Ruth Speaks Out

This blog is maintained by the Ruth Institute. It provides a place for our Circle of Experts to express themselves. This is where the scholars, experts, students and followers of the Ruth Institute engage in constructive dialogue about the issues surrounding the Sexual Revolution. We discuss public policy, social practices, legal doctrines and much more.

Marriage "Equality" and real Equality

Posted on Thursday, November 05, 2009

Over at No Left Turns blog, Julie Ponzi takes aim at the equality argument for same sex marriage. This is a very significant argument, because in a very real sense, this is the only argument the marriage radicals have. Think about it: "it's not fair; you're being mean to us."  That is all they have. The Equal Protection argument the lawyers like to bring up is just a gussied-up version of "it's not fair."   So, being able to explain why we think the equality argument is inapplicable is a slam dunk. If we win that, we win, because equality is quite literally, all they have. Julie  starts by noticing that the only way anybody wins anything in American politics is by appealing to our American Founding ideals in some form or fashion. "The argument on behalf of homosexual marriage, if it means to be successful, has to be one suggesting that homosexual marriage is a fulfillment of rather than a turning away from America's promise in its Founding.  Every success of big "L" Liberalism (or Progressivism) in this country (up to and including Barack Obama's) can be traced back to public argument that embraced--or seemed to embrace--America's purpose and foundations."  But, she goes on, there is an inherent tension in their position. The principles of natural rights in the American Founding are principles of universal, pre-existing rights, given by God, by nature, or by nature's God, depending on the interpreter. The Progressive vision is actually quite different, even while it evokes the image of pre-existing natural right. The Progressive notion is that rights "evolve,"  that rights somehow flow from the common opinions of society. But, as Julie points out, these two views contradict each other: "It sees no necessary limit to the good that can come of an expansion of the meaning of equality and it appeals to our generosity of spirit.  But in seeking to expand the meaning of equality, the truth is that we actually deny it.  We cannot make equality, however much we may wish it, to include things not encompassed within the natural meaning of equality." This leads her to a very telling insight into one of the most perplexing political facts surrounding the politics of same sex marriage: the fact that African Americans so stubbornly resist following their customary allies down this particular path. I've been observing this for over a year: during the Prop 8 campaign, and its aftermath, it has been perfectly obvious to me that many blacks are deeply offended by the comparison of the gay lobby's agitation for redefining marriage with their own struggle for basic human rights.  Here is Julie's explanation:
I have to think that this, at least in part, helps to explain the natural revulsion to the idea of homosexual marriage on the part of black voters--who, of course, were a driving force in the passage of California's Prop. 8 last fall.  Left wing whispering, revealingly, would have you believe that black opposition to homosexual marriage is nothing more than a kind of retrograde or backward prejudice on the part of too many blacks. This is at once patronizing and reflective of some remarkably stupid thinking.  The majority of black voters who oppose homosexual marriage rightly sense--when they don't vividly understand--that the suggestion of a symbiotic relationship between the struggles of blacks and the struggles of the homosexual lobby in this country is an insult to their struggles and our shared American history and accomplishments on behalf of genuine equality.  It is a kind of righteous indignation--obviously felt more keenly by blacks--at the notion that the elimination of slavery and the struggle for equality before the law for black Americans is anything akin to an extension of a right to marry to homosexuals.  That was a struggle to make America live up to its stated principle, not a demand that we expand it.  Slavery was wrong from the start . . . not because we eventually grew into that opinion.  To suggest otherwise is to demean those efforts by implying that it, like this current struggle, was a mere power struggle or numbers game without any transcending universal principle of right.
Read Julie's whole piece here.
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