How The Washington Post rained on my parade

Congratulations, Washington Post.  You took a victory for the gays (the DADT repeal) and thought, “How can I view this in a negative light for the gay community?” This is what happened.

Lately, after waking up at about noon, I’ve been reading the Washington Post – my parents subscribe to it, and I don’t get it at school.  As a result of my reading, I’ve been getting angry.  There’s always a gay news article, and while I decided to save the one with the DADT repeal headline as a sort of trophy or future artifact, another article in that issue bothered me – it had a problem with calling everything anti-gay, “hate.”  (What would they prefer?  “Intolerance”?  “Discrimination”?)

The article I read today suggests that while the DADT repeal was a victory for the gays, it really doesn’t mean that we’re closer to marriage equality, because that’s totally different.  There were some quotes in there that really got me, and I hope I don’t get too angry again by discussing them here.

The first:

“‘This has nothing to do with the valiant service that gays and lesbians have provided to the United States of America.  That is a given.  We all agree to that,’ said Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga), another opponent of the repeal.  But, Chambliss said, ‘in the middle of a military conflict is not the time to repeal a policy that is working.'”

(1) What is “this,” exactly?  Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and its repeal?  I would say that has everything to do with the valiant service that gays and lesbians have provided to the US.  I mean, duh duh duh.  I don’t need to go into just how blatantly, embarrassingly wrong that statement is.  (2) I also won’t get into how grammatically uneasy the second quote makes me, because more importantly, how is (was?) DADT working?  By taking a psychological toll (I should probably say, adding to the existing psychological toll) on soldiers – the ones you already described as “valiant” for serving our nation?  By discharging “valiant” soldiers “in the middle of a military conflict”?

The second quote:

“The conservative Family Research Council opposes gay marriage, senior fellow Peter Sprigg said, because ‘it ceases to send the crucial social message that [marriage] sends now, which is that opposite-sex sexual relationships are important, they are unique.'”

Where do I start with the problems in this statement?  I’ll start with the biggest one: (1) Marriage sends the message that opposite-sex sexual relationships are unique?  Really?  I’d say that opposite-sex sexual relationships, often called “traditional,” or “the majority,” are least of all unique.  (2) Why is this a crucial message?  (3) Why do we need to bring up “sexual relationships”?  If marriage is about sexual relationships, why would we limit it to straight people when gays can have consenting sex as well?

The third quote:

“‘Allowing a homosexual to serve in the military does not change the definition of what a soldier is, or what the military is,” Sprigg said.  But, he said, allowing gays to marry would “change the difference of what marriage is.  To legalize same-sex marriage is to officially affirm and celebrate homosexual relationships.  And that’s a step that I don’t think the American public is ready to make.'”

I’m going to break down this quote and talk about the first part: the definition of a soldier and the definition of marriage.  Oh, wait.  Sprigg isn’t talking about the “definition of marriage,” he’s talking about the “difference of what marriage is.”  You’d think that if what you were saying was going into the Washington Post, you’d want to think about the grammar and the words you are using in general.  The difference of what marriage is?  I need to look beyond word choice, now, to get to the real issue I have with his statement. People need to get over the definition of marriage.  Nobody cares about a definition.  We care about the rights we get, or rather the rights we are denied.  We care about the fact that we’re second class citizens.  I, personally, care that I have to take into account which states have legalized marriage equality when I decide where to live after school.  (I would go ahead and move to Massachusetts if it wasn’t so cold, but I’m not going to move to sunny California if I can’t get married there!)  And that’s another problem I have with this BS. Not only has the definition of marriage already changed to include same-sex couples, but some states already recognize same-sex marriage.

Besides, do we need to compare the definition of marriage to the definition of a soldier?  “A person who serves in an army” could just as easily have been “a heterosexual person who serves in an army,” since that was the definition we were working under while it was/is illegal to be gay in the military.  If the definition of marriage had started out as “the state, condition, or relationship of being married” or “the legal union of two people,” etc, not explicitly discussing gender, and people were working under the idea that marriage was only recognized between a man and a woman, and then wanted to exclude same-sex relationships, would we be talking about the definition?

That’s the section I really wanted to talk about, because it had the most inherent flaws in its argument.  The rest of it I have problems with, but I feel like I address that a little bit in pointing out that same-sex marriages are recognized in parts of the US.  (I mean, I could talk about the problems with throwing around “the American public” and believing you can think for them, but I don’t really need to.)

Don’t bring around a cloud to rain on my parade!  The weather is already overcast!

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One Response to How The Washington Post rained on my parade

  1. Ray says:

    All the “definition of marriage” stuff bothers me also because it suggests that marriage is/has been/will be the same everywhere and always. It ignores cultural differences in what marriage “means” or entails. And it ignores all the ways in which we have already “changed the definition of marriage.” For one example, I’d say taking out the word “obey” from women’s vows was a change… and I’d say it was a good one. Sometimes change is good, necessary. (I’m sure there are people who oppose gay marriage and also oppose that change, but that’s another argument.)

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