I caught this comment in the NY Times in response to an article about gay marriage rights:
“I am sick and tired of hearing that anyone who disagrees with homosexuality being called a bigot. This simple labeling implies that they must be irrational, and obviously unwilling to listen to someone else’s opinion. What if they simply disagree? What if they have a belief in certain moral standards? Aren’t their other moral standards held by society that people stick up for, that they simply feel are right? Are all those people bigots? Do you hate someone automatically just because you disagree with them? Most certainly not. Every person who does not support gay marriage is not necessarily motivated by animus, and to call them all bigots is unfair, unjustified, and does not facilitate a proper debate of the issues. It is a slur tactic designed to stir people up, and silence the opposition. I’m sorry the the NYT participates in the debate in this way.”
Not a bigot
July 10, 2010
end of NAB’s comment
Does this person have a point?
Yes. Not a Bigot (NAB hereafter) is correct in that calling someone a name does not facilitate discussion.
Yes. Calling someone or a group of people bigots is a slur tactic, but isn’t NAB creating another implied slur by implying that gays or gay sympathizers have no moral standards?
I have some other questions:
What is bigotry?
What is moral? What are moral standards?
In this case, what’s the difference?
What is the origin of the “moral standards” and what system of behaviors is it based on?
Does having “standards” automatically exempt a person from being a bigot?
Does it imply that “non-bigots” in that same issue do not have moral standards?
Doesn’t having “standards” that discriminate against an entire group of people create a systemized and approved superiority over another group because they don’t have the same pattern of “standards?”
If the “moral standards” dictated that the people not conforming to them should be killed, would it still be moral? If so, Hitler would be proud.
(And so would the Dominionists who want to take over the US and make it a Mosaic Law theocracy and execute gays and mouthy kids. Who are the Dominionists? Really weird dangerous religious fanatics, but I don’t want to talk about them at length here. Makes my head spin. google it.)
This is a very dangerous way to think. This is something like what happened to the Jews in Europe before WWII. And it was religion sanctioned by neglect in that the Catholic Church looked the other way. The CChurch has since apologized, but holy cow! Where is this coming from?
My own personal belief is that everyone should have the equal right to marry. Five years ago a gay couple with whom I am very close asked me to conduct their Commitment Ceremony. That couple is still together, and I have to say that doing that ceremony with them was one of the most satisfying events of my life. When two people love each other enough to want this, how can it be a bad thing? It’s a beautiful part of living that we all should have the legal right to enjoy.
The recent legal actions that call married restrictions like DOMA unconstitutional are a great start toward recognizing this right for all through the legal system. Once it gets done opponents will, of course, yap about activist judges and how their rights are being stunted just because another group gets the same right. Eventually it will iron out, but as long as we have groups who feel “morally superior”, we will have disagreements, for all the wrong reasons.
It’s possible that both sides of the argument are treading on very thin ice. No meeting of the minds will ever occur with attitudes this judgmental and exclusionary. Both sides create feelings of superiority and morality based on . . . what the other side doesn’t believe in.
But just like blogs and habits, beliefs can change as well. My hope is that each side will drop the moralizing and get down to the business of solving the issue. Creating a civil union or contract or some vehicle for getting hitched that everyone can have will be a great start.
Here’s a spontaneous thought. Why not have a contract system? Marriage is a legal contract arrangement after all. For example, the initial contract would be for six months with a re-up for another six months. The third contract would be for a year, the fourth for three years, and so on in agreed upon time lengths. If at the end of the contract you’ve had it with bad breath, alcoholism, or a newly discovered painful fetish, just don’t sign the next one. You’re done.
It would require counseling first to discuss the terms, which would be WONDERFUL since most newlyweds have no clue what there are getting into anyway. Maybe it would even prevent divorces, or . . . uh . .. . contract terminations. You could agree on all sorts of stuff – pregnancy, financial accounts, in-laws, toilet paper over or under . . . whatever is an issue. Everyone would have a pre-nup or they wouldn’t get married. Or Civil Unioned.
This is totally off the top of my head, so is undeveloped. But maybe it has merit and a certainly good deal more compassion than “just say no,” or “I have moral standards.”
Just a thought or two.