Saturday, January 24, 2009

A more nuanced approach

Interesting how the discourse over same-sex marriage has evolved. Increasingly, cooler heads are prevailing and the focus now seems to be on developing a strategy for talking with all those frightened folk who voted for Prop. 8. One thing is sure. We need to recognize these people are not all of one mind. We need a more nuanced approach.

I’m working on it.

Here’s my current thinking. I trust you’ll understand it’s a work in progress.

As I see it, there are three types of arguments made by Prop. 8 people. Let me list them one at a time and suggest an appropriate response in each case.

Argument 1:
I don’t know why, but I just don’t feel right about two men or two women kissing each other.
Response 1:

Note this argument seems to be made far more often by men than by women. Women seem to understand that two people kissing each other is a pretty good sight when you consider all the ways people have of insulting, threatening, battering and eliminating each other. Remember also that heterosexual men comfortable with their own sexuality usually find gay sex somewhere between curious and amusing. And hot, if it's between two women. And that means you’re probably
dealing with the other kind.

Suggest there are different strokes for different folks and ask them if they have ever watched two men really go at it.

Argument 2:
I have to take steps to stop you people from doing it and from having your so-called relationships approved by the state, because that’s what God wants me to do.
Response 2: (this one is physical, and requires no analysis)

Remove your shirt, or do this fully clothed if you are shy. Lean forward and bend your knees as if you customarily walked on your knuckles. Rub your fingernails up and down your ribs on both sides, jump up and down and make jungle noises.

Argument 3:
I don’t know why you people should have special treatment. You have the same rights we all have – to marry a person of the opposite sex.
Response 3:

Recognize this is a person trying to be logical. Avoid all suggestion that there is a special place reserved in hell for people who make this argument. Remember all the “Intelligent Design” people out there, forced to get all pseudo-scientific because it’s simply too embarrassing to make Argument 2.

Remember also that while intelligent design is often put forward by the people who wouldn’t know the scientific method if it bit them in the ass, this argument is characteristic of a much craftier sort - lawyers working for the Catholic Church. Click on Catholic Answers in Support of Proponent Interveners on the Amicus Briefs list, about three-quarters of the way down the Jan. 16 list. On page 9, you'll find:
Proposition 8 is not discriminatory because it applies to all men and all women equally.
Since they are trying to be reasonable, try reason in return. Inform them that there are people called homosexuals, distinguished from heterosexuals in that they tend to relate sexually to people of the same sex. Inform them that these people sometimes go completely insane if their sexuality is twisted and they are psychologically programmed to believe they should hate themselves for how they feel. And even those who don’t go insane tend to roam the world poisoning the wells and ruining your hair by leaving it under the dryer too long.

If that doesn’t work, ask them if they think it would be fair for the law to require crucifixes in synagogues on the grounds that everybody has an equal right to worship the Messiah.

If that doesn’t work, use Response 2.

As I said, it’s a work in progress.

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