By: Rachel Womek
Normally I don’t respond to this sort of nonsense but this blog was recommended to me by a Christian friend of mine and I couldn’t resist penning a response. This blog is so offensive and rife with inaccuracies I don’t even know where to begin. At the beginning seems the rational choice…In this rebuttal I will examine and refute the following arguments made by the author of this essay. The first claim I will address is that there is no historical basis for same-sex marriage (Baucham, 2012). in fact there is. The second argument presented in this piece that I will refute is that the fight for same sex marriage is not a civil rights issue (Baucham, 2012). The third fallacy presented in this panoply of misinformation is that members of the LGBTQ community are ineligible for minority status due to the richness of human sexuality that defies simple definition (Baucham, 2012). Baucham’s fourth argument is nothing more that absurd semantics, a desperate attempt to skirt around the entire issue (2012). In his fifth argument the author further entangles himself in garbled and unintelligible reasoning. He repeatedly refers to logic without seeming to grasp the concept in any of its forms (Baucham, 2012). Finally he surrenders any shred of credibility he may have otherwise clung to with that infamous Christian Right argument (Baucham, 2012). Gay marriage is a Civil Right and I will demonstrate that fact conclusively.
According to Baucham the struggle for marriage equality is a strategy the purpose of which, among other things, is to “ undermine thousands of years of human history” (2012, para 1). This statement could not be more inaccurate, from both a historical and an anthropological perspective. Michael G Peletz of the American Anthropological Association Elaborates:
Heterosexual monogamy, though statistically common (at least as an ideal) both historically and cross-culturally, is by no means the only form of marriage that human societies have seen as viable, legitimate, or sacred. The historical and ethnographic record is replete with evidence documenting the existence of heterosexual marriages entailing polygyny, polyandry and what are sometimes referred to as polygyandrous arrangements (such as used to exist among the Nayar), as contributors to this AN series noted last May. Also well documented for many societies in the world are same-sex marriages that enjoy sanctified legitimacy and occur “alongside” heterosexual unions that they neither threaten nor undermine (2006. para 2).
This author is therefore uncertain what portion of human history Baucham is referring to. Perhaps, post-Catholic European history? Considering the enormity of human history one can only guess that some extreme historical localization has taken place, either that or Baucham is simply ignorant of history beyond that of industrialized North America and Europe. Regardless, there is simply no basis for his historical precedence claim.
Next Baucham goes on to claim that marriage equality is not a civil rights issue (2012). According to the Oxford-English Dictionary the definition of Civil Rights are: “the rights of citizens to political and social freedom and equality”. Is Baucham’s claim therefore that members of the LGBTQ community are not citizens? Is marriage not a political and social freedom? Would the right to marriage not give same-sex couples a footing of equality with different-sex couples? There is no interpretation of this definition that allows same-sex marriage to fall outside the net of a civil rights claim. Citizens, Homo sapiens, are being denied something. That something is the right for their union to be recognized by the government and access to the benefits that recognition entails. Same-sex marriage is a Civil Right, to deny it one must redefine the term. Perhaps add the word heterosexual in front of the word citizen?
The next inane argument presented by Baucham is that there is no test for gayness. In his own words:”The first problem with the idea of conflating ‘sexual orientation’ and race is that homosexuality is undetectable apart from self identification” (2012, para 5).May I point out the obvious? Neither is heterosexuality. I for one feel a great relief that humans don’t walk around with signs on our foreheads that say: Hetero, Homo, Bi, Trans…etcetera.(Although that might expedite the mating process…) May I point out something else? Sexuality is a biological construct, race is a social construct. While homosexuality and bisexuality are rampant across the animal kingdom “race” is unique to humanity. The American Anthropological Association has this to say about the concept of race:
Historical research has shown that the idea of “race” has always carried more meanings than mere physical differences; indeed, physical variations in the human species have no meaning except the social ones that humans put on them. Today scholars in many fields argue that “race” as it is understood in the United States of America was a social mechanism invented during the 18th century to refer to those populations brought together in colonial America: the English and other European settlers, the conquered Indian peoples, and those peoples of Africa brought in to provide slave labor (1998, para 3).
Contrary to Baucham’s claim it isn’t so easy to determine what “race” any given individual belongs to. Our interpretation of phenotype may have little or nothing to do with an individual’s genotype, ancestry, ethnicity, or identity. That humans have a tendency to consider individuals with a different phenotype than their own as Other is a great barrier to human equality. As is the current tendency to view those with different sexualities as Other. No matter how you swing it the result is social disparity. Absurdly enough Baucham goes on to state: “Should a man who isn’t a homosexual (assuming we could determine such a thing) but tries to enter a same-sex union be treated the same as a woman who isn’t Native American but tries to claim it to win sympathy, or casino rights, or votes?” (2012, para 7). This psuedo-argument represents such convoluted reasoning and misdirection this author feels she would be remiss not to mention it. The obvious difference is that the hypothetical woman claiming to be Native American would be motivated because she perceives some sort of benefit from the deception. What would be the benefit of maintaining a deception of homosexuality?
And, really? The ol’ Pedephilia argument? Really? Pedophiles can rape the same sex, they can rape the opposite sex. Does it really matter? Nobody is condoning pedophilia. Rape is rape is rape. The rape of a child is a truly horrific thing and has nothing to do with consensual sexual behaviors between morally conscious adults; absolutely nothing.
The next set of arguments presented in this argument are so ridiculous that they would be laughable did they not highlight a deep seated bias against all non-heterosexual people.
An additional problem with the “gay is the new black” argument is the complete disconnect between same-sex “marriage” and anti-miscegenation laws. First, there is a categorical disconnect. Miscegenation literally means “the interbreeding of people considered to be of different racial types.” Ironically, the fact that homosexuals cannot “interbreed” shines a spotlight on the problem inherent in their logic (Baucham, 2012, para 8).
Once again Baucham, seems to be missing the point entirely and throwing in a few nonsensical assumptions to boot. The parallel is that inter-”racial” marriages used to be illegal based on an irrelevant factor, the “race” of the individuals in question, today same-sex marriage is illegal in many states due to an irrelevant factor, the sex of the individuals in question. See the comparison? The nonsensical assumption is that the purpose of marriage is to breed. People reproduce all the time and they seem to manage it just fine without marriage. Conversely many married couples never reproduce. While reproduction can be one purpose for marriage the primary purpose in industrialized Western society seems to be that combination of affinity and sexual attraction commonly labeled romantic love. With romantic love as the primary purpose of marriage there is no logical (ah, there it is and notice the correct usage under the Oxford-English dictionary definition: “reasoning conducted or assessed according to strict principles of validity”) reason why it should be encompass only different-sex couples.
Oh, no wait, there is a reason…because the Bible says so. Must I illuminate the glaring flaws in this line..I hesitate to say reasoning…let’s just say the flaws in this thought process. It is just fine to be a Theist, it is just fine to be a Christian…lots of people manage to be Christians without promoting prejudice and regulating other, morally conscious, non-violent, human beings to second-class citizens who don’t deserve the same rights as us heterosexuals on our religious high-ground do. The Bible says a lot of stuff…and guess what? A lot of it is shit that not even the most hard-core Christians follow. Here’s some sage Biblical advice not many Christians are lining up to follow:
Give beer to those who are perishing, wine to those who are in anguish, Proverbs 31:6 (NIV). If two men are fighting and the wife of one of them comes to rescue her husband from his assailant, and she reaches out and seizes him by his private parts, you shall cut off her hand. Show her no pity. Deuteronomy 25:11-12 (NIV). Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard. Leviticus 19:27 (NIV).
Get the picture? I could go on but I think I’ve made my point.
The case presented by Baucham in his essay: Gay Is Not The New Black is riddled with misdirection, convoluted interpretations of logic, and blatant inaccuracies. His argument has no legitimate basis in either global history or science. Neither does it have a basis in a religion that holds the texts that are attributed to what Jesus is said to have taught as the ultimate word of God: So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12 (NIV).
American anthropological association. (1998). American anthropological association statement on “race”. Retrieved from http://www.aaanet.org/stmts/racepp.htm
Baucham, V. (2012) Gay is not the new black. Retrieved from http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2012/07/19/gay-is-not-the-new-black/
Civil rights. (n.d). In Oxford-English dictionary online. Retrieved from http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/american_english/civil+rights
Logic. (n.d.). In Oxford-English dictionary online. Retrieved from http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/logic
Peletz, M, G. (2006).Discourse of opposition to marriage equality.Retrieved from http://www.aaanet.org/press/an/infocus/marriage/peletz.htm