Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Slavery-Apologist Argument Against Marriage Equality

I encountered the following in the politics subsection of an unrelated message board.  I was going to post the quote in its entirety and respond after (because I think it raises several good talking points), but I think it is simply too large for me to be able to do that effectively.  I have chopped the entire post down to the relevant portions and fixed the punctuation for readability's sake.

All of these social issues that are a total waste of federal resources and an abuse of federal power [and] should be designated to states in their entirety. marijuana, abortion, gay marriage, etc. Everything.  It does NOT belong at the federal level. It is dividing a country and creating hatred and mistrust and everything that spells anarchy between states and people based on goddamn lines on an electoral votes map. 

I know people will be upset if states get to regulate social issues because then they still feel like someone else is in charge of their bodies, civil rights, whatever. Here's the deal. you can choose what state to live in. I'm sick of hearing comparisons of gay marriage and right to choose to slavery. It's not the same, it will never be the same. When the north got rid of slavery....the slaves escaped or moved to the north. Then when things cooled off, they went where they wanted to be. No, it's not fair to them. but it's not fair to the millions opposed in a region that people with completely different cultures want to change them.

Wait...did he just say it was unfair to the pro-slavery south that the abolitionist northern culture wanted to change them?  That abolishing slavery wasn't a wrong that needed to be corrected right fucking now but needed to come about through gradual social change?

That point barely holds any weight if you assume that every single LGBT individual is an independent adult that is completely in control of their situation.  The "move if you don't like it" argument does absolutely nothing to address the thousands of LGBT minors and their elevated risk of suicide, FOUR times higher than their peers, and EIGHT times higher if their parents reject them.  In fact, by saying that those states should be allowed to treat LGBT people HOWEVER they want in the name of states' rights is encouraging those numbers to balloon even further.  Or to borrow a phrase from Dan Savage, if you endorse such an issue, you live your life on top of a pile of dead gay children that you've helped construct.

Things won't change overnight. no one should be shoving their shit down the opposed throats. Change takes time. If this power were granted to the state, I would imagine that a huge chunk of states would start allowing those things within their borders. Then it's a bleeding effect. 

Oh it's a bleeding effect all right...  This entire point is beyond stupid.  If you're not fighting for change, how exactly is it supposed to happen?

I haven't studied Europe, but i'm sure Alex can comment since I know he's only reading political stuff anymore- but i highly, highly doubt that everyone in each respective country immediately [supported] all of these movements at once. It's also fair to point out that the size of our country and historic geographic distribution of wealth dictates that we'd have several very distinct cultures at once. Those small European countries that everyone uses as a model are equivalent to getting Mass, NY, NJ, and RI on the same page. It's not that difficult. 

Don't mind if I do.
  • Since 1993 (19 years) - 23 European countries pass Civil Unions laws
  • Since 2000 (12 years) - 8 European countries pass Marriage Equality laws
  • No anarchy or world wars in that time.
  • Since 1992 (20 years) - 17 states (and the District of Columbia) pass Civil Unions laws
  • Since 2004 (8 years) - 9 states (and the District of Columbia) pass Marriage Equality laws
  • Anarchy date TBD.
Now granted 20 years is a long time, but given that it took roughly 100 to go from "slavery is bad" to "hey blacks are people too," that's a pretty immediate change.

The comparison to Europe is pure gold.  The United States is more contentious than Europe because of its geographic distribution and historic cultural influences?  Where did all those people come from again?  It's a shame that American history classes glaze over the time period leading up to the Revolutionary War.  There were colonies that HATED each other because of the influences of their respective European ancestries.  In college I lived with exchange students from Spain and the UK, and frequently conversed with others from Germany, Austria, and France.  While their time on foreign soil created a certain sense of unity, there were several that HATED each other because of their nationalities.  Hell, the British kid, one of the more mild mannered people I've known had to be kept from getting into a fistfight with someone from France.  While European countries have a history of working together for the common good, it's a good bet that most Europeans would laugh in your face if you told them that USA regionalism trumped European nationalism.  Ask a Czechoslovakian, or a Yugoslavian.

Please, for the love of God, do not tell me I hate gays, that I don't get it because I'm an entitled heterosexual white man, or anything like that. It's bullshit.

Well, when you argue against LGBT rights because it will get the majority of the population all hot and bothered, what conclusion are people supposed to draw?  When you ignore the elevated suicide rates of LGBT teens and say that the people in their hometown should be able to treat them like crap, how do you feel about gays?  That it's more important to you that the majority of a state's population feels okay than it is that LGBT individuals be afforded the right to not get fired for their orientation, and the financial benefits to assist in raising their children kind of answers those questions, doesn't it?

You're right, being a part of every majority doesn't mean that you're prejudiced, or biased, or incapable of being an ally.  But it does mean that as a straight white cis-gender male, you do not have the fundamental understanding of what it's like to be non-white, LGBT, or female.  Sometimes that means absolutely nothing. There are great allies to a variety of minority communities that aren't members of those communities themselves.

And sometimes it means you think as the above poster does.

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