Andrew Sullivan has another video in the Ask Maggie Gallagher Anything series. In this one, she is asked:
In states where same-sex couples have been allowed to marry, what harm has been brought to individuals or society at large?
Maggie names a few issues, but for now I want to focus on this one:
You see the idea and the ideal that children need a mother and father beginning to be redefined as the equivalent of a racist or mean or hateful idea. That’s on top of the problem of the silencing or the — which I’ve already talked about — the way religious institutions and religious people who in good conscience can’t treat same-sex unions as marriages begin to be treated as pariahs.
This is Maggie’s persecution theme, one that our opponents are pushing like crazy, one that I think they’ll use in their next strategy: Overturn marriage equality in the courts as a violation of their religious freedom. But I want to tell Maggie this:
If people are calling you a bigot and equating you with racists, the problem may not be with same-sex marriage, but with the quality of your crusade against it.
So here, Maggie: these tips may help you and the National Organization for Marriage and the rest of your allies in your quest for gentle and civil treatment.
- Don’t denigrate same-sex parenting with studies that didn’t examine same-sex parents.
- Don’t pretend people are denounced merely for opposing same-sex marriage, when in fact they’re calling gays and lesbians immoral, depraved, America-hating creatures comparable to murderers and rapists, who reduce their children to trophies and cannot love their partners.
- Don’t invite speakers onstage to say gays are “worthy to death.”
- Don’t use your website to promote the message that same-sex marriage represents the modern day evil works of Satan.
- Don’t use bizarre and horrifying contortions of logic to argue that giving marriage to same-sex couples will obscure its connection to children, but giving it to infertile opposite-sex couples will not.
- Don’t raise money by lying to your own supporters about same-sex marriage.
- Don’t refer to same-sex couples as sinful, unfortunate, dysfunctional people who can’t love each other — or their kids — the way straight couples can.
- Don’t congratulate someone for their courage in saying gays “shall surely be put to death.”
Maggie, when your conduct is cruel, insulting, irrational, and downright dishonest, people may start to wonder about your character. What else are they to do? This is not an ad hominem attack. That’s when people criticize the speaker instead of examining their arguments. No, this is opposite: people are criticizing you because they’ve examined your arguments. The problem is not inherent to the issue. It’s not us, Maggie, it’s you.
And Maggie, if we are sometimes too quick to paint our opponents as hateful and bigoted when they don’t deserve it — well, that’s wrong, but you have to share in the responsibility. You’ve made yourself the most vocal and famous warrior against same-sex marriage. That makes it hard to distinguish you from those of our opponents with kinder, gentler, and truer hearts.
Okay. Take a breath. I have more to say on that video, but I wanted to give this a blog post all its own.