Gay Marriage Debate: Roach Responds
Friday, February 25, 2011
Voting on marriage
John Bartlett wrote:
[…]If we vote on marriage for same sex couples, let’s vote on everyone’s marriage. Should opposite sex couples be allowed to marry? Should people of different religions be allowed to marry? Should people unable to produce children be allowed to marry? Let the people have their say over ALL marriages not just one kind.
This is a straw man argument. Here’s the current definition of marriage – a man and a woman joining together to create a family. This has been accepted, from both a legal and moral standpoint, with various states having marriage laws explicitly stating what it is on their books. In other words, marriage between a man and a woman has been voted upon. In fact, there needs to be a vote to change the definition of marriage because…you guessed it, states have by and large already established what marriage is. So saying that we need to rewind the clock and vote on heterosexual marriages is grasping at straws.
David Grossman makes some interesting points:
First of all, the Supreme Court has already indicated (17 times) that marriage is a civil right of every American.
Did the Supreme Court, in any of those decisions define what marriage is? If marriage is the union between a man and a woman, then heck yeah, every single person has the right to marry.
[…]When has the majority EVER supported civil rights for the minority?
I think I cited one example here in Rhode Island in 2006. This is an anecdotal assumption not backed by fact. EVER is too strong because history shows us this can and has happened. Regarding your comments on “sexual orientation” we won’t agree on those points and it’s a pretty wide gulf. If you believe something is innate that I believe is a choice, your logical leap to “it’s a civil right” is illogical to me and vice versa. Unfortunately, I do not believe there is a way to bridge this chasm.
[…]Straight people will STILL marry straight people if gay couples can marry. Or am I missing something? The ONLY change is that gay people will be able to marry gay people.
I really think you’re missing my point regarding redefining marriage and its implications. Just by your quote above you’re essentially saying marriage is any two people who want to enter a union. I simply don’t believe that to be the case. And if it was this simple, why are so many opposed to it? I’d really love to see if you’re able to answer that question.
Ken Fish’s comment is only worth this note…rather than “truth twister,” keeping with the theme MINDTwister would have been more apropos I think. Don Roach, GoLocal MindTwister™.
The 3/5ths argument
From Matther White:
Very strange that he would say that minority rights CAN be addressed by the majority, and then IMMEDIATELY bring up the 3/5ths clause. Um, the 3/5ths clause do NOT support your argument.
My point was the rights of the minority (black folks in this case) were decided by the majority (whites) during the writing of the Constitution. I don’t agree with the majority decision, but my point, my major point, is that in our society the majority has conferred and constricted rights upon minorities since the beginning. It’s how our system works save for a few Supreme Court cases that have turned laws on their heads. I’m not sure how this doesn’t support the argument I was making.
The real question is, referendum or legislation? The voting rights for the historically disenfranchised groups you mentioned were all secured through legislation at the federal level.
Indeed, and I believe we still have Civil Rights Act legislation every so often in order to maintain the protections voted in the 60s. Again, I prefer referendum so that legislative mood swings don’t mean we can easily go back on fundamental changes. I have no problem with the Rhode Island legislature voting on this issue as they do hundreds of others, I just believe a referendum will be more permanent.
From Pro Democracy:
[…]Clearly Mr. Roach is opposed to marriage equality and he should do the intellectually honest thing and say it rather than burying his bias in this pseudo historical nonsense. What a joke!
I am opposed to gay marriage. I support democracy. And that support says if the mass of people want to redefine marriage, then so be it. I’ll continue to work to persuade and be a voice for those of us who are very happy with the present definition of marriage. I think that would be the most honest thing I can do.
From Norman Dostal:
Black bigots-they still blow me away!
When I first read this I was drinking a cup of tea. Two seconds later I was wearing my tea. You can’t throw out a comment like “black bigot” as your opening line! Build up to that. Seriously, when that’s your opening line, this is your final salvo:
[…]So sad-as their Lord said, ‘Forgive them-they know not what they do”
This was ironic given your opening statement. I am not a bigot, I do not support gay marriage. If you are saying that I am a bigot because I do not support gay marriage then you are essentially saying more than half the country are gay bigots. I actually posed this question on RI Future some time back and the answer given by poster “Queer Action RI” was that someone who did not support gay marriage was not necessarily a bigot. Heck, I don’t believe someone who doesn’t support interracial marriage is a racist!
What is sad is that you link the two without having any knowledge of my personal history or interpersonal relationships with gay people. To put it to you a different way, I have a friend who is a perennial “player.” I don’t support his lifestyle but I love him as a friend. Am I a bigot against “players”?
Compared to Pontius Pilate
Michael Gardiner brings up an interesting, if inaccurate point:
The mindsetter argues for the “Pontious Pilate” school of leadership. As if to say, “Let the crowd decide.”
Pontius Pilate wanted nothing to do with deciding the fate of Jesus. I certainly want something to do with deciding the fate of marriage. I have “skin in the game” and an opinion on the matter, but I believe in our democracy such that I would like the answer to be definitive. And the most definitive instrument we have at our disposal is a constitutional amendment voted upon by the citizens of this state. I don’t plan to wash my hands of the decision process as we move along this journey….at all. And I consider it offensive to equate being enslaved with redefining the term marriage.
General Assembly has ‘weaseled’ on the issue
And finally Joe Bernstein writes:
The General Assembly has to take a vote on this issue-they’ve weaseled for years now.[…] A referendum is more appropriate for such issues as the state name change or transportation bonds,etc.
While I agree the GA has “weaseled” on this issue for years, I find that our state’s legislature loves to leave for tomorrow what it can avoid today in almost every circumstance. Again, I don’t have a huge problem with the legislature voting on this issue, I do have a problem with random judges making the decision. Yet, I still think a referendum is the way to go.
Again, thank you all for commenting. This is going to be a major issue over the next few months here in Rhode Island. I really am asking you on the pro gay marriage side to refrain from hurling insults at folks like me. I’ve got thick skin so it doesn’t bother me, but there are others in the state who won’t take too kindly to being called a bigot because they believe marriage is between a man and a woman. And those folks will call their legislator (as they should) and consider you folks to be people who are arrogant and ignorant of what marriage is about.
Rather than seeking to persuade people like me through vitriol, try to convince me your perspective is correct through rational debate. I’ve never been one to think I have it all figured out and we’re all on this bus ride together. Just because we don’t always agree doesn’t mean we can’t learn from each other. And just because we don’t agree doesn’t mean we can’t respect each other’s opinions.
- Gay Marriage: What’s Wrong with a Referendum?
- Is ‘Conservative’ a Bad Word?
- Time for Compromise on Immigration
- Gist’s Days Seem Numbered