Over the past couple of days, at Owen's blog, I've partaken in a little discussion about the recurring theme of gay marriage.
There were few proponents still standing up for the bigotry that was legalized in Wisconsin a couple years ago. And make no mistake about it. It is bigotry.
One of the proponents was, of course, Dad29 who gave the convincing argument that a challenger should shove it.
But the commenter that carried most of the argument in favor of the amendment was a person named "elovrich". This person was quite articulate, thought-provoking and challenging. This person's arguments were also extremely cold-blooded and irrational.
In a nutshell, "elovrich" felt that gays should not be afforded the same equalities regarding marriage, because they can't have children, and therefore are of no benefit to society. That is about the coldest thing I can think of anyone saying about another person or group of people.
"What about couples that could not or choose not to have children?" I asked him. He (or she) came back with this malarkey that the heterosexual couple can be reasonably be expected to produce offspring, and is OK with it if they don't. This is a complete contradiction in his reasoning, but he refused to acknowledge it.
This line of thought of "What's in it for us?" is also very scary in itself. First, it flies in the face of history. The Civil War was fought about slavery. The southern states saw no benefit, and a lot of harm, in ending slavery. They would lose out on a free, self-reproducing work force. They felt strongly enough that they seceded from the rest of the country to preserve that. The northern states fought them to stop slavery. There was nothing in it for them to stop slavery. They did it because it was the proper and humane thing to do.
Same thing with allowing women to vote. There were plenty of men that saw no benefit in allowing women to vote, and even felt threatened by it. But it still happened because it was the correct thing to do.
This was repeated throughout history, from Ancient Greece to the Magna Carta to racial equality movements forty years ago.
To deny the right of equality to gays, because one sees no benefit is cruel, harsh and, yes, bigoted.
The other scary aspect of this thought is the extrapolation of where such thinking could go. Conservatives often argue that gay marriage would lead to legalizing pedophilia, incest, polygamy and bestiality (although the State of Texas already seems to be OK with some of these).
Where would elovich's kind of thinking lead to? Should we stop providing services to the elderly, the disabled and the terminally ill, just because they cannot provide a benefit to society? Or why not sanction heterosexual couples who do not procreate for whatever reason? And it's the conservatives that accuse liberals of wanting to do social engineering. Come to think of it, there already are some conservatives that are advocating for their own brand of social engineering.
The only piece of hope is that, given the events of similar types of bigotry being overcome during the course of history, this type of bigotry will also give way in the interest of doing the proper thing, despite one's fears or one's personal interests in trying to prevent others from having equal rights.