Friday, June 6, 2008

The problem with claiming not to be bigoted...

The thing about bigotry is, if you have say, "I'm not a bigot, but [insert negative statement about out-group or minority]" you usually are a bigot.

You know. Kind of like when someone says, "No offense, but your ass looks huge in those pants." Yeah. It's along those lines.

Often in encounters with internet personas, bloggers claim their opposition to gay marriage, or any pro-gay measures is out of necessity, to protect some inherent (the buzz word is "natural") family form. For they are not bigots. They are religious people who love the sinner and hate the sin. They claim to care about "The Family" conveniently forgetting that often, families are not all biologically related. Anything "less than" a biological mother-father-child unit is unacceptable and evil. But I digress, that is not the point of this article.

The thing about opposition to a group, especially homosexuals, is that it unnecessarily harms groups of people who are innocent. Or at least innocent of any wrongdoing based on the trait or characteristic that they are being judged on. Simply by virtue of their same-sex relationships, they are enemies of America, evil, unnatural, perverted, vile, and more.

While it is true that gay people can be bad people, just like straight people, it is not BECAUSE they are gay that makes them bad. It is not a reason to discriminate, and it is especially not a reason to devote one's life to the abolition of rights and protections for gay people.

Bigotry is the "intolerance "of opinions, lifestyles, or identities differing from one's own."

While one can (claim to) be against things like gay marriage on grounds that are not rooted in bigotry (though I can't think of any), many anti-gay bloggers/activists/protestors claim that even if their views are bigoted, it does not negate the unbigoted views so their views are correct, as well.

Further, try as they might to rationalize their anti-gay stances, the truth of their bigotry often eventually slips out to stand on its own two feet. Hmm, for a blog (like the one that is linked to several times in this article) that is concerned with "Defending marriage on the firm ground of reason and respect for human dignity, Encompassing the marriage related topics of gendered biology, kin anthropology, family law and policy" [sic] they sure talk a lot about anal sex in between cheap shots at same-sex couples and families.

So, while claiming to "defend marriage," most "pro-family" groups are actually more concerned with deconstructing same-sex relationships and their families.

That is the problem with bigotry. No one willingly admits to being a bigot. They will often go to great lengths to mask their intolerance under the guise of something "noble" like families or children. To an untrained or uneducated reader, this can appear righteous. Who wouldn't, after all, want to help save families or children?

The blog above recently posted an article complimenting a religious website's piece on gay marriage. An author named "R.R. Reno" over at First Things: The Journal of Religion, Culture, and Public Life, wrote it, titled "Personal Freedom Without Liberty."

Similar to every other anti-gay piece written, it blathers on about the special union of a man and woman as a religious, natural spectacle:

"In other words, in the old system, the state presumed the existence of a substantive, natural reality that required legal adumbration: the union of a man and a woman, and the children resulting from their sexual relations. Now the Canadian government sees that it must intervene and redefine marriage and parenthood in order to give fixed legal standing to otherwise fluid and uncertain social relations. When the gay friend donates his sperm to the surrogate mother hired by a lesbian couple, the resulting “family” is a purely legal construct, one that requires the power of state to enforce contracts and attach children to adoptive parents."

Yes. All while claiming that their opposition to gay marriage is not (because they said so!!!) rooted in bigotry.

It gets better. This (surprise) Catholic blog goes on to say:

"Edmund Burke saw that revolution motivated by the unattainable ideal of equality would destroy the deep, pre-political social mores that restrain the will, including the political will; and this restraint is essential for the preservation of liberty. Our contemporary cult of tolerance differs from older fantasies of equality, but the notion that we can accommodate everybody’s desires is just as unrealistic."

Though we are never really told why. But I suppose if it comes from a religious reference, it is true.

And, predictably, the piece ends with a trusty ole appeal to tradition. (When the state can rise up to redefine marriage, then the counterweight of tradition is diminished, the political instruments of power are emboldened, and our collective liberty is at peril.)


Instead of laying down solid evidence and/or reasoning, the article makes bold claims and generalizations of "liberals," "conservatives," and "progressives." Not only that it speaks of limiting liberties in order to preserve our "collective liberties." Something every conscientous conservative should supposedly do. What one can read between the lines is the 800 lb gorilla in the room that is an appeal to tradition.


A long time ago, I discussed each major argument a bigot will use. Read it here, if you wish.

A long time ago, I also discussed why homosexual unions are not, in fact, unnatural (as this article claims) and should be legally protected and recognized.

While I can respect a so-called philosopher if he or she has solid reasoning to back up his/her claims, this piece stands alone as a propaganda appeal to its own conservative, religious echo chamber. A piece that many anti-gay people will praise, not because of its (lack of) quality, but more so because it preaches an unspoken bigotry against gay people.

And that is what truly speaks to the heart of of every gay marriage opponent.