Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Are Civil Unions the Path to "Gay Marriage"

       Though I do not normally comment on the writings of those of the Religious Right, I think I am going to start doing so more often. First, it allows us to understand the mindset of our opponents, as well as analyse more clearly their arguments. I came to this conclusion the other day when I was reading an article on Focus on the Family's Citizen Link Magazine entitled "Civil Unions Come out of the Closet: Goal is Same Sex Marriage". The writer, Jenny Tyree, makes the assertion that civil unions legislation is actually a ruse by marriage equality advocates to force gay marriage on an unsuspecting populous.

       Her main assertion is that we should not legalize civil unions because in the end, those who advocate for marriage equality will not be satisfied with just civil unions, but will eventually want full marriage rights. She quotes Brian Raum from the Alliance Defense Fund to make her point...
 “Those who support the passage of a civil unions law –- even those here today -– will be the same individuals and organizations who will then say that civil union laws create second-class citizen status for same-sex couples,” Raum said. “And not only that -– that it creates a constitutional claim that requires, then, the state to redefine marriage through the court system.”
She then follows up on Raum's argument by stating,
Make no mistake.  Civil union legislation is not a good compromise for protecting marriage.  Civil unions are only the bait required to get fair-minded people to take the hook.  The big fish is same-sex marriage. 
       This is typically the response that pro-marriage equality activists get from the religious right; that we cannot legalize civil unions because in the distance there is the big bad specter of gay marriage. They believe that those evil homosexual activists who are intent upon redefining marriage will not be sated by our compromise of civil unions.

        For starters, has the link between civil unions and gay marriage ever been hidden? Of course not!The end goal of gay activists has always been marriage equality (not civil unions), and I am surprised that Jenny has been blind to this end goal. That is not the problem though, for Jenny goes even further and states that because of this link to marriage equality, all fair-minded people should not support civil unions for LGBT couples.

       This gives us a very distorted view of why people should support or reject legislation. For if we were all concerned about "slippery slopes" in legislation, then we would not support anything. This is because everything and anything can be extrapolated to further concepts and ideas, and so on and so forth. For example, lets say that  a piece of legislation that would drastically decrease the amount of abortions in this country was proposed in Congress or a state legislature. Let us say that it was a great bill that even a liberal would support. But yet, would it be acceptable for liberals to say, "Oh we can't support this legislation, because those who are supporting it (Republicans and Focus on the Family) will use this to eventually attempt to outlaw abortion period."?  I think not! For if legislation is good and is something that "fair-minded" people would support - it should be supported. Just because one segment of the political spectrum would be advocating for something further, does not automatically make the current legislation rubbish.

     Thus in the end, is Jenny's position actually logical? I think not. For instead of actually addressing the concept of civil unions, she instead twists the discussion of civil unions into one about gay marriage (a classic logical fallacy called the Straw Man). To Jenny, if you read this (I don't know if you have trackbacks on your website or not), please address civil unions as a respectable alternative rather than by switching the subject to deal with gay marriage.

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