Saturday, March 30, 2013

Gay Is Not the New Black?

It's tough to recall a time where I've seen more attention paid to the issue of gay marriage than the past few days. Everyone has an opinion about the topic, and our friend here, Voddie Baucham, is no exception. He authored the article Gay Is Not The New Black all the way back in July of last year, but I've seen it posted on many Facebook walls within the past few days. Apparently it's being heralded as a finely written essay that puts all of the hippie notions of gay marriage to rest. Not surprisingly, I disagree. Enough so that I've awoken from my year-long slumber on this blog to actually take the time to give my two cents and demonstrate why - point by point - his arguments are loads of rubbish. Without further ado: my response in standard format.

It's hard to deny that homosexual marriage appears to be a foregone conclusion in America. This is a frightening prospect not only for those of us who understand marriage to be a testimony of the relationship between Christ and his bride, the church, but also for all who value the family and its contribution to the well-being of society and human thriving.
At least he leads off with something we both can agree on. Homosexual marriage will be legalized soon - whether in the upcoming months or in the years ahead. However, he immediately jumps right into the conflated notion of religious marriage and legal marriage. This is an often overlooked distinction, even among gay rights activists, but it's a distinction that must be made. A legal marriage is in no way related to Jesus, as Voddie suggests, since any Muslim, Jew, or even atheist can obtain a marriage license. That license is a legal statement affirming the union of two people in a meaningful legal sense and for legal purposes down the line. There's no precondition requiring the pair entering the union to procreate, start a family, or even contribute to human thriving. It's just a legal document.

This legal document, not the religious ceremony or religious acceptance, is what I mean when speaking of "gay marriage" (or simply, a marriage between two people of any sex) from here on out.

The idea that same-sex "marriage" is the next leg in the civil rights race is ubiquitous. One of the clearest examples of the conflation of homosexual "marriage" and civil rights is Michael Gross's article in The Advocate, in which he coins the now-popular phrase "Gay is the new black."
Isn't it obvious why this is, though? Black people were treated unfairly solely based on their skin color. Gay people are treated unfairly solely based on their sexual orientation. It's not too much of a stretch to make the analogy work. Unfortunately, that link is now unavailable, so I can't ascertain for certain what his quote meant in context. However, I'm pretty confident that Voddie's understanding is close enough to the real intention that there's nothing worth quibbling over here.

Unidentifiable minority

The first problem with the idea of conflating "sexual orientation" and race is the fact that homosexuality is undetectable apart from self-identification. ... There is no evidence that can confirm or deny a person's claims regarding sexual orientation.
It's not clear why he thinks this should matter and I'm not sure why it would be at all relevant to the issue of gay marriage. We don't currently require that both a man and a woman be "confirmed straight" before they're allowed to take their vows. Why would this be any different in the same-sex scenario?

Moreover, the homosexual community itself has made this identification even more complicated in an effort to distance itself from those whose same-sex behavior they find undesirable. The Jerry Sandusky case is a prime example. Sandusky is accused of molesting numerous young boys during and after his tenure at Penn State. However, try placing the label "homosexual" on his activities and the backlash will be swift and unequivocal. "Pedophiles are not homosexuals!" is the consistent refrain coming from the homosexual community, media, academia, and the psychological/medical establishment.
Right, because homosexuality has nothing to do with pedophelia. No matter, Voddie seems to be speaking with more authority than the psychological/medical establishment and academia here, otherwise why would he bring it up? I've never heard anyone say, as he quotes, that no pedophiles are or could be homosexual. If he thinks that is what the gay community is claiming then he is sorely misunderstanding the conversation.

Whether Sandusky was actually a homosexual or not is irrelevant to whether he molested children. It seems like the implication this paragraph is trying to make is either that homosexuality is somehow connected to pedophilia or that the gay community is denying that any pedophile could be gay. Neither is true, but his bringing it up anyway is at least implicitly giving credence to the ideas. Douche.

Hence, it seems same-sex attraction alone isn't enough to identify a person as a homosexual.
Well it would be pretty close if it wasn't for his gross misunderstanding as seen in the last paragraph.

And what about LUGS in college, or same-sex relationships in prison? How about men who are extremely effeminate but prefer women, or those who once were practicing homosexuals but have since come out of the lifestyle? In short, it's impossible to identify who is or is not a homosexual.
How about... we just let people self-identify? That seems pretty easy to me.

As a result, how do we know to whom the civil rights in question should be attributed?
Everyone. I suppose the alternative would be to only give civil rights to some people? (I think he's missing the whole point of the movement.)

Should a man who isn't a homosexual (assuming we could determine such a thing) but tries to enter a same-sex union be treated the same as a woman who isn't Native American but tries to claim it to win sympathy, or casino rights, or votes?
I feel like this is supposed to be a trick question. The correct answer is "anyone who is currently eligible to marry (under our current laws) may marry anyone else who is also eligible, regardless of either party's gender or sexual preference." However, I wonder if Voddie would protest if I made the same point about Christians and stated that since they are an unidentifiable minority they should not be considered for civil rights.

But this isn't the only problem with the civil rights angle.
No problem here that I can see. One section down - dissected and nullified.

Unalterable Definition

An additional problem with the "gay is the new black" argument is the complete disconnect between same-sex "marriage" and anti-miscegenation laws. First, there is a categorical disconnect. Miscegenation literally means "the interbreeding of people considered to be of different racial types." Ironically, the fact that homosexuals cannot "interbreed" shines a spotlight on the problem inherent in their logic. How can forbidding people who actually have the ability to interbreed be the same thing as acknowledging the fact that two people categorically lack that ability?
Well first of all, his definition is technically wrong, rendering his point moot. All of the dictionaries I used to look this up list marriage, cohabitation, or sexual relations before breeding as actions that would fall under the "miscegenation" category. However, even if the definition was correct, it's still just an argument about semantics. The civil rights movement about interracial marriage had nothing to do with the actual act of breeding and everything to do with love and removing absurd restrictions based on racism. This is a nonsensical argument to me.

Second, there is a definitional disconnect. The very definition of marriage eliminates the possibility of including same-sex couples. The word marriage has a long and well-recorded history; it means "the union of a man and a woman." Even in cultures that practice polygamy, the definition involves a man and several women. Therefore, while anti-miscegenation laws denied people a legitimate right, the same cannot be said concerning the denial of marriage to same-sex couples; one cannot be denied a right to something that doesn't exist.
The definition of marriage used in this paragraph isn't even very clear. Is it between one man and one woman? Between one man and woman A and woman B and woman C? What about other ancient cultures that practiced same-sex marriage, such as Greece and Rome? Why should we use Voddie's definition of "marriage" instead of any other cultures' that were different? Because it would weaken his already weak point.  However, this is again conflating religious marriage with legal marriage. The legal definition can easily be amended even if he thinks his "unalterable definition" of religious marriage can't. "You're trying to redefine [legal] marriage!" isn't even an argument against the gay rights movement. It's the whole point of it.

It should be noted that the right to marry is one of the most frequently denied rights we have. People who are already married, 12-year-olds, and people who are too closely related are just a few categories of people routinely and/or categorically denied the right to marry. Hence, the charge that it is wrong to deny any person a "fundamental right" rings hollow. There has always been, and, by necessity, will always be discrimination in marriage laws.
No one is arguing this. Again, this is the thing we're trying to change. Discrimination, based on rational reasoning, makes sense. That's precisely why we don't let 12-year-olds get married - because we don't think they are old enough to give informed consent. The argument behind prohibiting gay marriage is one of "My [insert holy book here] doesn't like it," "I think it's icky," or "marriage is already defined." Not exactly the finest examples of rational argumentation.

As early as the time of Moses, recorded history is replete with interracial marriages. ... Thus, unlike same-sex "marriage" advocates, those fighting for the right to intermarry in the civil rights era had history on their side.
Appeal to tradition. "This is how things have always been" is neither a valid argument for or against any particular thing.

Fourth, there is a legal disconnect. One thing that seems to escape most people in this debate is the fact that homosexuals have never been denied the right to marry. They simply haven't had the right to redefine marriage.
They have been denied the legal right to be with the one they love, whether that is labeled marriage or something else.

But don't take my word for it; listen to the Iowa Supreme Court in their decision in favor of same-sex "marriage": "It is true the marriage statute does not expressly prohibit gay and lesbian persons from marrying; it does, however, require that if they marry, it must be to someone of the opposite sex."
There it is: not only in black and white, but in a legal decision. Homosexuals haven't been deprived of any right.
No, the decision didn't say that they haven't been deprived of any right; it said that they have the same rights as straight people. No one is denying that - at least, not in any meaningful sense.

Proponents of same-sex-only marriage are technically correct when they say that "everyone has the same [marriage] rights" - they're just missing the point. Everyone also is denied the same rights, with respect to same-sex unions - it's just that heterosexual individuals don't care because they wouldn't gay marry. A sort of "I've got mine, screw you" mentality that isn't unexpected but is rarely called out.

Further, this is asinine logic. [Responding to a block of text I'll omit for brevity.]
 No, it's the simple truth. It's not an argument, just a declaration of the obvious.

Unsustainable Precedent

Perhaps the most damning aspect of the civil rights argument is logical unsustainability. If sexual orientation/identity is the basis for (1) classification as a minority group, and (2) legal grounds for the redefinition of marriage, then what's to stop the "bisexual" from fighting for the ability to marry a man and a woman simultaneously since his "orientation" is, by definition, directed toward both sexes? What about the member of NAMBLA whose orientation is toward young boys? Where do we stop, and on what basis?
The legal age of consent is and has always been part of the equation. That isn't changing with the gay rights movement. However, the movement is neither arguing for legalizing polygamous or pedophilic/ephebophelic marriage, so any attempt to bring them into the discussion is just introducing the slippery slope fallacy.

Homosexual advocates are loath to answer this question. In fact, they are adept at avoiding it (and are rarely pressed on the point).
I hope he's kidding. The people I talk to about the gay marriage issue bring up pedophilia, incest, and bestiality every. damn. time. I can't get them to stop bringing it up. They just can't see how the things could be unlinked. Probably because they aren't willing to.

Voddie goes on to cite Justice Kennedy in Lawrence v. Texas and then Justice Scalia, but I've found the paragraphs vapid enough to not be worth responding to.

Inescapable Confrontation

It is very important for those of us who oppose the idea of same-sex "marriage" to do so not because we wish to preserve our version of the American Dream, but because we view marriage as a living, breathing picture of the relationship between Christ and his church (Eph. 5:22ff), and because we know that God has designed the family in a particular way. 
Likewise, it's very important for everyone to be clear on the difference between the religious and legal concepts of marriage. Voddie's paragraph above is fine enough when referencing the religious definition, but wholly irrelevant to the legal one. Like I've mentioned before, a legal civil union is between two humans (with government recognition) and Jesus need not enter the picture. If Christians really thought that marriage required the Lord's intervention then they would have probably already attempted to institute laws saying that marriages will only be legally recognized if they meet all of the following criteria:
  • Both parties are already Christians
  • The marriage happened in a church 
  • The ceremony was overseen by a priest or pastor
  • Neither party is an adulterer
  • Both parties agree to never divorce (and there would never be any legal means by which to do so unless the biblical conditions were met)
But clearly that hasn't happened. Christians are apparently fine with the status quo. It's just that allowing gays to marry each other is too far and would ruin what is already a perfect "Christian" institution.

While the design of the family promotes human thriving (Gen 1:27-28), the testimony points people to their only hope in this life and the next. As a result, silence on this issue is not an option.
Wait, somehow heterosexual marriage is now correlated to eternal hope? I'm not sure whether I should take this as a subtle implication that "all gays will be damned to hell" or as a claim that because the bible says that a man and a woman get married, and that and heterosexual marriage is popular, then the two are somehow connected and we have the Christian god to thank for that. Consider me unconvinced?

Unfortunately (and quite ironically), many Christians have been bullied into silence by the mere threat of censure from the homosexual lobby. "Oppose us and you're no better than Gov. Wallace, Hitler, and those homophobes who killed Matthew Shepard!" is their not-so-subtle refrain.
Considering I've never heard gay activists compare religious types like Voddie Baucham to Hitler, I'm just going to call Godwin's law on this one. Of course, if it were the case that Christians were actually being bullied into silence, I'd be the first to try to shut that down.

There is no legal, logical, moral, biblical, or historical reason to support same-sex "marriage." In fact, there are myriad reasons not to support it. I've only provided a few.
No logical or moral reasons to support same sex marriage? Small misunderstanding here. That's not how our country works. We're not given rights - we assume all rights unless they're explicitly denied to us. So to the last sentence: I think he needs to provide a few more. And make them legitimate next time.