theocracy on the march

Same-sex marriage in the United States
in December 2004 in March 2012

I read Rich Dunbar’s first blog post about people who compain about those who “cram their beliefs down my throat” and reacted very negatively to it. Looking back, I realize that I wasn’t really being fair (sorry Rich!), but what my mind jumped to was the topic of same-sex marriage.

Some days I’m amazed at what progress the movement has made (see the maps above). This is not one of those days.

I think we have a legitimate case here of “belief cramming” here, and it has to do with something that Rich doesn’t talk about: asymmetry. The impact of gays not being able to get married on the gay community is a reasonably big deal – not comparable to segregation or anything, but the denial of ~1138 federal benefits and some number of state ones is a real harm done to us.

What’s the impact on those who oppose same-sex marriage? (I’m going to generalize and just talk about organized religion) Well…I’m not sure. No same-sex marriage bill in the country would force churches to marry same-sex couples, as no church is forced to marry any couple they don’t want to for whatever reason. (e.g. non-Catholic couples can’t be married in a Catholic churc, etc.) The arguments these groups tend to make are extremely vague and hand-wavy – “it will weaken the family” or “it would hurt children” with little to no evidence to back these claims up. Another argument (albeit one I don’t hear very often) is that they don’t want their tax dollars going to support same-sex couples, but this is pretty weak because you don’t necessarily have a right to say what your tax dollars go towards.

Even though historically a strong majority of people have been opposed to same-sex marriage (although this is changing!), this is a case where “tyranny of the majority” applies, and when they are successfully cramming their beliefs down our throat.

9 thoughts on “theocracy on the march”

  1. Who is this Rich Dunbar and why does anybody care what he thinks? His post is so loaded it’s ridiculous. Assuming that all beliefs are equally valid immediately invalidates the rest of his argument and makes it pointless. You might as well say, “assuming that not getting maimed or killed and getting maimed and killed are equally good choices, why do people care about auto safety?” That makes as much sense as his post. I note his refusal to answer the slavery question somebody brought up in the comments. Looking at his Twitter, he regularly looks down on women’s rights, retweets the usual Fox News lineup, etc, so it’s not a surprise.

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    1. Calm down there – Rich is a friend of mine. I do agree that the assumption all beliefs are equally valid makes this more useful at looking at thing like choosing a state bird or something.

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  2. Your map is missing “legal pending repeal” and “illegal pending repeal”. You’ll feel a lot more upbeat once you take into account the 6 states that will be voting in November, particularly if you’ve been watching the poll numbers.

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    1. Also… out of curiosity… have you thought about adding the 5 US territories to the map? Guam, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and the North Mariana Islands. I’ve got no idea what the status of law is there. Also, two Native American tribes in USA now grant full marriage rights. The semi-sovereign nation status of the tribes makes things interesting, but to the best of my knowledge, no one has legally tested the US Federal governments requirement to recognize such marriages.

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      1. Hmm, I hadn’t thought of that, and I also have no idea what their status is. I’ll add that to the list of future improvements 🙂 Thanks!

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    2. Yeah…I’m really not sure how to indicate that on the map. (other than noting it when you click on the state, which I try to do) Maybe stripes or something? (but that’s harder to draw 🙂 )

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  3. This is Patrice, btw: Anti-gay members of organized religions actually *think* they have ‘scientific evidence’ to back up their claims. The problem is, their “studies” are so flawed that you could drive a bus through the holes, and even, laughably, they’ll use studies that show the opposite of what they’re concluding to “prove” what they’re concluding. It’s mind-exploding. And, in my opinion, any laws that promote intolerance hurt children, specifically the gay kids that get cast from their homes by their families (there are a sad number of these in Houston). This isn’t just a matter of “Man, that’s unfair.” Sometimes it’s life-and-death, and… words fail me. But, to end with a note of levity, this whole issue always does remind me of my gay friend’s line, whenever my husband and I do any kind of PDA – “Hey, quit forcing your beliefs on me! Ick!”

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    1. Yeah, reading the transcripts of the Prop 8 trial where they were trying to show how same-sex marriage would harm them was particularly awesome 🙂

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