A blogger called Don Allan has decided to ‘take aim’ at same-sex marriage. I could have posted a comment on his blog, but this is likely to be long and I doubt he’d publish it anyway.
I thought it would be informative if Allan’s objections to same-sex marriage were reframed as a (circa 1960s) argument against inter-racial marriage. Let’s see how his argument stacks up in this context.
To clarify, I have used Allan’s anti same-sex marriage argument, but replaced ‘homophobic’ with ‘racist’, ‘same sex’ with ‘inter-racial’ etc. To be fair to Allan, who was arguing against same-sex marriage – not mixed race marriage – I have indicated my changes to his text in red:
“Without knowing anything about me some people call me racist because I oppose inter-racial marriage. … I am blind to people’s colour, ethnicity, and sexual make up. So as the name callers now have this information I invite them to create a new name for me.
But …. before they start creating a new name, let [me] advise them that I am agnostic and my opposition to inter-racial marriage is based on historical evidence that, even in pre Judeo Christian societies, marriages were seen as special contracts between people of the same race, that age and circumstance permitting, could create racially pure children. Because of their importance, society called them marriage contracts, a title still observed, even in the world’s least sophisticated societies. And so racially pure children are born.
However, children’ s real racial make up [does not become an issue] until later when sexual attraction[comes into play]. The result: humanity becomes a complicated mix of races. This mixture of races often causes complications in society for the individuals concerned and their families.
One such complication is that some, but not all, people of colour, claim they are being denied their human rights because American law says people of different races cannot marry.
I can only say I have never thought of “Marriage” as a human right although it has become a “rite.” Marriage for me has always been a contract that millenniums ago, came to be recognised as the title created by society for people of the same race joined in unions that would be responsible for racial regeneration.
Speaking as an individual, I believe all human beings are equal, but different – and not just racially. But believing all people are equal canot hide either the differences or the scientific fact that no laws can ever make non–whites genetically the same as white people. By the same token, it was society that created the title marriage, not a God of religion.
Sadly at times, the difference between the different races leads to discrimination that must be eradicated for the benefit of society. To do this I believe that education programmes that help teach people to be blind to the colour, ethnicity and sexual make up, should start as early in childhood as possible.
And also as a means of reducing discrimination, inter-racial couples wishing to contract with each other should rejoice and celebrate their difference with couples of the same race, rather than both groups engage in hostilities that are anything but a tribute to humanity …
[I have omitted the last couple of paragraphs because I could make no sense of them but you can read them here.]
I have used the following quote before, but it bears repeating when we get this kind of ‘I am not a racist’/ ‘I am not homophobic BUT …’ argument. It, too, comes from the 1960s when African Americans were fighting for civil rights in the same way homosexuals are fighting for equality today. Consider this cloying statement signed by eighty ministers from Arkanas explaining the Church’s opposition to integration:
“This statement is not made with any enmity or hatred in our hearts for the Negro race. We have an abiding love for all people . . . [But] [w]e believe that the best interests of all races are served by segregation …We resent the implication by certain liberal ministers that it is un-Christian to oppose integration. We believe that integration is contrary to the will of God … is based on a false theory of the ‘universal fatherhood of God and the universal brotherhood of man.’ We believe that integration is not only un-Christian, but that it violates all sound sociological principles and is not supported by Scripture or by biological facts.”
Does anyone truly believe, despite their earnest protestations to the contrary, those ministers were not hateful, narrow-minded, racist bigots?? Why, then, should we believe anything better of those who use exactly the same kinds of arguments to oppose same-sex marriage?
Allan’s argument simply makes no sense. There are many traditional practices that have changed over time as we have become better, more inclusive societies. There is no need for tradition to tie us to unjust laws once we have realised they do not serve the greater good or unnecessarily harm minorities.
Similarly, marriage has never been confined only to those who can have children – so it is disingenous to argue that homosexuals should not be able to marry because they cannot reproduce. Does Allan also suggest that someone who is infertile should only be allowed a ‘civil union’ and not a marriage?
Finally, Allan’s insistence that he is ‘blind’ to people’s colour, ethnicity or sexual ‘make up’ rings hollow when he uses the old segregationist canard, ‘equal but different’. Remember, that and ‘tradition’ are the same arguments the Catholic church uses to explain away their discrimination against ordaining women. Even most Catholic women don’t buy it as anything other than sexist, misogynistic crap.
Sorry Don, you may not like the epithet, but you have failed to convince me you aren’t just another homophobe hiding behind a rather large pile of paper-thin arguments.
Sugar coat it however you wish, Allan.
You are a racist, sexist, homophobe.
The bias in human history is so friggin obvious to us in retrospect. Your article was superb in reflecting the inequality that still exist today. Sometimes its best to look back and prove the idiocy of those that think it is OK to exclude others (it’s just plain cruel and unjust). You showed how absurd this stance on same-sex marriage really is. Love your work Chrys!
Gag! I find people who spew this condescending garbage worse than those who just come out and voice their opposition without trying to gussy it up – at least they’re honest. This guy is just hubris and homophobia all in one neat package, and a Cheshire cat grin, too, no doubt.
“I believe that education programmes that help teach people to be blind to the colour, ethnicity and sexual make up, should start as early in childhood as possible.”
Than the kids grow up and, rightfully, wonder why on earth only homosexuals aren’t allowed to marry. He can’t even see the flaws in his own ‘logic’.
Good response, Chrys – but just be aware that your papraphrase can be hi-jacked by the god-botherers and the lunatics, and quoted out of context as support for the exact opposite of its true sense. Answersingenesis.com: http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/tools/quotes.asp are the worlds greatest experts at this kind of shifty, under-handed plagiarism and mis-representation. Secular/Atheist/etc. writers putting their own work up on websites need to be aware of the sneaky way in which their work can be mis-applied. It’s ery much in the grand old Chritian tradition of quoting the bible out of context – but the answersingenesis crowd have found a new use for their traditional skills.
The only way to avoid AiGs bullsit is not to write anything at all. After all you just wrote “Good response, Chrys shifty, under-handed plagiarism and mis-representation.”
Once again Chrys, a superb article, keep them coming.
Not sure if being ‘blind to colour, ethnicity and sex’ is such a good thing. I have heard arguments that people of different races do NOT want the ‘default’ position on race be ‘white’. They want to be acknowledged as being who they are, proud of their heritage and culture. I too think it necessary for my ‘sex’ to be acknowledged so that the default position NOT be ‘male’.
Being aware of the difficulties of being gay in our society brings with it a necessary sensitivity to the ignorance, vilification and lack of respect that should be accorded them without the default position being ‘hetrosexual’.
So being aware of the difficulties of not being white, hetrosexual or a male in our western society affords us a way of accepting and supporting those who are ‘different’ from the default position. Thank goodness the default position of ‘Christian’ is being diluted!!
Wonderful piece, Chrys, showing up the stupidity of this man’s position.
* should NOT be accorded them with the default position being ‘heterosexual’. (Sorry)
Well said Chrys
Below is my reply just left on his blog
I will be interested to see if it gets a comment from him 🙂
Perhaps I can help, if you actually do study ancient history and various cultures around the world you will notice that in many pre christian societies homosexual unions are very common and often have similar marriage rituals to that of heterosexual unions.
So the basis of your objections as stated ” my opposition to same sex marriage is based on historical evidence that, even in pre Judeo Christian societies, marriages were seen as special contracts between heterosexual males and females, that age and circumstance permitting, could create children. Because of their importance, society called them marriage contracts, a title still observed, even in the world’s least sophisticated societies. And so children are born.”
Are really not valid.
Yes most societies thought of male and female sexual unions differently but this is more because of the desire to know the father of any child than any other reason.
This was important for inheritance and to prevent inbreeding in smaller tribes and groups.
The term “Marriage” could just as easily be applied to pre christian Greek and Roman unions regardless of if they were heterosexual or homosexual so by your reasoning there should be no separation today.
“Roman social customs are relatively well known, and same-sex unions existed as high in society as among Roman emperors. Roman statesman Cicero also documented legal rights of an individual within a same-sex marriage. Female same-sex unions seemed to have been less common, but only because women enjoyed less freedom in their economic and social endeavors (Eskridge).”
if this is in fact your only objection I do hope you post a blog explaining why you have changed your opinion and that you now support same sex unions.
if not please let me know your reasons, I would be fascinated to know them.
Oh and a child’s genetic makeup is determined pretty well at conception ( unless there is some cause of genetic damage that occurs in utero.
Oh, very nicely done!
I argued along the same lines in ‘Infertile couples mustn’t marry!‘. I am very grateful to the buffoon Michael Jensen from Sydney Anglicans for help with, ahem, some of the phrasing.
I posted this on Allan’s site yesterday. Apparently it is still awaiting moderation
You say “it was society that created the title marriage”.
Surely that means society is free to re-define marriage as society itself changes? Societies have changed from monarchies to democracies, from women as chattel to women as equals. Why should marriage be the sole institution immune to change?
Pingback: 42nd Down Under Feminists’ Carnival « Pondering Postfeminism
Pingback: Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’entrate. « Darling Michele