March 26, 2013

Gay Marriage, pro and con

Watching this debate unfold over the past decade, it is hard to imagine another social issue that has changed as much as gay marriage.  As many observers have noted, it was just in 2004 when Bush (with the help of then closeted gay RNC chair, Ken Mehlman) made gay marriage the wedge issue that would make sure social conservatives got to the polls.  It worked, and Bush narrowly won reelection.  There were some attempts at the same thing in 08 and 12, but clearly, that argument has fallen by the wayside.

Not only is the national scene shifting, with over half the country in support of gay marriage, but the polling is even more eye-popping when you look at younger people.  Their numbers, across political and religious lines, are much higher for gay marriage than people over 50.

And some of this is the reason why the argument against gay marriage is losing ground, and the opponents know it.  After all, it was not that long ago that opponents said that our civilization would crumble and our culture would fall apart if we allowed gays to marry.  Several states have passed gay marriage, and the sky has not fallen.  Our younger people know very well that gay people are just as good, bad and indifferent as straight people.   They know kids who have gay parents, and their parents are just as messed up as anyone else.

The biggest problem for the traditional defense, I think, is that they are defending an institution that has largely never been what they thought.  Marriage has always evolved and changed, as ideas about the family changed, and as economic pressures changed.  Marriage was originally about property, but that no longer is even a requirement.  It was about family too, but family, like marriage has changed tremendously. We all know divorced, cobbled, single, unmarried families, and often will put all of those varied versions of the family up against the traditional model.

This isn't just about hypocrisy, but it is incredibly hard to shout piously for traditional marriage when so many people are divorced or live in highly dysfunctional families.  And I think most of the American people reflect this basic reality.  They know full well that their relationships all need work, and who are they to tell others how to live.


Gary said...

Homosexuality is a perversion of sex and morality, and same-sex marriage is the perversion of marriage. God will eventually judge this nation for its sins.

steves said...

You dumped the previous topic? If so, then I am sorry. While I enjoy an impassioned discussion, I was not trying to be a troll.

Streak said...

I don't mind impassioned, but this one was starting to feel intractable. I appreciate your words here, but I don't exactly feel like we can talk about gun issues. I don't really understand why because as I have tried to make clear, I am not either anti-gun, nor convinced that gun control is the answer. With that stance, it seems odd that you respond to me so harshly.

steves said...

I am not trying to make an excuse, but some of the problem may be that this isn't the ideal way to have a discussion.

Streak said...

Perhaps. No doubt it is imperfect. But we have been able to discuss stuff before.

Smitty said...

I don't mean to sound off-topic, but I'm headed somewhere with it.

I'm reading A Universe From Nothing right now. Good stuff. In the book, Dr. Lawrence Krauss poses:

Name me one piece of knowledge theology has contributed to human society in the last 500 years.

The normal answer from the theologians: what do you mean by 'knowledge?'

Everyone else, from cosmologists to biologists to mathematicians, can provide a concrete answer.

The implication is: what is theology doing to move us forward as a species? What has it contributed to bring us closer together or answer questions or invent something that makes life less difficult or painful?

Instead, theology appears to be a study of division, of justification, and of the exploration of a "being" of questionable standing. It's arguing over the D&D Dungeon Master's Guide, which, while fun, contributes nothing. And in the case of this post, it seems to contribute nothing but looking backwards and discrimination.

Streak said...

Interesting. Without a lot of background in this argument, I am also a little curious about what knowledge means in this case. Could we not say that religions have contributed to the concept of altruism, and reaching outside your tribal grouping? Not sure that qualifies as "knowledge" and certainly am positive that religions often doesn't do either.

steves said...

I am not really sure, then. My opinions on the topic have not really changed all that much over the last 10 or 15 years, though I do feel that I know more about the legal aspects now.

Streak said...

To which thread are you responding, Steve?

steves said...

I was talking about the other thread, but my opinions on either topic, for that matter, have remained pretty much the same.

Streak said...

Perhaps, but your responses have not been consistent. Smitty suggests banning Assault Weapons or reducing clip size and he doesn't get accused of being very willing to ignore the constitution. Others of your Keg friends agree with me that the NRA is unhinged. they don't get the disdain that I do.

steves said...

In my opinion, I don't think the tactics of the NRA, while not what I would necessarily do, are all that different than other "rights" groups. I can assure you that I would speak the same way to anyone in regards to the NRA.

Streak said...

That certainly has not been my experience in our discussions. I have seen you disagree with Smitty and Bob and others, but never with the same disregard as you have given me on this. I am not the only one who thinks the NRA is unhinged, and frankly, I believe you to be in denial about this because you are so vested in the topic. You have excused things from LaPierre that you would not excuse in any other setting.

But regardless, I took down that other thread because I was tired of the accusatory and dismissive quality. I find it highly presumptuous that you claim to be more dedicated to the constitution. I am not uninformed. I am not an idiot. And I am not even extreme on gun control--the other point you seem to refuse to acknowledge.

That makes your defense of the NRA all the more odd. Here in this last post, I even conceded many things about the AWB, yet you dug in on your criticism of me and my constitutional purity. Why? Not because I was advocating some extensive legislation to deprive you of your guns. No. Because I was pointing out that sociopaths run the NRA.

steves said...


I think this is the problem. You know that I am not only a member, but and NRA certified instructor. It is one thing to disagree with policy and methods, but it is a little more strong to call a group that I obviously value so unhinged that they rank up there with Charles Manson, the Unabomber, and serial killers.

Streak said...

A), I have made it very clear that I am talking about the NRA leadership. I have stated many times that I know that the organization does a lot for training and gun safety. I have said all those things many times.

B) I think when LaPierre lies as often as he does about Obama, about gun control advocates, and uses fear as much as he does--that is absolutely anti-social behavior. It is not, in any sense, for the societal good, but is, in fact, intended to strike fear and paranoia in his listeners. That is sociopathic. That is harmful.

C), I have distinguished between the two. And, btw, I think (and this is your area more than mine) that Manson is more of a psychopath. I am not suggesting that LaPierre kills people in his home. I am suggesting that he encourages bad things for our society and lies without a bit of remorse or care.

D) that may also describe others. I don't doubt that. But it is very hard for me to take LaPierre and the political leadership of the NRA seriously or have any good faith belief that they have anyone's best interest at heart other than their own. Note, I am not talking about everyone who is a NRA member.

steves said...

I think that the definition of sociopath is a little more harsh, IMO. I know you are talking about the NRA leadership and not me, but put yourself in my shoes. How would you react if I said the same kinds of things about an advocacy group that you were a longstanding member of?

Streak said...

Perhaps. I think the definition fits, frankly. I think lying with complete knowledge that it is a lie and that it only helps you while harming others and feeling no regret is the definition of a sociopath.

As for your membership and participation, I am not sure what to say. Ted Nugent is a prominent board member of the NRA. Another sociopath. You don't like him, and try to distance yourself from him. Unlike LaPierre, you don't excuse him. Somehow you think there is no connection between Nugent and LaPierre?

My point all along, as it has been with my sane Republican friends, is that it is time for the grownups to retake control. What you seem to suggest is "don't criticize the NRA because of their crazy leadership because it makes me feel bad as an NRA leader." How about NRA people taking their organization back?

steves said...

I am certainly not suggesting that the NRA is above being criticized. Even in the gun rights community, the NRA doesn't enjoy a great reputation. Many see them as being too willing to compromise, as there is plenty of evidence of them doing this in the past.

My problem is that some of things you accuse the NRA of, like not supporting law enforcement or not wanting to improve laws, are either not true or a mischarcterization.

Streak said...

Again, you seem to talk about the NRA outside the contemporary political leadership. You may be correct that other NRA leaderships were willing to compromise (isn't that awful, btw) or were not as extreme.

But when you dismiss what I am saying about LaPierre, you seem to be in denial about what the mouthpiece is saying. As I noted earlier, this is the same leadership characterized by sociopaths like Ted Nugent. Sorry, but that term fits him too.

When you say what I am saying is not true--I am not even sure what to say. I haven't stated things about LaPierre that he didn't say.