03 August 2010

New alchemy


"Let us, first, stipulate that the very endeavor of comparing "gays" and "blacks" is inherently problematic, incomplete and exclusionary. Still, I think some general truths can be teased out here. First, gays are presently waging an imminently just fight for the right to marry within their own community."

"Much worse, the comparison with interracial marriage actually understates the evil of reserving marriage rights for certain. Banning interracial marriage meant that most black people could not marry outside of their race. This was morally indefensible, but very different than a total exclusion of gay people from marriage. "

"A more compelling analogy would be a law barring blacks, not from marrying other whites, but effectively from marrying anyone at all. In fact we have just such an analogy. In the antebellum South, the marriages of the vast majority of African-Americans, much like gays today, held no legal standing. Slavery is obviously, itself, a problem--but abolitionists often, and accurately, noted that among its most heinous features was its utter disrespect for the families of the enslaved. Likewise, homophobia is, itself, a problem--but among its most heinous features is its utter disrespect for the families formed by gays and lesbians."

"The family is not just a building block of civilizations, but a defense against civilizations which, so often, prove themselves unworthy of such a name. Thus gay marriage is, to me, not about converting relieve homophobes of their burdensome ignorance, but, at least in part, about the right of gays to defend themselves against that ignorance."

Naturally as someone who supports this cause, this is a compelling narrative despite somewhat defusing the ridiculousness of our historical bans on interracial marriages as a side comparison to be made. The big question is still largely the same though: "I would like to marry this person, is that okay?". That strikes me as a question we should have very few limitations on. Don't marry children, don't marry two kids together, don't force or use fraud to make people to marry you in a false choice, etc. I need not even get into the "don't marry an animal" stupidity that somehow many homophobes think is somehow the next moral "depravity" herein, though the moral case against polygamy does need to be addressed somewhere.

And it seems very useful to have a defence ready against intolerance of our choices brought by others built in by the very choice itself being a person we might count upon, rely upon, befriend, and associate freely with for our mutual enjoyment, pleasures, contentment, and so on, and that in the end, this would be a person we might build a home, and call what resides in it a family, with. That some among us would have large or small families, would live garishly or simply, would live publicly or privately, or ultimately would seek out consensual partners we ourselves do or would not approve of does not seem very important in the scheme of things here. People will always have different tastes and appetites for their private lives and partnerships. It would seem quite silly to require people to marry another person in a heterosexual marriage contract that they had not wanted and could not be expected to to abide by that contract with on the notion that we as the general public find the pairing generally acceptable to our purposes (whatever they may be, honest or nefarious or somewhere in between). Why would it make sense then to extend this same arrangement to gays and lesbians, that they must somehow form couples which we approve of, but which they do not?

Moreover, the fact that we, instead of interracial marriage rights which in some parts of the country are still barely significant in practice anyway (see: South, American), may have to contend instead with the nature of slavery to draw a firm comparison to the treatment being extended to homosexuals by denying a basic human want and need (for recognized and sanctioned companionship and the rights and privileges that are extended for such things by the general community) is a much harsher analogy to raise anyway.
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