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Saturday, December 6, 2008

Bigotry, Homophobia and the Debased Marginalization of the Gay Marriage Debate

Here's how some in Hollywood see anyone against gay marriage.

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

Back in third grade, many arguments would end with this phrase, "you know I'm right". Calling someone a bigot, racist, or homophobe because of their position on any given issue is usually a cousin of the argument "you know I'm right". Whenever I write about gay marriage, I am invariably called a homophobe, intolerant, a right winger, or religious zealot. Here are a few examples.

Please, name me ONE... ONE ONE ONE ONE ONE legitimate, NON religious reason that gays shouldn't be allowed to marry.


I did not choose to be attracted to men, did you decide one day you were attracted to women? I love the person I am, therefore, I am not going to live a life of fear (like many gay people). When you start comparing gay people to people that harm animals or other people, you send a message that it is wrong to be gay. I am a teacher, where I am the co-sponsor of the Gay-Straight Alliance and when people like you give these harmful arguements you send signals to my students that they should somehow change who they are. I am sure you know the stats about teen suicide in relation to gay and lesbian youth. Stop the hate.


The Right wing has already moved toward violence toward Gays. Blaming the vicitms won't change the facts. THe intolerance is also coming from the Right. Gay couples are simply demanding the same rights as straight couples. This is, in fact, a conservative position. Marriage is a conservative institution. There is no "gay agenda" as right wingers like to scream about. The agenda is to be treated equally under the law. No church has to sign up to marry gays. This straw man is B.S. as well. Right wingers also fought integration. And lost. You will lose this battle too - because Gays have seized the moral high ground.

I've always found the monikor that I am some sort of an intolerant buffoon totally disingenuous. First, it is done by folks that make this determination by reading someone. Second, based on my history, I am the last person to ever be painted with the brush of intolerant, homophobic, racist, or in anyway bigoted against anyone. I was born in the Soviet Union. I came here when I was six years old. I then spent my grade school, junior high, and high school years being made fun of as some sort of closet Communist. Then, I got to college and spent the next four years being made fun of for being Jewish. I vowed long ago never to treat anyone the way I was treated when I was growing up and I have stood up vigorously against racism and hate since college. I am nowhere near perfect, but I can say with pride that I have always judged everyone by the content of their character and nothing else, and anyone that says otherwise is being dishonest. I have a uniquely visceral response to hate of any kind, and attempting paint me with a brush of hate is absurd, unfair and totally without merit.

Let's set the record straight. There are plenty of people that are against gay marriage because they are homophobes. There are also plenty of people for gay marriage because they are anti religious and neither is at all relevant to any real debate on the issue. That said, painting someone with the hate brush because of their stance on an issue is almost always a red herring. Rather than debating the point, what you want to do is marginalize the messenger so that their argument doesn't get a fair hearing. It's really no different than a third grader saying "you know I'm right". They don't know how to answer a point so they just marginalize the other side with an irrelevant point.

The same thing often happens in this debate and many others. Most people in any debate are simply not intellectually strong enough to stay on point for all too long. At some point someone makes a point that they can't answer. Rather than acknowledging the point, they marginalize the other side by painting them as bigoted, racist, or homophobic. That way an inconvenient point need not be answered. It's exactly what this video does. It doesn't address the legitimate concerns of those against gay marriage. Rather it dismisses anyone against gay marriage as a homophobe, and thus, they need not be acknowledged because their entire platform comes from a position of hate.

Here is the reality. If someone is truly against gay marriage solely because they are a homophobe, then their argument will inevitably be weak. It would come from a position of hate. It would have no merit. The argument could easily be broken down to its illogical conclusion without ever even having to mention the hate that it originated from. As such, painting someone as a bigot or homophobe is never necessary because the finer point of such an argument can be exposed without pointing out the obvious. As such, painting your opponent in any debate as a bigot, comes from a position of intellectual dishonesty, laziness, and weakness. It is a position I loathe and I will not stand for it.

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