Wednesday, February 25, 2004

John Derbyshire's Response

John Derbyshire responded to my email with a single question: "But I don't have any of those rights either, in respect of my male friends. So what are youy [sic] lacking, that everyone else is not lacking?"

Kind of a disingenuous question, of course, since tacit in that response is a refusal to consider a gay couple as any different from two random male friends. I took his question seriously anyway:
Hi John,

Gotta point out a problem here to begin with: I'm not gay and it's funny how people who are so dead-set against gays rights so often assume that if someone's defending gay rights, then they must be gay. I don't mind being mistaken for gay - that's not the issue. It just demonstrates what an unusual point of bias you're coming from.

But to answer your question: we’re not talking about *friends*; we’re talking about committed couples. Do you have a male partner you've been living with have a committed relationship with, perhaps for decades? No, I don't think so. You're comparing apples and oranges. Your or my friendship with other men doesn't bear any resemblance to the very real and loving relationships many gay couples have. I know gay couples who are in loving long-term relationships. It's unfair to stereotype gays as individuals who engage in serial short-term relationships. But even if it *were* true, denying gays the right to marry wouldn't help such a problem. Giving them the right to marry and live openly as a loving couple in society, on the other hand *might* encourage more long-term relationships.

Obviously, the breakdown really occurs here because you’re not willing to define a couple as homosexual. (Two male friends does not equal one gay couple.) You have to examine you’re reasoning for that. If you’re basing your definition on tradition or religion, then that’s a completely different issue. And I don’t believe people’s religious beliefs should be governing decisions we make about altering the Constitution.

Ten years ago, I would've been on the complete other side of the issue on this one (I went to Bob Jones University), but I've met many gay people, questioned the beliefs I was handed growing up, and I just find those beliefs completely untenable now. I'm really convinced that we'll look back on the way we treat gays now in the same way we look back on the way we used to treat other African Americans: with shame.

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