Listen, My Children...

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Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Marriage Debate


I'd just like to say, no matter what Optimistic OxBlog may think, opposition to interracial marriage has not died out. Not within Bob's family, unfortunately, and not in the general community either. The opposed groups have changed, that's all. No longer rednecks with shotguns and broken refrigerators on the front lawn, now it's a certain subset of liberals and a very large portion of non-white communities. (The Professor covered this quite some time ago. So did 60 Minutes, on the topic of black antagonism to blacks dating whites, if I'm not mistaken.)

Then again, perhaps Josh Chafetz's analogy between homosexual marriage and interracial marriage does work: there are two groups that I have encountered that speak out against homosexual marriage. The first would be the traditionalist-types, who take the same stance and use some of the exact same arguments as the above-mentioned rednecks. The other group is, as above, a certain small subset of liberals who provide reams of fodder for the traditionalists. They argue that concepts of "monogamy" and "exclusivity" are repressive and conservative; they say that a two-parent household, even if mother-mother or father-father, is inherently "heteronormative" and is an artificial construct wherein homosexuals try to pretend they're "straight" purely as a weak concession to the oppressive homophobic majority, a majority that needs to get over its sexual hangups and realize that homosexuals should be free to love freely (in a true 1970s style). These are the people who set up websites charting the best "cruisey" spots in metropolitan areas across the country; these are the people who gave us the term "glory hole"; these are the people who argue that we need to move beyond the idea that there should be trust and an emotional relationship before (or alongside) sex -- or even an introduction first.

I don't think that group is very large -- as I said, they're a small subset of liberals -- and I only came across a handful within my dorm at Harvard; there can't be more than a few dozen with that mindset on the campus. They sound just like my mother says her college classmates sounded (burn bras! free love! the more the merrier!), and they'll probably end up the same way (either entirely cleaned up and running businesses or dead of drugs and disease). The difference? My mother's hippy classmates' sexual notions had little effect on the public view of heterosexual behavior, as 1) they were seen as silly young folk and 2) heterosexual marriage was the standard and already quite well known. Same for modern heterosexual free-love types: average Americans will look on them as sluts or cads. The free-love homosexual group, today, carries more weight, because 1) we don't really have that many examples of homosexual marriages to go on (relationships, yes, but not marriages) and 2) the concept itself is under debate, so opposers are quite willing to listen to and hold up as examples people who perfectly epitomize everything they find wrong with the lifestyle.

I think groups with this opinion do more than any religious restrictions or victorian sentiments to turn public sentiment against pro-homosexual advocacy. If everyone thought that the average homosexual man was like Will on "Will & Grace", with dreams of house&spouse and pretty mainstream values, I feel there would be less opposition. As it is, the average homosexual man is seen, with great help from the media, to be someone like Jack on "Will & Grace", eager to jump into bed with anyone walking down the street and dreaming up ways to get cute heterosexual guys drunk and willing, or someone like the "Queer Eye" fellows, with dreams of "queering" or feminizing every man in America. Of course, books and studies put out -- by homosexual activist groups, not by anti-homosexual activist groups -- that quite clearly put the average homosexual guy into the polyamory category and talk about the backwards and old-fashioned nature of the idea that "fidelity" means not having sex with other people... well, those books don't do too much to help further the notion that the only difference between homosexual and heterosexual is that homosexuals want the same sex and heterosexuals want the opposite sex.

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