This is a comment by Anthony Zarat on the post “Prop. 8: The Color of Pee Pee“.
This article is a big moral problem for me. I am tempted to say nothing. However, “people who say nothing” are the majority of names on my 2012 “Santa’s naughty list”, and I don’t want to be one of them. So, here goes. For king and country.
I have been swimming in the conservative fish bowl for three years now. Naturally I have run across a significant number of people who do not agree with marriage equality. I estimate that 30% of all conservatives believe that marriage equality is wrong.
I do not have a problem with these 30%. I’ll explain why later.
The remaining 70% of conservatives—I have a problem with them. They agree that orientation is an identity issue (who you “are”, not what you “do”). When pressed, most agree that marriage equality is an “equal protection under the law” issue. But they don’t want to weaken their “side”, so they say nothing.
This, I have a problem with.
The conservative camp suffers from a very strong feeling of marginalization and isolation. This has created a powerful “us versus them” undercurrent that is, occasionally, stronger than the “right and wrong” morality. This is saying something, because conservatives (on average) have very strong feelings about right and wrong.
When it comes to one issue (only one), I think all persons must set partisanship aside and realize that there is one kind of harm that outweighs all tactical advantage and all strategic posturing:
>>> Dehumanization is the greatest harm that there is <<<
I understand the tears of your daughter. Dehumanization is the deepest of all injuries. The greatest harm that bad government inflicts on its citizens is denial of equal protection to a group of people because of who they are (their identity).
This brings us back to the 30% of conservatives, who liberals think of as “the enemy”. They are not. They don’t understand. They think that orientation is a choice, an activity, a thing that people do. A friend of mine replied to my “equal protection” argument by saying “someone who vacations in Scandinavia does not have a right to equal protection of sunshine.” See? This guy can be reached.
The other person, the shoulder shrugger who says “forget it, we are held together by Kleenex and spit as it is”—this is the problem.
Photo credit: Flickr / Hello Turkey Toe