One of the greatest debates in our time and maybe even in history may turn out to be gay marriage! It truly was a great, though often heated debate with many participants on each side of the issue. Given that many states now have made gay marriage a legal, binding contract, it appears that the gay marriage proponents have won it. I think the issue will continue to be on the public plate in the same way abortion is. But the part that interests me right now is how did they win a seemingly losing cause?
I think they were brilliant! They took the main arguments against gay marriage off the table and replaced them with other ones that were either irrefutable or acceptable to folks who became proponents.
First: They took God, the Bible, and nature off the table. They did this in two ways. First they showed folks that even though homosexual acts were declared an abomination in the Bible, they focused on other forbidden things in the Old Testament that seem meaningless to many today. Things like food we eat, sacrifices to be made, and other things primarily from Leviticus that seem outdated were brought up repeatedly and convinced many that the Bible was either outdated or aren’t based on any authority anyway. These appeal to folks who do not believe in God or the Bible anyway were easily accepted by those people. Second, the idea of marriage by nature being necessary for procreation even in a secular sense didn’t fly as many married couples do not have children nor do they want them. Nature was not the reason they got married. The folks on the other side continued the original arguments and eventually were even berated for their views and religion. Their arguments had little success.
Second: They changed the conversation from sexual acts to love! Love is a tough argument to combat for most of us, especially people in our country. Many of us have gay friends or family members that we love and who love us back. Many of these people are fine people that we respect and admire and it seems logical that we should approve of them especially if we want approval in return. Sublimely, I think many also realized that their own sexual behavior could also be questioned if their practices came out in the public. No one having multiple sexual partners, habits of visiting prostitutes, living out private questionable fetishes or a number of things that could put them in the spotlight wanted the conversation to go there. Most of us like sex and like to keep it private, so that issue was taken off the table, even by many that don’t approve of homosexual sexual relations. It became “I’m ok, you’re ok” a mantra of the day. The other side kept using their argument but even “love the sinner hate the sin” didn’t score many points. But, on the side, the best outcome of this debate is the concept of loving one another. That is one commandment in the Bible that is almost universal, but not always practiced.
Third: They redefined the age-old secular definition of marriage which was to join male and female together in a union, consummated by inserting the male part into the female part. Their new definition was that if two people loved each other they should be able to get married too. Never mind that they already had equality with everyone anyway under the current definition, they changed the argument to love and convinced maybe half of the population that equality and fairness were not happening. Never mind that love wasn’t in the secular definition at all or that marriages for years have been for convenience, arranged by others or yes; even shotgun marriage! This argument could also be used for polygamy, relatives marrying each other and other things but that argument carried no weight. It wasn’t about them; it was about “me”! Add to that the concept of estates, hospital visits, and other secular items that married people receive the pendulum swung, even against secular arguments to the contrary.
I think the main goal of gay marriage was to justify a lifestyle along with an entitlement mentality that we all have in a sense; we want it all. And we want approval for our actions, whatever they are. I think they have a long way to go in that regard but so far they are successful in their efforts.
They were very skillful debaters! But I don’t think debaters always win because they are right or losers because they are wrong in any debate. It is the best debater who wins the debate! We can all learn about debating skills from this!
It will be interesting to see what happens going forward. Like abortion, the battle will be around for a long for a long time, and the war will continue!