Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Things under the bonnet of the gay marriage opponents.

I have been posting all around this matter. Its about time I got it out short and simple. On Crooked Timber, Henry Farrel posted an interesting discussion of a Slate article by Richard T Ford. The post discusses an analysis by John Sides of some attitude studies to see what correlates with opposition to gay marriage. The post is worth reading. Fords article is worth reading. There is one place where Ford comes close to saying one thing that I have for some time considered a likely hidden fear or hidden agenda that makes the "defending marriage" rhetoric seem so right to the righteous matrimonialists:
Marriage is something people do for many reasons and among those reasons is to draw on the status of the institution to borrow an enlargement and improvement of their own standing in their community. The less significant people feel and the less secure they feel about who they are, the more important this assumable aspect of identity becomes. There is a not too abstract ideal of marriage with which they identify because it will come to identify them....and these people typically would not want to be in any way identified with gays.


cul said...

In case you miss the comment to yours I left on my site:

sorry for the delay...

ok...I read just about everything (including the comments) related to the links you provided and the bottom line appears to me to be that anti-SSM sentiments are majoritively reactionary and a product of fear based bigotry regarding gender roles, rationalized by irrational religious precepts.

The Pew Poll at Alas,a blog ( was revealing:

A) 28% Morally wrong / a sin / the Bible says

B) 17% Against my religious beliefs

C) 16% Definition of marriage is a man & a woman

D) 12% It's just wrong / I just don't agree with it

E) 9% Homosexuality is not natural/normal

F) 4% Purpose of marriage is to have children

G) 2% Bad for children

H) 2% Opens the door to other immoral behavior

I) 1% Undermines traditional family

J) 1% Don't have stable, long-term relationships

K) 1% Causes economic/legal problems

L) 3% Other

M) 4% Don't know/Refused

GreenSmile said...

Taking these numbers apart, in a wildly optimistic what if:

A. if the churches that hang out the rainbow flags converted their nominal co-religionists [lets call it a non-hostile take over], this category goes to near 0

B...see A

C. Their is cultural bias in this sentiment beyond just the religious prooftexts but if everyone faced their own history honestly, the fact that marriage has been many things and changed over the years according to the times and customs [eg. where is bigamy now days] then they'd have to admit it is just the myth of conservatives that some particular definition is not dated but absolute. This number would drop well below 10 in more cosomopolitan and better educated samples.

D this 12% may mostly be reporting a revulsion that hides their own doubts...get them to therapist and watch that number go down.

E. Pure ignorance is natural, so's homosexuality...educate people and this is 1 or 2 %

F. Manifestly NOT the case for some hetero couples so why force that straight jacket on gay people?

G. Bad marriages are bad for children. I have friends who are gay and been married as gays for years...I went to the wedding. They adopted and let me tell you, those kids could not have had more caring or savvy parenting. The problem the kids have is when they leave the house and go to school in an upper middle class suburb that is only spared from lilly whiteness by a small minority of Asian and Indian families: someone forgot to tell the rest of the kids that the talk about tolerance, not the stuff their folks try to keep to themselves, is what counts. [WILDLY optmistic]...
It was not until these kids were 11 or 12 that they came home with reports of other kids saying "nobody else has two mommies".
If people who are so glibly holding on to a "they are not like us" attitude actually got to know some of the people they have herded into a mere category..this number would collapse.

There are interesting things to say about the rest but its only 5% for the lot.

The sum of all responses is only 93%