Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I Am Not Defined By My Position on Marriage

Over the course of the last month or so, you have probably noticed an increase in the number of posts I have written about the marriage equality issue. What spurred this increase was my original critique of a so-called marriage defense blog that shall remain nameless in the hopes of not giving this blog any more free publicity.

I believe that a few of them honestly see themselve as noble defenders of a tradition that is truly threatened by the specter of admitting gay couples into it. But based on their many comments and posts, I also believe that more of them, unadmittedly or unknowingly, justify their position on stereotypes about gay people, the "icky factor" of gay sex, irrelevant appeals to natural law, and the desire to maintain a state-approved patriarchal and/or heterocentric society.

As a blogger, I tried to resist writing about "gay marriage" because I always thought of it as a boring, yet important, issue that will be obsolete in 10 years or so. It is boring to me because how many times and in how many ways can one say "gay people deserve the dignity and equal rights of marriage" and how many times and in how many ways can you listen to and respond to "gay people can't get married because marriage isn't for gay people"?

Which brings me to the point, what do internet debates really accomplish? For, when we (and they) are not preachin' to the choir, we (and they) are uselessly evangelizing to people whose minds are already made up. And, when we (and they) are not evangelizing, internet debates often serve as a forum for embarassing your opponent, displaying what some think of as intellectual prowess, attacking the other side, demeaning the other side, displaying stereotypes and inner biases, and worse.

I have spent a lot of time writing posts with the intent to entertain, inform, and expose irrational thinking around the issue of marriage equality specifically, and LGBT rights generally. There are bloggers who have turned their concern about the erosion of the traditional family into an obsession- thereby defining themselves not as indivivduals but as anti-marriage-equality advocates. Even if they are not bigots, they become defined as such based on their position and the blogs with which they associate. And, even though I am a marriage equality advocate, I will not dedicate this blog to rebutting and exposing "marriage defense" arguments. From time to time, yes, I will continue to write about the issue.

But frankly, as a person, I am more than my position on any single issue. And like you, and like my opponents on the marriage issue, I am more nuanced than any stereotype that can be created about me based on my marriage equality advocacy. As such, I am going to make a concerted effort to go back to blogging about a broader array of topics that interest me.

Those on the anti-marriage equality side of the debate have, for too long, been given free reign on defining values, morals, and family. And worse, we let them. We let them frame the vocabulary of the debate. We let them make us justify our lives, our love, and our families. As though we believe that there really is something inherently wrong with us, instead of something wrong with them for creating a mythical save-the-children-civilization-is-ending scenario in an effort to deny rights to loving families in a nation that has always (hypocritically) prided itself on the motto that all white land-owning men people are created equal.

So, in the meantime, I'm going to continue to follow the issue, write about it occasionally (but not obsessively), and hope for a new breed of politician who will avoid or jump off the marriage defense bandwagon.

I'll end on these quotes that those on all sides of the debate should read.

"Democracy should be more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner" - James Bovard

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." – C. S. Lewis

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