Gay Marriage, Geometry And Cheeseburgers

The thing that drives me nuts the most about the same-sex marriage debate is the fact that so many of its proponents insist on equating “opposed to same-sex marriage” with “homophobic”.  These are radically different concepts.  Islamic leaders who think homosexuals should be executed?  Those are homophobes.  However, calling someone a homophobe simply because they oppose same-sex marriage is lazy thinking that is generally a symptom of not having a logical argument to make.

Don’t get me wrong:  there are plenty of homophobic* people out there.  Far more than the number of racists, despite attempts by the Left to assign that status to anyone who disagrees with Obama on anything.  That said, it is quite possible to be against same-sex marriage for perfectly logical and non-bigoted reasons**.

Personally, there is only one group of people whose sexual orientation I give one-tenth of one crap about, and that would be women I am interested in dating.  Obviously, if I am going to date a female, she has to be heterosexual.  Otherwise, it is completely irrelevant to me.  I would like to think that this is the goal of most homosexuals:  to simply be treated like everyone else, especially in aspects of life where their sexual orientation is irrelevant.

That said, there is one statement of fact that must be made:  Same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples are different.

I’d hope the reaction of most people to that statement would be, “Duh.  Of course, they’re different.”  However, there are some who cannot read that without thinking that I am automatically assigning an inferior status to the former with that statement.

A brief digression:  In geometry, if one plots points along a vector and labels the origin to be zero, then each other point plotted can be given a value relative to its distance from the origin.  So if I pick two points along the vector, one can interpret one point as being “greater than” another based on its distance from the origin.

However, if we start graphing with a second dimension, the ability to determine value changes.  If I plot the points (x,y) = (3,4) and (x,y) = (4,3) on a standard two-dimensional grid, these sorts of relations make no sense.  Both points are the same distance from the origin (0,0), but are they equal?  No.  They’re different points.  One’s x component is greater, the other’s ycomponent is greater, but there is no way to judge one point as being “greater than” the other.

The point of this digression is that the inference of the inferiority of one type of coupling based on the observation that they are different is very much one-dimensional thinking.***

Two questions follow from this:  “Why are they different?” and “Is that difference relevant to the concept of marriage?”

The answer to the first question is simple:  The primary difference between a same-sex couple and an opposite-sex couple is that the latter can procreate and have a natural family.  To people like me who are against same-sex marriage, this means that the answer to the second question is, “Yes,” because we believe this ability to be very special and very important.  While a same-sex couple can adopt a child, this isn’t really any different from a single person adopting a child; it requires no union of any kind to do that.  Actually creating a child that is part you and part your partner is special, and unfortunately for the homosexuals, they were not granted that ability by our creator.

That being said, I personally do not see this distinction as a reason to deny same-sex couples the same sorts of legal rights that married couples enjoy.  The legal aspects of marriage such as insurance coverage and hospital visitation rights and the like are perfectly applicable to a same-sex couple, and this is why I support the concept of a “civil union” or a “domestic partnership” or whatever term you wish to use.

So why not just call it “marriage”, you ask?

Time for another digression:  Let’s say that you recently decided to become a vegetarian, but you are at a barbecue and the host (who is unaware of your recent conversion) asks if you want a cheeseburger****.  You reply, “Sure, I’ll have a cheeseburger, but it will have to be without the meat.”  If you do that, then you aren’t having a cheeseburger; you are having a cheese sandwich.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with a cheese sandwich, of course, but you’re missing a rather vital ingredient if you want to call it a “cheeseburger”.  Being a vegetarian means you can’t have a cheeseburger, and calling a cheese sandwich a “cheeseburger” doesn’t make it one.  Likewise, the societal construct of marriage (as opposed to the legal construct) is simply not relevant in the context of a same-sex relationship, and as a result, people like me don’t believe that such a union should be called “marriage”, because it is missing a very important component.

Same-sex marriage advocates may disagree with the importance of the ability to procreate, but this distinction we make does not come from hate.  As I like to say, “It’s not bigotry; it’s just biology.”  I (and many others like me) want same-sex couples to have the legal rights that apply to them, but we don’t want the term “marriage” to be redefined just because it doesn’t happen to fit their biological abilities.

If you read the above and disagree with my opinion, that’s perfectly OK.  If you read the above and declare me to be a “homophobe”…well, then you’re an idiot and I can’t help you.  Sorry.  (Sometimes you just have to call it like it is.)  :-)

(Crosspost.  Just established this blog…feel free to drop on by if you liked this post.)

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* — Frankly, I’ve never liked the term “homophobe”, because I find it misrepresentative.  The term implies fear of homosexuals as opposed to prejudice against them, but those who coined the term wanted that equivalence, incorrect though it may be.  It’s very clever on their part, but incorrect.  That said, it has become the accepted term, and we have to roll with it.

** — Polling relative to same-sex marriage has always been generally flawed in that it only offers two options.  I would like to see the results of a poll that asked whether people were either: a) against same-sex unions entirely, b) for same-sex marriage, or c) for same-sex unions but against calling them “marriage”.  That would be more useful in the discussion.

*** — This is much the same problem that the feminists ran into, which is why feminism hit a wall and has regressed to a fringe movement over the years:  People recognize deep down that men and women are different, and trying to make them equal doesn’t work, yet the feminists can’t grasp that this doesn’t mean that we see women as inferior.

**** — Yes, I know that in light of current developments, a chicken sandwich reference may have been apropos, but the cheeseburger/cheese sandwich analogy just worked better.  :-)

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• merrie7137

I just don’t believe it exists. Two men can’t be married to each other. End of story. Or two women. Because marriage was instituted by God and it was intended for one man and one woman.

That doesn’t mean it’s OK to discriminate against gay people or mistreat them in any way. And a lot of the reasons gay people claim they want marriage would just be good for all people, regardless of sexual orientation. Leaving a woman to die alone in the hospital when a friend/lover/whatever is kept outised is just stupid. And you should have the right to leave your money to your wife, gay lover, cat or local televangelist as you see fit.

• kipling

One does not have to be married to enjoy visitation rights in a hospital. And the right to leave your money to any heir you choose already exists. The left and homosexual activists simply use many of these arguments to muddy the issue.

In point of fact, our tax code and some governmental regulations actually penalize traditional marriage and the traditional family.

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• avgjo

The term ‘homophobe’ is a tool of the left. (And yes, I’m including supposedly conservative members of the homosexual activist wing. They are perfectly willing to use the tactics of the left in their quest to mainstream their proclivities and so are no better.) Really, when you break the word down to its meaning, it is incoherent. (Sorta like ‘gay’ – why do homosexuals hide behind that word?)

I notice that you have a problem with the term.. Where I disagree with you is that we have to use it. Instead of accepting that whatever false construct the left promulgates is now the reality, we should offer an alternative construct.

As for your assertion that you can be opposed to SSM for logical and non-bigoted reasons… could you give me an example of a bigoted reason to be against SSM? Further, if I regard homosexuality as a sinful proclivity as opposed to the propagandized* version of it as a genetic trait, am I a bigot? (Please note, I am asking this question in a phlegmatic way; it is not loaded or heated, just direct and straightforward. )

I wonder sometimes if the current acceptance of homosexuality among many in the conservative movement and the strident efforts made by those on our side to qualify their opposition to homosexuality/SSM is not so much borne of moral conviction as it is of a successful propaganda/smear/intimidation campaign… it is for this reason that these issues are important to me.

The analogy you draw from geometry is interesting. I think though that evaluations of superiority/inferiority might be made from a 2-d graph depending on what data is being represented and how it is interpreted. For instance, take your points (x,y)=(3,4) and (x,y)=(4,3) and plot them on a graph where x is time put into study and y is grade received. I think it is then obvious that the first point indicates a much better result than the second (three hours of study and a grade of four vs. four hours of study and a grade of only three). That raises the question of whether a superior/inferior method of study was applied, superior/inferior retention of material, etc etc etc

(Not trying to nitpick here, it’s just that I’m always very cautious when dealing with analogies between mathematical constructs and human reality.)

And no, I certainly wouldn’t mistake you for a homophobe. Although after readng this, you might still think I’m an idiot ; )

I enjoyed your well thought-out and carefully articulated article. I hope you don’t mind me borrowing (with credit due) your statement ‘It’s not bigotry; it’s just biology.’

* At least what I perceive as a propagandized version.

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