Thursday, September 02, 2004

What's So Special about Special Rights?

In a talk with Governor Bill Owens of Colorado on C-SPAN's Washington Journal this a.m. a gay man called in voicing concern about his rights in Colorado.

In response Govenor Owens, in as sweet a way as possible, reminded the caller that the Republican party is not for giving special rights. Are equal civil protections for same-sex families special rights? I'm really asking. It seems like such a silly argument to me that I feel I must be missing something, and honestly it wouldn't be the first time that has happened. Anyway, in support of his position he ticked off two of the five verbal blocks I tend to hear most often for denying marriage rights to same-sex couples.

He pulled out: "100 years of jurisprudence" (the more secular sister of "thousands of years of Biblical teaching") and those pesky activist judges.

For the curious, the other three I hear most often are:

"What, no procreation?"

"Thousands of cultures all over the world--who,by the way, we think should change to be just like us--can't be wrong!"


"Help! The gays are trying to destroy my marriage!"

Fortunately, I think we are pretty safe from the legalization of same-sex marriage. Just as the Bible gives good directions on how to own slaves, it makes perfectly clear that homosexual couples should not share marriage-like relationships. As some folks are prone to point out, 2000 years of traditional Christian teaching can’t be wrong.

Now 1865 years of Christian teaching, that’s a different story. Everybody knew that was how long we needed to rethink the slavery issue. And, of course, we were allowed 1964 years to rethink equal rights for non-white people. But 2000 years? What kind of statute of limitations do homosexuals think God has?

Besides all this, the argument I’ve read that gay folks shouldn’t be married since they can’t naturally produce children is pretty sound. I realize that taking that point of view also means dissolving marriage rights for post-menopausal women and young couples who find they can’t conceive, but is that really too great a price to pay?

So even though some same-sex couples want to support the institution of marriage by taking part in it, we needn’t worry. I believe time and the number of fertile women in the U.S. are on our side.

Later I'll try to uncover the devlish nature of activist judges and consider how most cultures can't hold a candle to the U.S.-- except in the marriage department. I honestly can't decode the logic of how same-sex marriage hurts heterosexual marriage enough to argue against it. Anybody got any clues for me about this position?


Blogger potterdad said...

So, Troy, what is so special about special rights? While you used this question to jump off into your own pet issue, you opened a whole different can of worms. You never answered the question you posed. Does your friend in Colorado deserve special rights? And, is he asking the right person (Gov) if he feels he is somehow not getting them. In my opinion, unless something specific has happened to this fellow, then I don't think so.

To use one of your favorite groups as an examples, there are many "far right" christians who may wish to tell someone they are headed for the lake of fire because they -- oh, you pick it -- call God by a different name, love the wrong person, whatever... BUT that doesn't change the fact that that person is still a Child of God and entitled to all God's goodness and blessings, no matter what anyone else says.

In the same way, your Colorado friend should operate with those same expectations...he is entitled to all the rights and priviledges as anyone else and should go about his business in just that way no matter what anyone else says! Now, when something happens that concretely proves that that is not happening, well, I guess we'll need to get into that discussion about those pesky activist judges, huh?

5:13 AM  
Blogger Troy said...

You're right Potterdad. I didn't answer my question for a lot of the same reasons you aluded to (and also because it was really just a catchy title conceit). But as you say it is the disconnect between what some people consider special rights and what I consider basic rights that ultimately leads people to a judge's courtroom.

I hesitate to call the judges who end up presiding in such cases "activist." In my mind, one cannot be an activist unless you are doing what I am doing, which is deliberately trying to change the opinions and behavior of others. Judges interpret the law and their interpretation does at times alter behavior. But that is true of all judges--the kind who Bush would appoint and otherwise. So either all judges should be considered activist or none should be. Do you see exceptions to that very emphatic statement? I suspect there are some.

I think the Colorado caller was asking the Governor not for help, but to find out his reasons for supporting the FMA and probably to get him to state his opinions in a very public forum so that annoyed folks like me would stay up late thinking about the implications.

8:10 PM  

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