Wednesday, June 3, 2009

sideswiping arguments

I just wanna say, I'm really tired of the whole gay marriage "debate." Both sides think they're right, and they've got their arguments that they absolutely will not give up, and the stupid talking heads keep parroting the same soundbites and nobody's saying anything new.

The fundamental problem here is that the two sides aren't arguing the same points. The pro side says that not recognizing gay marriage is discriminatory because it's taking away a fundamental right by not letting gays marry, and the anti side says they're not denying anything because, definitionally speaking, a same-sex couple cannot "marry"—that is, to them, based on their own personal and/or religious beliefs, a marriage is only what happens between a man and a woman; anything else cannot be called a "marriage."

Now, break that down to its simplest version, and here's what you've got (and please note, I'm using "liberal" and "conservative" as blanket terms for the purposes of easy generalization here; I realize not all liberals and conservatives think these things):

LIBERAL: Gay people must have the same rights as straight people.
CONSERVATIVE: A same-sex partnership cannot be called a marriage, because that is not what marriage means.

Now, compare those two statements, and you may notice something significant—they have nothing to do with each other. You can't argue against a point by making a point of your own that is completely unrelated to the original point. Now, the ridiculousness of this argument is revealed when somebody tries to actually properly argue against one of these points. An example would go somthing like this:

LIBERAL: Gay people must have the same rights as straight people.
CONSERVATIVE: They do! A gay man can marry a lesbian just like any other man can marry any other woman. It's perfectly legal.

Or, conversely;

CONSERVATIVE: A same-sex partnership cannot be called a marriage, because that is not what marriage means.
LIBERAL: So call it something else?

Now, you may notice, this shit is kind of ridiculous. My own personal opinion is that the government shouldn't be in the business of "marriage" at all if it's going to cause so much fuss. Clearly, the mad right-wingers cannot understand the difference between civil marriage and religious marriage; therefore, eliminate the word "marriage" for legal and government purposes and give all couples, gay and straight, the same rights across the board, and call them "civil unions" or something of that ilk. If people demand to be "married," they can go to the church of their choice and get a religious "marriage;" meanwhile, everybody else can have a civil union, which would entail the full legal rights and status of what we now refer to as "marriage" in the legal sense, and then everybody's happy. Really, it's not that difficult.

So...yeah. This is what happens when I go home; everybody's in bed at like, 10 PM, leaving me alone in the middle of nowhere with nothing but network TV, so I end up compulsively refreshing Facebook and watching Charlie Rose. *sigh* It's gonna be a long summer.