Friday, July 01, 2005

Bigotry [See Update Please]

For those who have followed my ranting over the last couple of days, I would like to clear up one thing. I do not believe that opposing equal marriage necessarily makes you an anti-gay bigot. It is a matter of simple observable fact that all anti-gay bigots oppose SSM, but I understand that not all of those who are anti-SSM are bigots.


It's hard for me to develop an argument that opposes equal marriage while simultaneously acknowledging the normalcy of homosexuality. Does such an argument exist? Probably. No doubt all of the non-bigoted types who oppose SSM believe they have an argument. I just can't think of one.

Last night on The Situation (MSNBC), Tucker Carlson said what I think is probably the most pointed and truthful comment on SSM I have ever heard on television. He said (paraphrase alert!):
Gay marriage will continue to be accepted, gradually, all over the world. The reason is that those people who are against gay marriage--and that includes me on some days--cannot come up with a good argument against it. Many people, perhaps most, have a visceral opposition to gay marriage, but there does not seem to be a very good reason to be against it. Until someone can come up with that reason, gay marriage will continue to be approved in country after country.

I agree--only I happen to believe that there is no good reason to oppose SSM. But maybe there is, and I just can't think of it. Fair enough. So if you oppose SSM, I don't think you're necessarily a bigot.

UPDATE: I have been insulting and thoughtless, and for that I apologise. There are of course excellent religious arguments against SSM. Many people whose opinions I respect therefore oppose SSM on religious grounds. These friends and family members are not bigots. They are instead faithful Catholics, Mormons, Jews, etc. Their opinions deserve respect, and I have failed to provide that. I'm sorry.

However, as I explain in the comments below, I do not believe that religious justifications for laws are enough. I require secular justification for government policy--else how do we choose which religion to believe? The United Church and some Anglicans support SSM, after all. The opinions of religious Canadians matter just as much as my opinions, of course. But in my opinion, Canada ought not be governed according to religious precepts which lack secular backing. A law against thievery may be religiously appropriate, but we should only make stealing illegal because we can make a secular argument against it. A law against Sunday shopping? No dice. I know it sounds silly, but I put SSM in the same category as Sunday shopping: against the rules of many religions, but not against any secular principle I can name.

My religious friends are emphatically not bigots. Again I regret implying otherwise. But neither can I subsume my rational judgement to your faith.

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