HOW TO ARGUE FOR MARRIAGE EQUALITY—AND WIN
Are you an ineloquent civil rights crusader? Do you turn unflattering shades of red when confronted by those who still think same- sex marriage is icky? Get a little sweaty? Incoherent? Fear no more. Here’s a quick how-to guide on how to confidently crush the babblings of any homophobe unfortunate enough to cross your path. Here’s how to disassemble the smoke and mirrors of a marriage-inequality argument and reassemble your sense of self worth.
First, engage. Nod appropriately. Say things like ‘oh, that’s interesting’ and ‘well, that’s one way of looking at it’.Try not to laugh. Second, identify your opponent’s slogan of choice. Finally, respond appropriately. The following are simple and effective responses to the most common arguments. Knowing even just a few of them will put you in good stead to successfully serve up some wisdom their way.
The Slippery Slope Argument: This may manifest in phrases such as ‘if a man can marry a man, then what’s to stop him marrying a dog’ or ‘it’s practically legalising paedophilia!’ This is a goodun’—but crucially flawed in that kids, animals, dead people and inanimate objects all lack something that people don’t—the ability to give consent. Thus, they exist in separate categories and should be treated as such.
The Bible Says So: Ah yes, the Bible says a lot of things, doesn’t it? And sometimes, it’s wrong about them. Beating ladies? Killing people? Slavery? These are all subjects to which far more time is dedicated than homosexuality. And since society deems these practices pretty much intolerable nowadays, one can only conclude that the Bible is thus open to revisionist thinking. And think of all the nice stuff Jesus said about minorities and love and equality and stuff. ‘But Gen! How can you presume the true meaning of the word of the Lord?!’ That’s right, and maybe you shouldn’t either.
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Being Gay Isn’t Natural: Oh, don’t be silly. Of course it is. It’s been observed in nearly 1,500 species of animal. Now, they can’t all have had bad relationships with their mothers, or been sexually abused as children or whatever hog-wash is often used to paint human homosexuality as abnormal. So if polar bears can be okay with a bit of lezzy action, so can you.
But It Will Redefine The Institution of Marriage: Yes, it would. And that would be a good thing. Let’s have a look at this proud tradition of marriage that’s so worth preserving: Viking weddings were literally kidnappings, English weddings—property transactions, Roman weddings—usually just sex and a party. Marriage has been consistently reinvented to make it stronger, better. Not so long ago, this majority realised that allowing interracial marriage was a pretty decent improvement. And what do the majority of people today think will make marriage better? If Stuff polls are anything to go by, the people want equality.
Why bother? Gays Already Have Civil Unions: You’re right. We do. And they sort-of-ish do the trick. Except for, you know, being able to adopt and—oh yeah! Being married! It’s tokenistic and old fashioned, but its sorta nice—being able to celebrate love in such a socially and legally recognised way. When you think about it, what’s between your legs is such an arbitrary basis to deny a couple the right to the recognition of their love.
Gay Marriage is an attack on my religion: Freedom of Religion is a funny thing. It means being allowed to do your thing, while others are free to do theirs, without infringing on others or being infringed upon. Gay marriage rather ironically preserves this. Your church has the freedom to keep being backwards and awful, and the gays have the freedom to frock up and tie the knot. Presumably their god thinks it’s okay. Thus, opportunity for all. And if all this fails, remind them that we live in a secular state for a reason.
A Marriage is between a Man and a Woman: “Gays can’t get married because they can’t have babies.” Then, let’s requrie hetero blushing brides to undergo fertility tests, and ban the marriage of couples who have no intention of procreating. Maybe ‘P in the V’ made sense in some distant and harsh era of human history when pumping out spawn was necessary for survival, but we live in an era of overpopulation and IVF. Welcome to modernity.
Think of the children: Yes, lets. Let’s think of the gay kids for whom the law currently reinforces the idea that they are less than ideal. Let’s think of the gay kids who are six times more likely to attempt suicide than their hetero counterparts. If the law prefers another kind of relationship, then why shouldn’t mum and dad? Why shouldn’t your mates? If we want to prove that gay isn’t just okay, it’s equally okay, then marriage equality would definitely do the trick.
So, let’s ban The Bachelor, divorce, shot-gun weddings. Hell, let’s ban marriages between incompatible, unloving couples before we decide that what’s between your legs constitutes that you’ll be a bad wife or husband, mother or father. And next time someone tells you that you don’t deserve wedding bells and a big party, I hope you’ll feel a little more prepared and empowered to fight the good fight.