Who’s really driven by hatred in the ‘gay marriage’ debate?

Many on the political left dismiss people who support traditional marriage, comparing them to bigots driven by race and hate who seek to harm a hated minority.

But just this week, an organization of people who have known true discrimination (as opposed to meeting resistance while pushing a political agenda) made the comparison in the other direction. As the saying goes, “What goes around comes around.”

On Tuesday, the Coalition of African-American Pastors (CAAP) launched a nationwide “Marriage Mandate” campaign, including a push for 100,000 signatories to an online pledge in support of traditional marriage, during a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The CAAP organization is “a grassroots movement of African-American Christians who believe in traditional family values,” and it “is not affiliated with any political party or religious denomination.”

The Rev. William Owens, founder and president of CAAP, was quoted relative to the pushback against Chick-fil-A over comments from that restaurant chain’s founders as follows:

Some people are saying because of the position that Chick-fil-A has taken that they don’t want them in their city. It’s a disgrace. It’s the same thing that happened when I was marching for civil rights — when they didn’t want a black in their restaurant, they didn’t want us staying in their hotels. Now they’re saying, because we take a Christian position, they don’t want us in their cities.

The Rev. Owens’ comments raise an important, and oft-ignored, question: Who is really being motivated by irrational hatred in the “gay marriage” debate? Is it those who profess a belief that supporting traditional marriage is both best for society and in line with their personal religious beliefs? Or is it those who attack the people and organizations they disagree with as bigots and who then further seek, in the name of “tolerance,” to exclude the people and organizations with whom they disagree from society?

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  • http://www.cedarcitywineclub.com Larry The Wine Guy

    What if the people who didn’t want blacks in their restaurants said it was because of their religious beliefs? Whose rights would take precedent? The right of a black man to dine at his restaurant of choice or the right of the restaurant owner to deny him service?

    • Derek H. Monson

      Larry,

      The rights that would (or should) take precedence would be those that were most crucial to maintaining a free society. In the case you bring up, that would be the right to live as a free and equal member of society regardless of race – an observable/provable inborn trait which is not inseparably connected to any particular social behavior…a description which is not applicable to an individual’s sexual preferences, which gives your example limited usefulness in the debate over religious freedom and sexual rights.

      Derek Monson

      • http://www.cedarcitywineclub.com Larry The Wine Guy

        As far as “observable/provable inborn trait” not being connected to an individual’s sexual “orientation”, that is not provable (nor is it provable the other way, to be fair). However, what about a trait that is not inborn, such as religious preference? Should a Catholic, for example, be denied service because of a restaurant owner’s religious beliefs that denigrates Catholicism? Religions can be changed (and happens quite frequently, which cannot be proven to happen regarding sexual orientation) and using your argument, it would be legitimate (even if not legal in the US under our Constitution) to deny service to a member of another religion.

        • Derek H Monson

          Larry,

          But the “provability” point is crucial, as it relates to laws governing discrimination. If you look through the list of things that Utah protects from employment discrimination, for instance, they fall into one of two categories: 1) provably inborn traits that define, in part, what it means to be a human being (e.g. race, sex, age, nationality, etc.) or 2) social institutions that produce real, tangible social benefits and that have a history of severe discrimination in our history (religion).

          If someone wants to argue that homosexuality should be protected as an inborn trait, they ought to be able to actually prove that it meets that criteria. On the other hand, if they want to argue that it should be protected like religion, they ought to show how homosexuality has a history of discrimination comparable to religious discrimination in America (e.g. where someone could legally have their property taken from them, and in some cases their lives, for no other reason than because their religious beliefs were socially frowned upon), as well as show that homosexuality produces significant social benefits on par with those of religion.

          And this leads to an answer to your question about religious preference. As a social institution, religion is something that has long produced tangible benefits for society, namely the social norms and moral culture that has proven to be a bedrock for a functioning free society. This point has been recognized by political thinkers going back to the Founding Fathers, and is supported by empirical research. This is a primary reason why free religious expression is explicitly protected not just in state and federal law, but in the constitution itself. This reason – the need and benefits in a free society for free expression of religion – is why it would not be legitimate to allow religious discrimination in the way you bring up.

          Derek Monson

          • larrythewineguy

            Why create a connection between social institutions that produce real tangible social benefits and have a history of discrimination? Why not treat them separately? You have determined, despite lack of evidence, that homosexuality is a social issue. You merely state that it is not inborn. Yes, there are people who can procreate with the opposite sex, despite having no real desire to do so.

            This hurts women, by the way. To require a man to marry and procreate with a woman despite lack of desire is to condemn the woman to a loveless life. The act of sex can be, and frequently is, mechanical. It’s a lack of respect for women that insists that a man must marry a woman.
            Just as people of one religion can hide that fact and pretend to worship in an acceptable way. If you choose to discriminate, the burden is on you to prove that it is totally a choice, and even more, prove that such choice is harmful to society.

            But homosexuals have had property taken away. They live their lives together, but the IRS says that when one dies, the other has to pay for the house they have shared for 50 years. They lose jobs, which is quite common, at least in states that do not prohibit it. And yes, they have lost their lives for that same reason.
            And if you wish to include social benefits, there is significant benefit it joining two people together. This reduces (though doesn’t eliminate, just as in heterosexual relationships) sexual promiscuity and produces economic stability. Just look at how many cities have upgraded neighborhoods as a result of gay couples sharing a home.
            If you assume, as you imply, that homosexual relationships cannot be a bedrock of a functioning free society, then you have created a straw man argument and are using that to continue to discriminate and ultimately hurt society as a whole.
            You are using the argument that only religious people can create stability and then point to religious people as proof that they are needed to produce stability. You point to empirical research to prove your point, but you omitted the links this research. You use state and Federal law as proof of your point of view. But you can’t use existing law to prove that existing law is proof of its correctness. Look at other societies that condemn homosexuality the same way they condemn Christianity. It’s not their way, so it must be wrong.

          • Derek H Monson

            Larry,

            This last post of yours kind of went all over the place and was hard to follow at points, so you’ll have to forgive me if you don’t think I responded adequately to every point you were trying to make.

            Concerning your first question, you’ll have to clarify it for me. Are you asking why create a connection between protections against religious discrimination and other proposed forms of discrimination protection? Or are you asking why create a connection between beneficial social institutions and historical discrimination?

            I always chuckle a bit when I hear some form of the line “why are you making an issue of someone’s homosexuality?” Advocates for “gay rights” push not only to allow homosexuals to marry, but also for laws that would give homosexuals rights few others enjoy (by adding “homosexuality” to anti-discrimination laws), and then you think I’m the one making it a social issue for talking about it. Amazing.

            No one is pushing for laws that “require a man to marry and procreate with a woman.” If a homosexual man has no desire to marry a woman or have children with a woman, he is at perfect liberty to make that choice. Of course, if he wants to have children, nature and his genetics dictate that he’ll have to choose to involve a woman in some way…nothing about marriage or discrimination law can change that, but nor does law require a homosexual to make that choice.

            But I give you creativity points for trying to tie together the political causes of homosexuals and feminists…build those coalitions wherever you can, I suppose.

            Concerning your burden of proof point, I’m not choosing to discriminate, so I don’t see what your point is.

            If a homosexual cannot get their house when their partner dies, it is not because they are homosexual. it is because they have failed to take advantage of the legal means – known as joint ownership – available to protect their ownership of the house. This is a matter of personal responsibility, not sexual preferences.

            And yes, homosexuals do get fired sometimes…as do heterosexuals and members of every other group in society. It’s a terrible reality of life that creates a lot of hardship for people, but it’s also an unavoidable part of life. Even with anti-discrimination protections, homosexuals are still going to lose jobs.

            Further, because I can only assume this is the point that you’re getting at, just because a homosexual loses a job does not mean that he or she was fired because they choose a homosexual lifestyle…no matter how much the employee feels that way about it. In this country, fortunately, we ask for real evidence before condemning someone for doing something wrong.

            The real question here is why would anyone want to make someone’s sexual preferences a matter of consideration in employment? Because if you give homosexuals protection via anti-discrimination law, that’s exactly what’s going to happen. After all, what employer wants to risk a lawsuit when they can avoid it simply by firing the heterosexual employee?

            If the social benefits from marriage simply boil down to “joining two people together,” then why stop at “gay marriage”? Why not also legalize incestuous marriages between two consenting, sterile adults, or polygamous marriages in which there is no abuse or other lawbreaking going on?

            The answer, of course, is that the social benefits of marriage are about more than “joining two people together.” Social science has shown, and continues to show, that this is the case by comparing the outcomes of married couples to unmarried couples (“joined together” in fact, if not by law). And if you want evidence that this is so, I would refer you to our Natural Family Database, which is available on our website.

            And you’ll have to point me to the study or article detailing the many cities and neighborhoods that have been renovated by gay nuptials…I have to admit, that’s a novel argument that I haven’t heard before.

            I don’t include links in any comment string after a blog post because, as I understand it, our blog host doesn’t allow for that kind of functionality, and I think including a URL in its entirety really clutters up a comment. But since you asked, below my signature at the bottom of this comment you will find URL’s that take you to some empirical research on the matter in question.

            Finally, concerning your last paragraph, you twist my words around a lot to argue that my points don’t make sense…ironic given that you charge me with creating straw-man arguments. For instance, I don’t argue that “only religious people can create stability.” I argue that religion and religious freedom are essential components of an authentically free society. Nothing in that statement says that religious people are the sole source of social stability.

            As a second example, if you read my previous comment again carefully, you’ll see that it is the constitution’s protection of religious liberty that I was using as my real evidence, not state and federal law. The first amendment has been in place since the founding of our current government, and is evidence that this country has always recognized the need in a free society to protect the institution of religion and religious liberty.

            If I were a psychologist, I would be tempted to say that your accusation of me using straw men is more likely a projection of yourself on me.

            Derek Monson

            http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/1996/01/bg1064nbsp-why-religion-matters

            http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2006/12/why-religion-matters-even-more-the-impact-of-religious-practice-on-social-stability

            http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2008/08/the-difference-one-church-can-make

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