and imams) perform gay marriages or go to jail. Of course we've had nine years of legal gay marriage without any church or religious official forced to perform a gay marriage, but that doesn't stop Sen. Ted Cruz from arguing this year that crushing Christian freedom is the endgame for the Evil Homosexual Agenda. And the only way to stop it is to ban gay marriage.

Don't get me wrong, government denying the rights of anti-gay preachers (or private citizens for that matter) to speak out would be wrong, but there's no sign of it happening. Fred Phelps gets to protest at funerals legally. Orson Scott Card, who advocates armed insurrection to stop gay marriage, hasn't been locked up either. But even if they were being thrown in jail or assaulted by the fantasy gay storm troopers some right-wingers warn of, the logical response would be to defend their right to speak. Not to take away the rights of gays.

And anti-gay groups don't stop with wailing about government repression. They're not just worried about being arrested or silenced (assuming they're not lying through their teeth about their fears). No, they're worried that the legalization and acceptance of gay marriage could lead to conservatives being... criticized!

I first ran across this argument in 2011, in a letter from several Orthodox Jewish groups complaining that if gay marriage becomes legal, "members of traditional communities like ours will incur moral opprobrium." And that would be terrible, because just like conservative Christian groups, moral opprobrium is something they're entitled to dish out'they're not supposed to get it flung back at them.

More recently, Card called for tolerance in the gay-marriage wars, by which he means people who dislike his anti-gay activism shouldn't boycott Ender's Game, a movie based on Card's novel. In the wake of the Supreme Court striking down DOMA, Card wonders "whether the victorious proponents of gay marriage will show tolerance to those who disagreed with them when the issue was still in dispute." (of course, the issue is still in dispute: Striking down DOMA doesn't wipe out the countless state anti-gay laws).

The answer, Mr. Card is yes, I'm sure they will. I seriously doubt agents of the Evil Gay Agenda are going to beat you to death, deny you your right to marry or impose laws that prevent you writing or working against gay rights. That's the meaning of tolerance.

Gay marriage
Gay marriage

Same-sex marriage (also known as gay marriage) is marriage between two persons of the same biological sex and/or gender identity. Legal recognition of same-sex marriage or the possibility to perform a same-sex marriage is sometimes referred to as marriage equality or equal marriage, particularly by supporters. | Photo: | Gay Marriage, Homosexual, Rights, Religion, Prop 8, Lesbian, Gay,

Tolerance does not mean, however, that they have to buy your books or see a movie based on them, even if it's brilliant (and some of Card's writing is excellent). It also doesn't mean that they can't criticize your views, condemn your work or tell you you're full of shit.

This is a point a lot of religious conservatives miss. The First Amendment guarantees them the absolute right to speak freely, but it doesn't guarantee they won't take flak for it. Anyone is free to say that gays are going to Hell, that being gay is no different than being a child molester or that allowing gay marriage is as immoral as legalized slavery (Rick Santorum's take). People who disagree are likewise free to say this kind of talk is hateful, bigoted or factually inaccurate. The idea that "These people are like pedophiles" is a perfectly reasonable observation while "You're a bigot" is beyond the pale not only doesn't make First Amendment sense, it doesn't make any sense.

I guess it's not really surprising. The anti-gay movement is heavily fueled by religion, and the religious right has long insisted that it represents the voice of morality. I'm sure it's rough for anti-gays to realize most Americans think gay marriage is the moral side and that opponents are the immoral voice.

Too bad, so sad. In the words of Harry Truman, if they can't stand the heat, they should stay out of the kitchen.

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Updated Aug 12, 2017 12:08 PM EDT | More details

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