Apologies for my regular readers. This one will be almost entirely political with very little connection to my usual topics, although personal bigotry sometimes comes up in tenure cases.
I debated putting this up over on A Vote for Science but the overlords begged us to stick to science politics and not turn that into a generalized political ranting blog. [ Update 10/28/08: I gathered enough science-related thoughts to put another post up at A Vote for Science on this topic. ]
Consideration of California's Proposition 8 and the arguments for and against does not encourage your humble narrator to rational discourse.
From the California voter guide site linked above, here's what we're talking about:
ELIMINATES RIGHT OF SAME-SEX COUPLES TO MARRY. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT.
* Changes the California Constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry in California.
* Provides that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.
Now, you all are big kids and I'm sure know all of the context here. If not, you can google it up in a trice.
What I'm concerned about here is the logic. It sucks. Completely and totally. I am waiting, begging someone, anyone, to explain to me how these efforts are not just about hatred for our fellow citizens.
I've been listening. Really, I have. So far, I have this.
Traditional Marriage. Hah! This argument betrays a woeful and perhaps intentional misunderstanding of the history of marriage and marriage-like social relationships.
Ruinzed Marriage. Really. I'm racking my brain trying to sort out all the threats to my marriage. In terms of things that affect my relationship with my spouse, gays also being able to marry is like eleventyfuckinggazillion, eightquadrillion and seventy six. Seriously. How exactly is this supposed to work? How does it compare to other marriage threatening events like money woes for the poor and working classes, mortgage threats, healthcare crises, stress of childrearing in our modern world, the "me" generation, etc, etc, et cetera ad nauseaum.
"Against Nature". Please. A woeful misunderstanding of animal "nature", the history and present status of human behavior, recent biological, sociological and psychological evidence on what it means to be "gay". Also, I have a REALLY hard time getting past the comparison to the Loving v. Virginia US Supreme Court decision. You know, the one that struck down laws against marriage between individuals of different apparent races? In 1967? Do you remember your history? Did you live through that era? Are not the current arguments hauntingly familiar? Trust me, they are. Did inter-racial marriages RUINZ marriage, society and children? Hell no. We academics and scientists know this as well as anyone- I don't know that I have stats but at a big research U community it becomes hard to find kids running around who do NOT have parents of different apparent races.... Go visit this blog for more expanded thoughts on the mixed-Americans and of course razib is always posting some mixed-race hottie or other who contributes positively to many people's lives.
Child Rearing. Nope. First of all, any social stigma is....wait for it....caused by the anti-gay forces themselves! So score that one for the antis not for the supporters of civil rights for Gay-Americans. The science, meaning the child development specialists, trends toward "no problem". Those of us who have children out and about in the child's social world in a decent sized city also have our anecdotes. And from my limited anecdotes, no problem. Nice well adjusted children of Gay-American families. Gay-Americans who are also going out and fostering, adopting and caring for children who need parents. I have no problem there either- kids need parents and adoption is a VeryGoodThing in my book. Single parents, divorced parents, need-to-be-divorced-but-aren't parents, jerk-parents, reluctant-parents....the list goes on and on of potentially adverse circumstances for children, many with actual evidence of harm. So why should a state be singling out one unsupported theoretical threat for a constitutional amendment?
I'm sure there are other classes of arguments and I'd like to hear something that sounds halfway rational. Have any of you Californians heard anything that makes any kind of sense?
Because from where I sit, all I hear that makes any consistent sense in any of this is the following:
"I just don't like gay people, in fact I fear and hate them."
Honestly. And here's the thing. In our USian secular society we don't have a policy of taking away rights of our fellow citizens just because we can or because we don't like them. It is not the American way. Even if we have stumbled in our past or failed to live up to the great promises at present, we don't do this.
You will recall from your history books that even slavery and women's suffrage issues were surrounded by (crap) rationalizations. The argument was not "just because". And now, most Americans find the argument that other people should be chattel because of the shade of their skin or their place of origin wrong. Most Americans think that women are quite capable of voting in a way that will not RUINZ! our country. We have, as a population, shed many, many of our bigotries and mis-beliefs in the name of equality, democracy and civil rights. We look back and often sneer at those wrongheaded and ignorant views of past generations.
Well, I'm sneering at the H8rs right about now. What on earth is wrong with you people?
Feel free to blog this issue, even if you aren't a Californian and heck, even if you support Prop 8 (tell me where I'm wrong here, please). If you think this is wrongheaded you might even donate to the No on 8 effort.