Friday, March 29, 2013

In the Light of DOMA, Please Help Me Understand, Why Are So Many People So Mouth-Frothingly Opposed to Gay Marriage?

I love learning from all of you.

On an intellectual level, and as a student of American politics, I understand the controversy over the Supreme Court's soon-to-be ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act.

Much of politics is about the mobilization of emotion towards the support of a specific public policy goal. 

In trying to mate those two statements, I am at a loss to relate to, explain or understand, the deep hostility that so many Americans, conservatives mostly, of a certain age, have towards gay marriage. Andrew Kirrel's comparison of how the objections towards gay marriage are almost identical to those historically made against interracial marriage is spot on. Ultimately, I wish I had written that great piece

Please do not misunderstand me: In my opinion, I can give a mighty good talk on the public policy aspects of both the debate, as well as the human rights issues involved with gay marriage. On a personal level, I just do not "get" the opposition to something that is so patently obvious to me, in the sense that the State has no compelling interest in narrowly defining marriage, and because the United States is not a theocracy as such, "God's will" should/does not hold much influence over how I view political matters.

Marriage is a type of public good that ought not be able to be denied to adults at the age of consent, and the "consumption" of which does not detract from another person's ability to "use" marriage. The politics of the colorline long-operated with a principle that the ability of people of color, and black Americans in particular, to "consume" freedom took away from that "right" by white people. The opposition to gay marriage works through a similar ugly and specious logic.

The United States, like many other countries is in a crisis of resources, economics, and vision. Given all that we have to worry about, my intuition has always been that we need to mobilize the best of all of us, the full range of human capacity, and to create strong families, which in turn, can build and improve social capital. 

There are many arrangements to that end. 

Our political values are a product of home training and biology. My parents were not perfect people. Nor, were they saints. I most certainly am in neither category. My parents, being of a certain generation--this is not an excuse, rather it is an explanation--made gay jokes.

For example, my dad embarrassed me at an awards dinner by telling one of my guests, who of course was gay, that there were "fairies" he worked with at Yale University. God, I wanted to disappear under the table. My guest wanted to laugh. Good man that he was, he simply winked at me.

Pops, a man in his 70s at the time, then surprised me by saying that there were "queens" and "gay guys" in the Army with him in World War 2, they fought pretty hard, and no one really cared, when as he said, "shit was going down." "Let bygones be bygones and be happy."

 So why do so many people hate on them so many years later? Folks paid their dues leave them alone. I was impressed by my father's practical wisdom.

My mother was a bit more progressive. I do not recall her ever making any gay jokes. She ain't no saint. Trust me. 

But, I have never heard her hate on gay folks. I do however remember her going outside the duplex we lived in and cursing the local police who were savagely assaulting a gay couple and calling them hateful slurs such as "faggot." I was about 8 years old at the time. 

My mom called 911. I distinctly remember her telling the operator that there were police officers beating innocent gay people and laughing about it. The cops were embarrassed. They stopped. Police supervisors appeared. Our gay brothers came and sat on the porch of my family home after moms told them to come be with her so those "pigs" wouldn't beat on them. 

We as citizens are not privy to the internal thoughts and moods of our peers. I am not judging anti-gay types, per se. I am quite literally not able to understand the rage and energy spent on hating other folks who love and desire those of the same sex. Our genitals are not our identity; where we choose to put them is a private matter. Moreover, who we love is not something to be negotiated or arbitrated. It is part of who we are. 

I would hate to be reductionist and suggest that homophobia is driven by repressed self-hatred and same sex desire. As the long arc of history casts a shadow on those who oppose gay marriage, I am increasingly of the thought that such an observation about the psycho-social roots of homophobia may in fact be accurate.

Our country is in decline. Why are so many on the Right (and elsewhere) committed to wasting precious human capital and energy on fighting about how other people have coitus and experience love? Teach me if you would (please spare me any explanation that has to do with religion and "my faith teaches me.." I am not interested in how people use mythology to inform decisions about public policy in a secular society) about the opposition to gay marriage, and how it can be justified through an appeal to reason, the Common Good, and the Constitution.

Why not just say get your freak on, be happy, be married if you choose, and make good, productive, happy citizens to get us all out of this mess?


Henry Thoreau said...

As an informed black man, such as yourself, I would have thought you of all people would know where MARRIAGE LICENSES COME FROM. But you don't. So why are you even forming an opinion on what you don't understand. Have any opinions on the history of genetics as well? Those religious bigots do, because they discovered it.

Here's a hint negoid. All this fuss is because of you.

It's a segregation license. Government has no authority over marriage of any kind. Not in the Constitution. Not in the Bill of Rights. Not anywhere. In fact, the 1st amendment prohibits it. "Free association" is clear. Marriage is the domain of the People(Church), not Government.

Moral people are angry, because like you, they don't know history. You are two halves of the same igtarded coin. You're apathy towards marriage is no more intelligent than the pissed masses that think sodomy is called sodomy for a reason.

L2READ your own fucking history and you will see that the premise, in total, is false. It's government playing one group off another.

Next, and mark my words- next, it will be polygamy, beastiality, and pedophilia. If you think this is crazy, go to any Islamic Shithole that your liberal friends adore, and you can witness this first hand.

Wavenstein said...

The answer is quite simple to me. Gay folks can't mass produce more white babies. The same logic was behind the illegalization of interracial marriage until the 1960's. The U.S. Supreme Court is simply doing it's part to preserve whiteness and all the privileges that go along with it. There is no white incentive in legalizing gay marriage. How does that help or maintain the "master race?"

chauncey devega said...

A self-delusion. alternatively, let us assume that it isn't about nostalgia for a second. why the prurient fascination with other people's sex lives and bodies--we can extend this to women's reproductive rights too--by all of the supposed "freedom" lovers?

Magda Kamenev said...

My mother was a God-fearing Baptist who didn't talk much about LGBT people or homosexuality in general. But the few times she did, there was an unmistakeable tone of disgust in her voice.

I think, for religious opponents, it's hard to separate out the religious bases from the secular ones. From my POV, it's very much tied in with American exceptionalism and Manichean thought and remnants of Calvinism. Others' mileage may vary.

CNu said...


The "phobic" reaction is all about disgust. The human collective security clubs which call themselves socially conservative and religious are the paramount filters/sorters/aggregators of this particular brand of deep visceral disgust.

Hasn't a damn thing to do with manichean, calvinist, racist, exceptionalist, blah, blah, blah..., but has everything to do with an culturally amplified and tuned instinctual disgust reaction.

CNu said...

No. Homosexuality is an epigenetic rather than genetic tendency. It's based on intrauterine exposure to hormones which accounts for its universality and pervasiveness across all human societies.

Homosexuality conduces to group fitness and in consequence of that fact is more or less accepted in different societies which either recognize or fail to recognize its contribution to group fitness. (fitness = reproductive success of the group)

Your Cress-Welsing view of reality is backward and out of touch with contemporary scientific understanding of both the biology and ethology of homosexuality.

grumpyrumblings said...

I always figured it was displaced anger for being upset about having a teeny tiny penis. Not that there's anything wrong with having a micropenis, but the folks who displace their penis envy on homosexuals think there is.

Magda Kamenev said...

But why is the disgust "instinctual"?

CNu said...

disease avoidance and consequent reproductive fitness.

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chauncey devega said...

We would like to believe that huh? Just like men with money, expensive cars, and beautiful girlfriends are overcompensating? Truth is many of them are packing and "we" tell ourselves lies to feel like the universe is somehow fair.

chauncey devega said...

and why is the disgust most intense among those who desire what they hate? classic Freudian argument?

Wavenstein said...

This is what it's all about

White folks are not having white babies and gay folks can't have white babies. So why would they extend them this "entitlement" as justice Scalia would put it?

chauncey devega said...

Privilege denied by in group and out group membership is the core variable here. Smartly pointed out! Do comment more often your voice is sharp and could be invaluable.

The Sanity Inspector said...

Many opponents of SSM simply feel in their bones, inchoately but profoundly, that it is not genuine. They can't explain why, only being able to bible-thump in response, and thereby losing the argument--or narrative, as we say nowadays. Fear of the unknown factors a big part, also. It's been said that tradition is the solution to a problem which we no longer remember. What problem was opposite-sex lifelong monogamous marriage the solution to? Will it come back once marriage is expanded to include these other forms of union?

On a societal level, I share the above trepidations, to a degree. But personally, regarding people I actually know, I'm fine with it. Like Dorothy Parker said:

As I grow older and older
And totter towards the tomb
I find that I care less and less
Who goes to bed with whom.

chauncey devega said...

Honest real talk.