Ah the smell of whining in the morning. Ryan T. Anderson of the Heritage Foundation (I believe I have that correct) published a rather lengthy screed in which he starts out by claiming that “The Left has had some success in its push to redefine marriage, for readily apparent reasons: They dominate the media, they dominate the academy and, as we saw last week, they dominate the courts. Certainly dominance in the elite sectors of opinion-shaping helps.”
We are all left wondering just how the Left dominates the media, the academy and the courts given that the day before the Supreme Court ruled on same-sex marriage, they struck down the central part of the Voting Rights Act, the University of Texas let an anti-gay researcher get away with academic fraud, and FOX News consistently writes Republican talking points.
The fact that facts are not on their side is the problem, not the media. So, of course, Anderson just has to rely on the old standard of how everyone is against us rather than actually debating the issue of same-sex marriage on the facts. This is whining at its best. Simply put- I don’t have an actual argument- but you are nothing but lying ‘poopy heads’ because I can’t win.
So, Anderson goes on to say “But the Left also has deployed three distinct tactics: First, they’ve been successful at oversimplifying the issue, personalizing it and refusing to engage the complexities of social reality. Second, they’ve implied that the LGBT community speaks in one voice. And third, they’ve demonized their opponents as ‘bigots’ and ‘haters.’”
This is part of the attempt by the Right to reposition themselves in the wake of their devastating defeat at the hands of the US Supreme Court. Let us start with the first point there “ First, they’ve been successful at oversimplifying the issue, personalizing it and refusing to engage the complexities of social reality.”
Anderson goes on to try and explain how to counter these points without, well, ever actually offering up any kind of examples. He claims that the Left redefines “marriage so more people get health care or tax exemptions or whatever other grab bag of goodies you want to focus on. (Never mind that you don’t have to redefine marriage to solve policy problems.)”
Except for one thing, if you take away the benefits of marriage extended to it by the government, what are you left with? A contract sworn under the auspices of a deity, correct? Well, no. The thing is, marriage has a social component to it that cannot be defined simply by the contract or the benefits offered up by the government, and that, more than the benefits, has been the central issue to the debate.
In fact, Anderson is the one who is simplifying the argument, not the Left. The Left understands that the argument is not just about the benefits, but the whole social apparatus surrounding marriage. When same-sex couples have marriages instead of civil unions, they gain the intangible benefit of being seen as being equal to their opposite-sex counterparts.
Anderson’s second point is that “Second, they’ve implied that the LGBT community speaks in one voice.” Now, Anderson offers up two counters to this. He notes that while “Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Boxer claim to speak for all women on abortion, while Andrew Sullivan and Zach Wahls are held up to speak for all LGBT families.”
He then offers up this paragraph “It is a strategy expressly devised to marginalize the experiences of folks like Bobby Lopez (see his article ‘Growing Up With Two Moms: The Untold Child’s View’) and Doug Mainwaring (who was raising his kids with his partner when he realized they needed a mom—his ex-wife—and wrote ‘I’m Gay and I Oppose Same-Sex Marriage’).”
Anderson links to both articles. Lopez’ article is sad. I read it ages ago, and the problem for him is that his life is not what LGBT activists are striving for- stable same-sex marriages. He grew up in a split home basically raised by a single mother. His article twists this into the idea that he was raised by a lesbian couple, when in reality, his mother and her “female romantic partner” did not live together, but rather lived separately and spent weekends together.
Mainwaring’s article is problematic in that he says that he is for civil unions, but against same-sex marriage. At that point, the argument is not worth bothering to read, and I am not dismissing him because of any kind of feeling that he is some kind of self-loathing closet case. The problem is that he offers up a ‘separate but equal’ argument which undermines the entirety of what he is saying. If he truly believed that same-sex marriage was wrong, he would oppose marriage equality in all forms, not just in the form of marriage.
If an argument can be undermined in a matter of minutes, it really isn’t worth a couple hundred words.
Finally, Anderson writes “And third, they’ve demonized their opponents as ‘bigots’ and ‘haters.’”
In trying to explain this, Anderson writes “So we marriage advocates must continue speaking out. But we also need to learn how to state our case succinctly and winsomely: Marriage is the way that societies from time immemorial have united a man and woman as husband and wife to be mother and father to any children born of their union. That’s how children are provided with the precious gift of being brought up in the publicly supported bond of the mom and dad whose union gave them life.”
The problem here is that Anderson seems blythely unaware of the reason why people are called ‘bigots’ and ‘haters’. Take, for instance, Paula Deen. Her actions- from her disparaging treatment of Black employees to her use of racial epithets- make her a bigot, a racist and a hater. But going beyond that, a bigot is someone who shows an irrational hatred for someone else based upon a particular trait.
The anti-gay groups out there like the National Organization for Marriage, the American Family Association, the Family Research Council do not earn the distinction of being a bigoted hate group because they just don’t like someone for being gay. They earn it by offering up arguments based on nothing more than their religious beliefs.
Take, for instance, the Regnerus study. That study, which the anti-gay groups love to crow about, had nothing to do with stable same-sex households. It had to do with mixed-orientation families where one member was THOUGHT to be gay while the other was THOUGHT to be straight. The study’s entire structure and creation was eventually so thoroughly debunked that it became a laughing stock. It was devoid of academic ethics. This was not based upon the conclusions of the study, but rather upon an examination of how Mark Regnerus created and got his study published.
What men like Anderson does not understand that the LGBT Community would be more than happy to debate these issues if they were debated using facts. Unfortunately, the anti-gay groups offer up nothing more than vapid arguments based on the Bible. To date, NOM has never offered up an actual argument as to why homosexuality is wrong that is based in ethically obtained, scientifically accurate, and methodologically sound research.
Anderson also ignores the fact that the Right uses words to denigrate and attack LGBT people far more often than the LGBT Community does the other direction, and there has never been a documented case of a person being murdered for being anti-gay.
This is just the latest attempt by someone on the Right to claim to be the victim in all of this. They do not even like to argue this on the Biblical front because, it should be pointed out that, while homosexuality appears in Leviticus and a little bit in the epistles of Paul, bearing of false witness- aka lying- is found in the Top 10 Sins of all time.