Posted by mike in Entertainment,Politics,Religion at 12:16 am on December 16, 2008

I know I’m a little behind on this one, but here’s a video I think that everybody should watch. It’s 7 minutes from The Daily Show that near-completely summarizes the two prevailing points of view on the gay marriage issue, with Mike Huckabee playing the role of the social conservative with the slight Southern drawl, and Jon Stewart serving—as usual—as the person with the capacity for rational thought.

Huckabee keeps harping on what I think is the worst possible defense of anti-gay-marriage laws: that they are only exemplary of the will of the people. “If the American people are not convinced that we should overturn the definition of marriage,” he says, “then I would say that those who support the idea of same-sex marriage have a lot of work to do to convince us.” Stewart uses what I consider to be the most obvious retort to this type of thinking: “What if we make it if Hispanics can’t vote?” Is there any doubt that if such a measure were put to ballot in, say, Texas or Arizona or New Mexico, that it would pass? Or how about a vote to remove rights from black people in a state like Arkansas—wouldn’t you imagine that, if given the chance, the majority of the people in that state would happily assert their will in such a measure’s favor? (Am I guilty of broadly applying stereotypes here? Of course… but that doesn’t diminish the credibility of the point.) “Segregation used to be the law,” Jon reminds us.

Stewart also takes another stance that’s near and dear to me: “Religion is far more of a choice than homosexuality.” This, of course, is a particularly relevant comparison to make, considering the near-universal religious basis of anti-gay-rights movements as of late.

Huckabee runs through all of the go-to arguments against gay marriage rights. I think one of the most curious to me is when he suggests that were homosexuals given the right to marry, then “we would have to say to the guy in West Texas who had twenty-seven wives, ‘That’s okay.'” And without knowing the details of the story he seems to be referring to (and ignoring the obvious “straw man” nature of the point he’s trying to make in the first place), my initial reaction to that is: why shouldn’t it be? If 28 consenting adults have found an arrangement that brings them happiness, whose business is it to tell them they’re wrong? What about having 27 wives is intrinsically damaging to society, other than the fact that it’s not what white Christian Westerners have been told constitutes a “healthy family”? Perhaps that’ll be a fight that’s waged at some point in the (distant) future. (Or perhaps someone can tell me what I’m missing with this topic… “You watch too much Big Love” not being particularly enlightening.)

Obviously for now it’s all our culture can handle to try to address this current issue intelligently. When there are still people—leaders, in fact; governors, even—trying to assert “the difference between a person being black and a person practicing a lifestyle” it shows just how entrenched most of the thinking surrounding this issue is. Not to mention how fucked up.

Comments (7)

7 Responses to “Will of the People”:

  • Many of the fundamentalists that practice polygamy in closed communities serve as an example because the women aren’t given a chance to consent. They’re married in their early teens to a much older man and largely held hostage through isolation from society and psychological manipulation.

    I agree with you that if a bunch of hippies want to live in a sexy commune and call it marriage, that’s all well and good, but that’s not the situation that comes up for discussion.

  • Right, but that makes it a pretty vacuous comparison, doesn’t it? If we’re talking about “consenting adults,” then it doesn’t make sense to continually bring up an example where consent is not part of the equation… which is why I say it’s a “straw man” type of argument (and also why I’m always sure to use that specific phrase—”consenting adults”—whenever this comes up).

  • And now the bigots want to void existing marriages. They even have that loser Ken Starr representing them.

  • That’s disgusting.

  • I just want to point out one thing. If polygamy is someday said to be legal then the insurance industry is going to have a fit. I have a job that offers me and my spouse insurance. If I had 27 wives would they all be covered now? What about my 60 children?

    I don’t care what people do on their own time, but what’s the point of making it an official marriage other than insurance and various legal (medical decisions/inheritance) reasons?

  • Is there something in your insurance policy that limits the number of kids it’ll cover with a single wife?

  • Comment by BZ at 10:28 am on January 2, 2009

    That’s a good question mike. As far as I know there is no limit.