Thursday, September 05, 2013

Zack Ford on Why the Bishops' 'New' Anti-Marriage Equality Strategy Won't Work

Zack Ford, editor of ThinkProgress LGBT at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, has written an informed and helpful critique of the U.S. Catholic Bishops' latest set of strategies on how to argue against marriage equality. He concludes with the following, which outlines his reasons for why none of the bishops' arguments or tactics will work.

There isn’t much new in the [U.S. Catholic] Bishops’ new strategy to oppose marriage equality, and it suffers from the same fatal flaw as all the past strategies. (Unsurprisingly, the National Organization for Marriage thinks highly of the Bishops’ resources and talking points.) Just like the other set of “new” conservative talking points against same-sex marriage, this rhetoric discounts the lived experiences of actual gay people and their families.

Nothing the bishops describe about opposite-sex couples’ relationships is uniquely true to them, and to assert otherwise is nothing short of heterosexual supremacy, i.e., straight marriages are better just because they’re straight. The only option for the entire gay community is to live out their lives without love, and there is no consideration whatsoever for the thousands of children already being raised by same-sex couples.

The Catholic [hierarchy] defines a very narrow vision of the world that simply excludes gay people, and all it can hope to do is prevent Catholic people from learning about them from the rest of society. Maintaining ignorance for the sake of discrimination in the age of information is not a realistic goal.

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
A Head and Heart Response to the Catholic Hierarchy's Opposition to Marriage Equality
A Catholic Statement of Support for Marriage Equality
Tips on Speaking as a Catholic in Support of Marriage Equality
Responding to Bishop Tobin's Remarks on Gay Marriage
Progressive Perspectives on Archbishop Nienstedt's Anti-Gay Activism
Good News on the Road to Emmaus
A Message to NOM and the Catholic Hierarchy
At UST, a Rousing and Very Catholic Show of Support for Marriage Equality
Marriage: "Part of What is Best in Human Nature"
Daniel Helminiak on the Vatican's Natural Law Mistake
A "Fruit" Reflects Upon the Meaning of "Fruitfulness"
Stop in the Name of Discriminatory Ideology!
A Conservative Catholic's Contribution to the Journey to Marriage Equality
Beyond Respectful Tolerance to Celebratory Acceptance
Joseph O'Leary Responds to Carson Holloway's Arguments Against Gay Marriage
Daniel Maguire on Catholicism’s "Long History of Demeaning Sexuality"
Celebrating Our Sanctifying Truth
Catholic Church Can Overcome Fear of LGBT People
The Many Manifestations of God's Loving Embrace
Beyond the Hierarchy: The Blossoming of Liberating Catholic Insights on Sexuality
Be Not Afraid, You Can Be Happy and Gay

1 comment:

Paula said...

Thanks to Zack Ford for bringing attention to the "new" anti-marriage equality arguments and to you, Michael, for posting. The arguments rely on the essence of marriage. For people who argue from essences, everything has one and it can be defined. Having defined the essence of X, we can see that all things called X have to be the same. To a person who argues "essences" the following question is not thinkable: why should we assume that marriage has an "essence"? Maybe physical objects have essences, but do human behaviors like sex and social arrangements like civil marriage have "essences"? Even if it is valid for a person or a culture to construct a beautiful essentialist framework around a social arrangement like marriage, what is the necessity for everyone's believing that marriage has an "essence"? Why is it not valid for the state to accept the self-identification of its citizens as persons in a "married" relationship and recognize it in law? The fact that a significant number of citizens has claimed that identity through many years of suffering and have through their persistence and argument succeeded in persuading a growing number of other citizens gives their claim a growing legitimacy. Why does the state's defining marriage to accommodate the reality of its citizens' lives negate the Church's definition of marriage for its members? Heterosexual procreative union in lawful marriage is very beautiful. So is same-gender union in lawful marriage. Why can't the society thrive in recognizing both? I'd say the problem with the Church's essentialist thinking is that it shuts out a lot of reality. If the Church intuits a real problem with same-sex civil marriage, I wish they would find a way to articulate the intuition that makes sense.