Saturday, February 05, 2005
Court Rulings and Tolerance
Today I would like to examine some of what lies behind this ruling. "Tolerance," has come to be an extremely misunderstood and misused word in our society. I have posted on this twice before, here and here. Evangelical Underground and A Physicist's Perspective also have some good posts on the subject.
"Diversity" is equally misunderstood, perhaps even more so. Diversity has grown from being a characteristic to being a value. "Tolerance" had not yet quite reached the vaunted heights of "diversity," but it is well up the slope and the top is in sight.
I am always struck by how these words get thrown around as justification for simply following an urge. When we were kids, and you would argue with a friend, the argument would often end with, "Because I want to that's why!" When I hear tolerance and diversity thrown out in discussions like this, it strikes me that people think that just because they have found a multi-syllabic word instead of saying, "Because I want to that's why!" it is somehow a mature response. It makes me want to utter the same response my parents gave to me when that ugly whine left my lips, "Sorry, you do not always get to do what you want to do. -- Life is hard that way"
Where endeth the slippery slope? How long will it be before someone is exonerated for murder because "diversity" demands that we respect the murders belief that the victim had to die? How long will it be before I have to "tolerate" the fact that my neighbor like to come over and raid my frig for his supper every night?
Yes, that is a slippery slope argument. I posted a long time ago, in a far away and never read place about why I think slippery slope arguments are valid.
For several years now, it has been argued that allowing gay marriage will open the floodgates to polygamy, bestiality, and a whole host of other sexual deviances. The gay marriage crowd as always poo-pooed that argument because it is slippery-slope and because being gay was "not sexually deviant."
Yesterday's NY ruling is stunning, absolutely stunning, in that it doesn't just ride the slippery slope, it reverses it. Evangelical Outpost quotes from the ruling:
Defendant's historical argument is no less conclusory than amici's tautological argument that same-sex marriage is impossible, because, as a matter of definition, "marriage" means, and has always meant, the legal union of a man and a woman. Further, the premise of that argument is factually wrong; polygamy has been practiced in various places and at various times, for example, in the Territory of Utah. See Davis v. Beason, 133 US 333 (1890); Genesis 29: 21-30; Deuteronomy 21: 10-17. (p. 45)
In this ruling the judge uses the fact that polygamy was historically practiced as justification for homosexual marriage. See, we've been arguing wrong all along. Gay marriage won't lead to polygamy -- polygamy leads to gay marriage.
Wait! Isn't a great deal of the history of the American west written in a effort to rid ourselves of that practice. Why would that be, one wonders?
Look at the biblical citations in the part of the ruling quoted above. I provided links there -- the passages are too long to reproduce here. In both instances, polygamy is a result of women being treated as chattel. After all, if women are just property, it makes sense to acquire as many of them as possible -- they are a representation of wealth.
So here it is (and this is deliciously ironic because this ruling came form a female judge) because we used to think women were property, and therefore used to practice polygamy, we should allow gay marriage, but that won't lead to the practice of polygamy returning to our society, and that will not in turn lead to women returning to the state of property.
Of course, I get it now -- we should allow gay marriage because they want to, that's why.