March 27, 2013

You Aren’t Going to Win: When to Step Away from a Debate on Gay Marriage. ~ Kimberly Lo

My late grandmother, bless her heart, always felt that that there were two topics “proper” people never discussed: religion and politics.

Grandma passed away in 2000 at the age of 83 and to the best of my knowledge, she never joined an internet community or posted on a message board. However, I think even she may have voiced her opinion about the events of this week.

In case you’ve been living under a rock or away from all media, the debate over gay marriage has exploded over the internet. (An aside note: Grandma was in favor of marriage equality.)

Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are abuzz with talk. Now usually, I follow Grandma’s advice and do not discuss religion or politics on Facebook. With that said, though, I do enjoy spirited debate. Also, being a total nerd/ annoying smarty-pants and an optimist to boot, I tend to think that most people actually want the facts when they are debating same sex-marriage or any other topic.

Turns out that that I am wrong.

It appears that some people do not want the facts and will actually become quite hostile when they are presented with them. Granted, being in front of a computer screen allows me to be far more calm, cool and collected than I probably would be if I were face-to-face with them, but even I have thrown up my hands in frustration and declared, “Enough!” Some people love nothing more than engaging in these sorts of things and to those I say, ignore what follows. For others, though, who are like me and enjoy debate and feel that facts are an essential key to presenting any argument, I present a cheat sheet.

It’s time to step away from the computer when one or more parties in a debate on same-sex marriage refuses to acknowledge one or  any of the following:

  1. The State, and not the Church or another other religious institution, grants someone the right to get married. Fact: You can have the biggest, most fancy wedding ever presided over by the Pope, an ayatollah, a rabbi, and representatives from every other religion in existence, but it is not legally binding unless the state grants you a wedding license. Note that this is not a would have or should have question but a fact. The State does this. In the eyes of the law, the wedding described above has the same legally validity as the completely secular 10 minute appointment I had at my friendly clerk’s office when I got married. One does not have to believe in any God or higher power to get legally married.
  2. Several countries including Canada, Mexico, the UK along with most of the EU, Argentina, New Zealand, and Australia to name a few recognize same-sex marriage or civil unions and have for awhile now. Again, not a “should they” question, but a fact.
  3. The Book of Leviticus which many opponents of same-sex marriage cite also bans tattoos. Yes, it does, and tattoos go back well before the Bible was ever written.
  4. Some opponents of interracial marriage did use Biblical arguments to justify their objections over it. Indeed, the 1967 case, Loving v. Virginia, for example, overturned the ban on interracial marriage:  “Virginia’s Supreme Court justified a ban on interracial marriages by citing religious beliefs.”
  5. The 14th Amendment of the Constitution says, “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.” (It’s the second sentence.)

There are others, but these are the main ones I noticed last night as I pursued the ‘net.

In closing, how you chose to spend your time on the internet is your own business. However, if you feel passionately about a topic and the person or persons you are debating with refuse to even acknowledge facts, then what you are having is not a debate. Sometimes, for the sake of your own sanity, it is better just to sign off.

Besides, if you want to really make your views on anything heard then do something else besides going online.





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Ed: Brianna Bemel

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