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August 13, 2005

The Gay Banana Split Redux

I probably have explained why I think the Gay Marriage Movement is unlike the Civil Rights Movement, but there is a citation that I haven't given which is also central in my logic here. I'll repeat it for the record.

Opposition to Civil Union and an insistence on the honor of Marriage sounds very much to me like declaring oneself white. Take the well understood paradigm of the Jim Crow South. Segregation of public accomodations was the law. You might want to go to a the place marked 'White' instead of the place marked 'Colored' for the sake of equality, but the way you achieve that is very significant. One option might be to burn down all of the colored or white establishments forcing everyone to use the same facilities. The choice of the Movement was to take down the signs one at a time. Another choice would be for James Meredith or Rosa Parks to declare themselves as White. They could have just said, let's declare everyone White.

If they had done so, I think it would have been a terrible error for a number of reasons. And so this is how the Gay Marriage Movement differes in principle from the CRM (aside from the fact that Marriage is a privilege and an honor, not a right). Activists for Gay Marriage are demaning, ostensibly but disingenuously for the sake of equal rights, that gay couples be declared Married. It would then follow that they could do the analog of eat in the White section.

Why I find this so preposterous is that I am confident that the overwhelming majority of Americans, given a case by case accounting of the actual wrongs inflicted on gays, would be amenable to judgements in their favor. With that in mind, consider the judgments made by Frank Johnson. Here are a few:

Browder v. Gayle (1956)
Orders the racial integration of the public transportation system of the city of Mongomery.

Gomillion v. Lightfoot (1961)
Invalidated the cy of Tuskeegee's plan to dilute vlack voting strength by redrawing city boundaries so as to move concentrations of black voters out of the city limits.

United States v. Alabama (1961)
Ordered that black persons be registered to vote if their application papers were equal to the performance of the least qualified white applicant accepted on the voting rolls.

Lewis v. Greyhound (1961)
Required desegration of the bus depots of the city of Montgomery

United States v. City of Mongomery (1961)
Ordered the city of Montgomery to surrender its voting registration records to the US Department of Justice.

I challenge any proponent of Gay Marriage to provide evidence of such a judicial agenda going the wrong way. Consider that there aren't very many even on the watchlist of the ACLU, and many cases are going as planned.

This is a war that cannot be won in terms of Marriage. You keep a-knockin' but you can't come in. Registered Domestic Partnerships? Sure. Disney did the benefits thing 10 years ago, so did the State of New York. But the latest spate of fights over contested marriage licenses in Massachussets and California prove that it's not easier to ask forgiveness than permission. Either way, the answer is probably no.

Posted by mbowen at August 13, 2005 07:24 PM

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As shocking as it is to you that people with different conceptions of marriage than yours are voting and interacting in politics in this democratic country. That will continue to happen. Liberals are confident that they will win even in terms of marriage. Maybe you're confident that liberals will lose.
But besides the shocking point of liberals advancing their views politically, there still has been no argument that your conception of marriage deserves state sanction over another person's conception. That part is just assumed, despite it being repeatedly explicitly questioned, because whether you realize it or not, you can't see it being questioned.
But of course, the main point that you're trying to make here -- after assuming that you have the One True Understanding of Marriage -- is that for a gay couple to want their partnership to become a marriage is the same as their wanting to declare themselve heterosexual.
I wish you could see how bizarre that is. I wish you could see that unless you start with the assumption that marriage is only between heterosexuals - which is the exact thing being debated right now - it does not follow that homosexuals getting married requires homosexuals to declare themselves heterosexual.
But you can't see that. To challenge or question the assumption that marriage must consist of a man and a woman is outside of your capability. Not to be funny. You just can't do it.
The real questions, that you can't read, are whether or not it is acceptable for people other than yourself to define marriage for themselves in a way that includes homosexuals, and whether the government should respect those with a different definitions of marriage the same way government respects you and your definition.

Posted by: ParkerStevens [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 13, 2005 09:02 PM

I hear your relativism loud and clear.

I wonder if you think it would be reasonable for Creationists to leverage their political power to declare that their conceptions of the origins of mankind as just as valid as anyone else's.

Posted by: Cobb [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 13, 2005 09:34 PM

I don't think demanding marriage rights is the same as declaring one's self white.

It is true that being white during segregation, just like being married today, provides certain legal rights, duties and protections that people who are are outside of the group cannot enjoy.

However, I think it is best to explore your analogy more closely.

Being white was what gave white people legal privileges above others.

Being part of a heterosexual relationship is what gives those couples privileges over gay couples.

So in order for your analogy to work: Rosa Parks declaring she is white, and therefore entitled to the same rights (voting rights etc. ) = A gay couple claiming they are a heterosexual couple, and therefore are entitled to the same rights (marriage)

Posted by: Black Ambition at August 14, 2005 08:23 PM

Let me add now, the difference I see between homosexuality and race in the US.

The main difference between the two is that race is additive over generations and homosexuality is not.

Bill Gates may well have a gay child, but that gay child will endure name calling, but will never be hungry.

This generations racism impacts the next generation's black people, and their opportunities in a way that is not true for homophobia.

So there is a real difference that means that policy directed towards curing racism should be different from policy aimed at curing homophobia.

Posted by: ParkerStevens [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 15, 2005 01:46 AM