I was talking to a friend of mine who was bemoaning the lack of cogent arguments against issues like marriage equality and second-parent adoption. She’s an Ivy League law school graduate who currently represents a rather liberal district in Michigan, a state with plenty of conservative sinkholes.
She’s exactly the kind of person you want in government: educated, principled, committed to public service. And while she’s proudly progressive, she’s willing to look at issues from all sides. The problem, of course, is that when it comes to gay issues, the opposition can’t make logical, rational, well supported arguments. They have to rely on religion, fear and giant “what ifs” that aren’t based in the world of logic.
This is precisely why it’s so hard to argue with them. You can’t debate hysteria, and yet when it comes to two women or two men marrying each other, hysteria rules the day.
For example, take Maggie Gallagher, the president of the National Organization for Marriage. For years, she’s been an outspoken opponent of gay marriage (sometimes at the secretly paid behest of the Bush Administration). She’s anti-gay for a living – even she has to resort to scare tactics to make her case.
“I think civilizations that can’t hang onto an idea as basic as to make a marriage you need a husband and a wife aren’t going to make it in the long haul,” Gallagher told Rod Dreher of the Dallas Morning News earlier this month. “So I’m not worried about the progressive myth that 200 years from now gay marriage will be the new world norm. I’m somewhat more worried about the kind of cultures around the world that might survive.”
In other words, gays are going to end up killing us all. You know, just like gay pterodactyls wrecked it all for the dinosaurs.
Gallagher also complained that because she wants to discriminate against gays and lesbians, she’s labeled a bigot. This isn’t fair, she said, because the real bigots are gays who won’t just accept being oppressed. She claims that “losing marriage” to gays will result in “the redefinition of traditional religious faiths as the moral and legal equivalent of racists. The proposition on the table right now is that our faith itself is a form of bigotry.”
And, as every person of faith knows, the ability to oppress folks you don’t like or agree with is a special religious right.
Besides, gay rights advocates are just bullies, pushing around the poor, powerless majority that opposes them. “Public opinion hasn’t changed much at all,” Gallagher said, citing a March 12 CBS poll that shows the majority of Americans opposing gay marriage. After all, the majority rules. Minority rights are for atheist, liberal elites who would rather gay marry aborted stem cell babies than go to church.
“What’s changed is the punishment the gay marriage movement is inflicting on dissenters, which is narrowing the circle of people willing to speak,” she continued. “This is a very powerful movement, no question. Nobody understands that better than I do.”
Yes, nobody knows the trouble she’s seen. Nobody knows her sorrow. It’s a favorite tactic of the right to play the part of a powerless group standing up against gay mercenaries fighting to obliterate religious freedoms. Sure, it doesn’t match reality. But it sure is scary – and that goes a long way when fear is all you’ve got.
D’Anne Witkowski has been gay for pay since 2003. She’s a freelance writer and poet (believe it!). When she’s not taking on the creeps of the world she reviews rock and roll shows in Detroit with her twin sister and teaches writing at the University of Michigan.