Imposing morality

Proponents for gay marriage argue that their opponents are imposing their morality on other who disagree; i.e., people who think that being gay is wrong are legally and socially imposing their opinion over people who think that being gay is not wrong.  Now my brother, who voted Yes on 8 but claims to not really care, is trying to throw this argument back.  Backstory:

We have been discussing gay marriage and California Proposition 8.  He took offense when I told him he was a bigot (I put it much more gently than that, but he got it) and tried to defend himself.  I said bigots take away rights and discriminate, and he said that I am also bigoted by that definition.  I succeeded in showing him that being anti-gay marriage is bigotry by definition.  I think he accepts that even while he struggles with it applying to him personally (he is a liberal Christian; probably would align himself with what I would call part of the Emerging church movement or Postmodern church– I love those people).

I am trying to show him that he would not be compromising his opinion or religious conscience by fighting for gay civil rights.  He could even stay neutral for all I care; that may actually be the more appropriate response.

But he accused gay rights activists of imposing their views of morality on others. 

First of all, I had to point out that disagreeing with religious people is not bigotry against religious people.  Bigotry is acting against a group based on discrimination, or acting on the assumption that another person does not deserve the same rights that I have.  So gay rights proponents are by definition not bigots.  (There was a faulty assumption involved, because some people assume that gay rights are by definition opposed to religious rights, but I can demonstrate that that is not true.  Of course, if someone wanted to discriminate against religious persons and take away their rights, that is bigotry, but Prop 8 was not about religion.)

So then, my brother tried to argue that gay rights proponents are trying to impose their morality (lack of morality?) on others.  My response was that it is not imposing on another person’s rights to demand those same rights be recognized for gay couples.  Besides, gays having the right to marry does not take away anyone else’s civil rights (this is a tricky point, though, because religious people are often mistaken about the rights that they have).  I realised, though, that his argument was begging the question of this whole idea of morality and all civil rights movements.  When women and minorities and the disabled demanded their rights, were they imposing their morality?  In a sense, you could say that they were.  But were they not correct to do so; were they not entitled to those rights that they were being denied? 

Why would you want to classify a group’s struggle for equal protection as “imposing morality”?  It sounds like a euphemism for “the gay agenda.”

I think I might almost have him convinced  🙂

It’s worth every second of conversation when you try to convince people of the rightness of this cause!  Don’t give up and do your best not to get angry.  Know your facts!– because this will help us win.


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One Response to “Imposing morality”

  1. coogan607 Says:

    I have been intrigued by the x-having-equal-rights-denies-me-my-rights argument for some time. I have mostly failed to understand it. I just assumed they didn’t get the whole idea that more rights for more people does not equal fewer rights for some. For me, personal freedoms are not a scarce resource. But if you happen to think that eliminating your “right” to dictate your ideas to others is a limitation on your personal freedoms, then in that sense I suppose gay rights do limit the “rights” of others.

    It occurs to me this is also the Christian vs atheist argument. Christians are crying persecution and denial of their rights, because right now those rights include excluding atheists from the national conversation. They don’t want to give up their dominance on the stage of public attention, citing their “superior moral stance” as the best justification. I am finding less and less reason to think belief in a magical sky father represents a superior position on *anything*. It seems very delusional and not reality-based, which for me is reason enough to discount it altogether.

    But now I understand what pisses them off so much. Sucks to be shoved to the back of the bus, but welcome to the future.

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