Marriage Equality and MONSTERS

A brilliant, provocative, and ground-breaking piece: being against marriage equality doesn’t make you a monster.

One reason the idea of gay marriage, or “marriage equality,” spread so fast is that it seems obvious once you think about it. It was a genuinely new idea when it first appeared in this publication in 1989. As was not the case with civil rights for African Americans, feminism, or for that matter gay rights themselves, there was no long history of opposition to be overcome. The challenge was simply getting people to think about it a bit.

So sure, there hasn’t been a long history of opposition to gay marriage explicitly, but unless he’s suggesting that the long history of opposition to gay rights themselves (which he acknowledges existed) has absolutely no spillover into the debate over gay marriage, this thesis doesn’t really work.

Not everyone was immediately persuaded. In March, Ben Carson appeared on Fox News’ “Hannity” show to talk about gay marriage. Carson is the latest Great Black Hope for the Republican Party, which is quickly running out of African American conservatives to make famous. But Carson’s appearance was not a success. He should have left bestiality out of it.

Exactly; he’s not a monster, he just should have left bestiality, “out of bit.” Just a minor faux pas, y’all.

And any reference to NAMBLA—the “North American Man / Boy Love Association”—is pretty good evidence that we have left the realm of rational discussion and entered radio talk-show territory. This alleged organization exists—if indeed it exists at all—for the sole purpose of being attacked by Republicans and conservatives on talk radio and television.

I think we left the realm of rational discussion around the first sentence of this article. Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean these kinds of things aren’t important to address; clearly, they are acceptable enough to appear on relatively mainstream news shows.

Well, we all get our kicks in different ways, and if yours is watching someone being verbally flogged by Sean Hannity, I’m cool with that. Unwisely, though, Carson went on Andrea Mitchell’s MSNBC show three days later. There, he tried to clarify his position. He said: “If you ask me for an apple, and I give you an orange, you would say, ‘That’s not an orange.’ And then I say, ‘That’s a banana.’ And that’s not an apple, either. Or there’s a peach, that’s not an apple, either. But it doesn’t mean that I’m equating the banana and the orange and the peach.”

Wait, can someone draw me a fucking Venn diagram here?

Carson may qualify as a homophobe by today’s standards. But then they don’t make homophobes like they used to.

Yes they do.

Carson denies hating gay people, while your classic homophobe revels in it.

And creationists say we have no direct evidence of speciation: “Over here stands an example of the homo homophobus classicus. The course of the last few decades have seen homophobus classicus respond to selection pressures due to a slightly more hostile environment towards their easily-seen homophobic feathers, resulting in evolutionary changes including, as you can see, this new more camouflaged coloring in the homophobus imitatus.”

He has apologized publicly “if I offended anyone.”

That’s not an apology.

He supports civil unions that would include all or almost all of the legal rights of marriage.

Well, which is it. All, or almost all. Because pardon me if I’m not ever-so-grateful to be almost an equal citizen.

In other words, he has views on gay rights somewhat more progressive than those of the average Democratic senator ten years ago.

THIS IS THE GOLD STANDARD. Man, can you imagine being more progressive than the average Democractic senator from ten years ago? Holy smokes!

But as a devout Seventh Day Adventist, he just won’t give up the word “marriage.” And he has some kind of weird thing going on about fruit.

I’m still waiting for my Venn Diagram.

But none of this matters. All you need to know is that Carson opposes same-sex marriage. Case closed.

And lo! that was the end of the article, and there was great rejoicing.

Carson was supposed to be the graduation speaker at Johns Hopkins Medical School. There was a fuss, and Carson decided to withdraw as speaker. The obviously relieved dean nevertheless criticized Carson for being “hurtful.” His analysis of the situation was that “the fundamental principle of freedom of expression has been placed in conflict with our core values of diversity, inclusion and respect.” My analysis is that, at a crucial moment, the dean failed to defend a real core value of the university: tolerance.

Thank you ever so much for your analysis! I had utterly failed to see that! We cannot judge speakers at events for being bigots, then we are being intolerant! INVITE ALL THE NEONAZIS! (Yeah, I Godwinned this thing. No, I don’t care.)

The university’s response was wrong for a variety of reasons. First, Carson isn’t just another gasbag. He is director of pediatric neurosurgery at Hopkins. Pediatric neurosurgery! He fixes children’s brains. How terrible can a person be who does that for a living?

Good, so I don’t need to explain it to you!

There is no necessary connection. As a character says in Mel Brooks’s movie The Producers: “der Führer vas a terrific dancer.” But Carson didn’t murder millions of people.

Exactly. If he had, then he should be imprisoned, not merely criticized and maybe lose some speaking gigs.

All he did was say on television that he opposes same-sex marriage—an idea that even its biggest current supporters had never even heard of a couple of decades ago. Does that automatically make you a homophobe and cast you into the outer darkness? It shouldn’t. But in some American subcultures—Hollywood, academia, Democratic politics—it apparently does. You may favor raising taxes on the rich, increasing support for the poor, nurturing the planet, and repealing Section 14(b) of the Taft-Hartley Act, but if you don’t support gay marriage, you’re out of the club.

And how dare they reject him from the club — after all, he didn’t kill millions of people! Here, I’ll break it down for you: opposing gay marriage does make you a homophobe, it does not cast you into outer darkness, and it is absolutely a legitimate reason for people to reject you from their club.

Hopkins, as a private institution, may not have been constitutionally required to let Carson speak. But it was wrong for the university, once the invitation had been extended, to make Carson feel unwanted to the point of withdrawing. (In fact, it was wrong of Carson to let Hopkins off the hook in this way.) Behind the First Amendment is the notion that good ideas have a natural buoyancy that bad ideas do not.

No; behind the first amendment is the idea that the government should not decide which ideas its citizens can or cannot express. Any additional philosophical notions here are your own additions. And what better buoyancy good ideas have that bad ideas don’t (if any) is due to the fact that people can rationally criticize bad ideas to the point where those holding them no longer feel comfortable doing so. Which is kind of the moral of this whole fucking story.

In fact, the very short (as these things go) debate about marriage equality demonstrates this. Denying Carson the right to speak was not just unprincipled. It was unnecessary. The proponents of marriage equality have not just won. They have routed the opposition.

Intellectually, sure. But the majority of states still do not have marriage protection among a slew of other (perhaps sometimes more important) rights. So, no. We haven’t won.

It’s a moment to be gracious, not vindictive.

It isn’t vindictive to point out that what Carson says was homophobic, nor to accept his withdrawal as speaker.

There are those who would have you think that gays and liberals are conducting some sort of jihad against organized Christianity and that gay marriage is one of the battlefields. That is a tremendous exaggeration.

Well that’s a relief.

But it’s not a complete fantasy.

Hahaha never mind you really have lost it.

And for every mouth that opens, a dozen stay clamped shut. In the state of Washington, a florist refused to do the wedding of a long-time customer “because of my relationship with Jesus Christ.” Note that “long-time customer.” This woman had been happily selling flowers to the groom. She just didn’t want to be associated with the wedding. Now she is being sued by the state attorney general.

So she broke the law, and now is facing the consequences. This is a problem because…..?

DC Comics dropped writer Orson Scott Card’s planned Superman book when thousands signed a petition demanding it because of his many homophobic remarks.


Thought experiment: If you were up for tenure at a top university, or up for a starring role in a big movie, or running for office in large swaths of the country, would it hurt your chances more to announce that you are gay or to announce that you’ve become head of an anti-gay organization? The answer seems obvious. So the good guys have won.

Yes, the good guys have won. Hence why we have no employment protection in the majority of states, no marriage equality in the majority states, why 10% of American youth are LGBTQ and 20-40% of homeless American youth are…….

Why do they now want to become the bad guys?

The decision of gay leaders to concentrate on the right to marry was brilliant. This wasn’t an inevitable choice. They might have chosen some other strategy, such as getting sexual preference under the protection of the civil rights laws, along with race, gender, and so on. Choosing marriage totally undercut the argument of opponents that gay men and women were demanding “special” rights. All they wanted, supporters could say truthfully, was a right (to marry someone you love) that every other American already enjoys. But the focus of gay rights on marriage is a historical accident, and to make support for marriage equality the test of right thinking on gay issues is absurd. In fact, the very idea of a “test of right thinking on gay issues” or any other kind of issues, is absurd. Gays, who know a thing or two about repression, ought to be the last people to want to destroy someone’s career because they disagree.

[a] “gay” is an adjective, not a noun

[b] it isn’t about him disagreeing with us; it’s about him comparing us to pedophiles and bestiality-ites (whatever the word is)

[c] did anyone actually call for his career to be destroyed? People criticized him, using our words, and he withdrew as a speaker.

In their moment of triumph, why can’t they laugh off nutty comments like Carson’s, rather than sending in the drones to take him out?

Criticizing someone for publicly-made comments is absolutely identical to assassination by drones. WHY ARE YOU SENDING DRONES AFTER LGBT PEOPLE WHO WERE CRITICIZING CARSON?

There are only a couple more paragraphs, but I can’t do it anymore. ;alsjfdiwoeqaiahewoi;jfsd;lk