Wednesday, March 27, 2013

3 Responses To Mrs. Miller

Good morning, sports fans! Morning, by the by, is here defined as "when I wake up." So bite me. Now then, I'm going to be running a Monday update schedule from here on, until such time as I am able to update more than once a week.  There may, however, come such wondrous times that I am unable to control my vitriol and must spew forth my rage for all to see before Monday rolls round once more. 

This is one of those times. 

Today, as I was writing my haiku, this blog post ran by my feed. It was posted supportively by one friend, then shared in opposition by my sister. Do go read it, it's a lot shorter than I normally am, and will take you all of five minutes, tops.

I'll wait here. With this kitten.

Source. Seen above: World Ending Cuteness
Got all that? Excellent. Onwards then!

Miller makes three points in her piece, which are as follows:

1. Countless Americans have switched sides due to peer pressure, bullying, and a fear of being seen as “mean”.

2. Those pushing for gay “marriage” have failed to define “marriage”.

3. Those who decry the slippery slope argument often confirm the slippery slope.

Millers first point is simple enough, and in fact correct. There are a great many people who have come forward in support of gay marriage not because they actually like it, but because they don't want to be seen as discriminatory. However, it presents this factoid in such a way as to imply that those who change sides to avoid being seen in a negative light are somehow weak. 

There are differences between religious convictions, personal values, and legal discrimination. Choosing to vote your religious convictions is fine, right up until those self-same convictions infringe on another's rights. At the point that you knowingly deprive a person of their legal rights, you are being legally discriminatory, not morally superior.

At the end of the day neither I, nor any gay person I personally know, give two bits and change about the Catholic position on homosexual rights. But we'd very much like to have access to legal institutions that have not a damn thing to do with religion. 

So is it a bad thing that people back gay marriage for fear that they will be seen as discriminatory? Nope. Because regardless of your personal and religious views, legally defined discrimination is not acceptable behavior in the United States. 

So when we say, "get out of the way of the law moving forwards," it really has nothing to do with your morals and beliefs, and everything to do with the fact that as a nation which supports freedom of religion, I have the right to not live by your religious codes and you do not have the right to deny me access to federal and state institutions based on your religion.

Point the second: Those pushing for gay “marriage” have failed to define “marriage”.

Here you go.

For those that can't or won't follow that link, my good friend Merriam-Webster defines marriage as: 

(1) : the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law (2) : the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage <same-sex marriage>

No, really. That's it. Nothing in there about God. If you do click over and follow the whole thing down, there's still nothing about the Bible, the Quran, the Torah, the Book of Mormon, the Principia Discordia, or the Writ of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Anywhere. 

As in the definition, and therefore literally definitively, marriage is a relationship between two individuals that is: 

We've got two of the three down. The only reason it isn't legal is because of people that want to conflate the theological idea of marriage with the legal right of marriage.

Essentially? When we say we want marriage, we want access to the same legal benefits conferred on straight couples by the US government when those couple obtain and enact a marriage license. 

Finally, this gem: those who decry the slippery slope argument often confirm the slippery slope.

You know, I'm going to absolutely confirm this one. There is a slippery slope here, but again, this is assumed to be a bad thing because it can only lead to negative outcomes. 

First off, lets take a moment to remember that we're dealing with the legal definition and institution of marriage here. That is, the set of rules and benefits administered by the US government for the purpose of binding two consenting individuals into a unit in the eyes of the various arms and branches of said government. 

Now, then: polygamy. I'd like to take a second out here to remind everyone that polygamy is Biblically acceptable. Since we're responding to a Catholic, however, that's neither here nor there as Catholicism has a massive collection of other stuff known as canon law which they fall back on. 

Head on back up to that definition for a moment. Do ya see anything there that precludes polygamy? Nope. The main reason polygamy is against the law? Because most major religions and by extension, most institutions, teach that it is wrong. Yet again, I challenge anyone to find me unbiased proof that it causes any harm, or is anyone's business but those involved.

Incest? Demonstrated to lead to genetic concerns over a number of generations with problems occurring as early as the first generation. This is a valid health concern under which a government may deny access to an institution to its citizens. 

Pedophilia? Bestiality? Ahh, but look and see: marriage must be consensual by definition. A human cannot legally consent until anywhere between 15-18, depending on your jurisdiction. An animal cannot legally consent at all. 

The funny thing about Miller's argument here is that she brings out these things, and then doesn't bother to explain why she believes they are viable outcomes to the "slippery slope" talking point. She actually hand-waves consent laws to explain why the two horrible bogeys (pedophilia and bestiality) are magically viable outcomes. 

News flash: unless we change the definition of informed consent to "inability to say no," there's never going to be legal protection for pedophilia or bestiality. End of freaking story. No ifs, no buts, it's simply not going to happen. Although, if you're really concerned about the poor kids, check this out. Specifically New Hampshire. Basically, it's perfectly legal for adolescent individuals to be married with their parents consent as young as 13 for a girl and 14 for a boy

So let's not be throwing slippery slope stones, here. You straight folks beat us to the kid marrying thing. 

Polygamy and incest get passing mentions, though only the first one is truly a viable outcome. And it's a viable outcome because the same beliefs that are currently denying the validity of legal same-sex marriage are also the only true barriers to legal polygamy.

Incest, as stated, is a health concern and non-viable. Even if it were to come up as a question, there's solid medical evidence against it as a practice (said evidence is, naturally, lacking in the case of same-sex marriage.) I haven't seen any evidence against polygamy, but if it does come up, hey? Guess what? Unbiased evidence of harm will make polygamy legally non-viable. If you're really worried that it's a bad thing, go find some proof and hand it to the rest of us. 

In summation? On the first point, everyone should be concerned about being seen negatively for impeding legal progress. You are entitled to your religious freedom, but you are not entitled to project your religion onto me and force me to live by your mores and values.

Second point: definition delivered. I want access to the legal benefits of marriage provided by the United States government for myself and my partner. That's it, nothing more. 

And third and finally, there are a number of reasons why the majority of the horrors held up as examples of the slippery slope will not come to pass. In two cases, informed consent isn't possible, and in the third, there is a health concern that make denial of access by the government both viable and responsible. In the fourth case, you're absolutely correct. Legal polygamy is absolutely possible (to my knowledge) under the precedent of homosexual unions. If you wish for that not to happen, go find proof that it's physically or psychologically harmful to participants. 

But until you do, remember please that I don't care one way or another what your personal values are, as long as I'm free to practice my own. And that you do not, legally speaking, have the right to deny me  access to government services because your values say that my access to those services is sinful.