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09/03/2008

Wherein iProtectMarriage makes us iNtensely iRate

by Jeremy Hooper

We always hate to see young people led to believe that anti-gay sentiment is an non-debatably faith-based standpoint. But at least when the arguments are based on one's personal theological outlooks, we can respect that we live in a nation where folks are free to hold their own religious positions. And while we would certainly encourage any person of faith to be open to further understanding of the LGBT community and our role within the spectrum of this planet, we would respect their right to not ever come around to our way of thinking.

However, when we see politically-charged adults deliberately misleading young people with misinformation, it's a completely different story. And when it's done without even the slightest consideration of varying viewpoints, we begin to take great offense.

Read further to see a new, particularly egregious way in which those who are trying to reinstate marriage inequality in California are working with an unacceptably disingenuous playbook in order to rally teens and young adults to stand against LGBT equality

Alright, so the folks behind the Proposition 8 campaign have launched a new website called iprotectmarriage.com, which is pointedly meant to capture the interests of the youth population. And on said site, they are running what they pretend is a "poll," but what is really nothing more than one-sided, flawed, unfair talking points with zero room for alternate stances. Have a look.

The first question in the "poll" asks whether or not any two people who love each other should have the right to get married. Now, the question itself is unfair, since gay rights advocates are not arguing that ANY two loving people should be free to marry -- we are arguing that homosexual, non-related adults should be free to civilly marry just like their heterosexual counterparts. But for now, we will play along. Here's what happens if one answers "yes" to the question:

[***UPDATE, August 2010: The first clip somehow disappeared. Sorry!]

What you get is dumbed down rhetoric. You don't get any consideration for your view. You don't get any respect for the opposing argument. You get snarky young people basically telling you that you're dumb, even though it is they who are using incredibly dumbed-down. discourse-lowering arguments! And as you will see, if you click "no," you essentially get the exact same argument:

More of the same. Never once are gay couples compared to straight ones (their logical counterparts). Instead the concept of love is expanded and even exploited in an unfair way. And then in the "no" part, there's also the extremely fallacious yet frequently recited idea that bisexuality is the same thing as polyamory. It is decidedly not!

Moving on to the next question -- This is the extremely terse answer one gets if they say that it was fair for the California Supreme Court to rule as they did:

No consideration for the role of the judiciary. No attempt to refute the idea that minority rights shouldn't be left up to a majority. No consideration of the fact that the court determined gays to be a "suspect class," as courts have done with other groups throughout history. Young people are give the unfair and even un-American idea that court rulings are unfair to and portion of the electorate that disagrees with them. It's unfair to both gays and civics teachers!

If, however, one answers "no" to the question:

They are given the weird notion that, for some unknown reason, the 2000 vote is meant to stand for all time without any further scrutiny or consideration. And again, there's the idea that California voters have been robbed simply because the judiciary did what is essentially its job: to test the constitutionality of the current law!

Okay, one more. This is perhaps the most annoying of all for a number of reasons. For one, the phrasing of the question, "Do you think it is 'discrimination' for a church to refuse to marry a gay couple?" is irrelevant to the civil marriage arguments. Despite the "pro-family" side's repeated claims, the gay rights movement is not arguing that churches MUST participate in the ancillary, religious marriage component. Most of us fully respect the rights of churches to make their own decisions in this area. But just to play along, here's what happens if you answer "yes":

You get pastor Miles McPherson not only muddying this issue by even addressing this straw man claim -- you get him going one almost unbelievable step further by boldly stating "marriage is not a civil issue but a religious issue." This, for the sake of the civil marriage equality debate, is a COMPLETE LIE! Even if you, based on your faith, think that marriage is only marriage in the eyes of God, that is separate from reasoned discussion regarding the Supreme Court's decision, the licenses one obtains in a civil office building, and the rights, benefits, and obligations conferred by the state (and hopefully, ultimately, the federal) government. Miles McPherson is simply being untruthful!

And if you answer "no" to this question:

You get a pat on the back and confirmation of a point THAT GAY RIGHTS PROPONENTS ARE NOT EVEN DEBATING! Our movement, by and large, fully supports the rights of churches to make their own decisions in this area!!!!!!!!!!!!

::sigh::

There are five other questions posed in this "poll," but we literally do not have the energy at this point to even dignify the outstandingly disingenuous attempts to confuse young people about matters of civil equality and human rights. If you wish to view the others, they can be found here:

The Issue [iProtectMarriage]

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Your thoughts

What's odd about the "Yes" answer to the 3rd question, (is it discrimination for the church to not marry a gay couple,) is that he explains exactly why marriage equality is NOT a legal problem for churches.

Churches are ALREADY allowed to "discriminate" about whom they choose to marry based on their whatever criteria they desire. How then, did legalizing same-sex marriage effect religious freedoms in any way?

As the site kindly explained to us, it didn't.

Posted by: GayMormonBoy | Sep 3, 2008 12:36:31 PM

This is almost funny in its attempt to be so United Colors of Benneton. I'm almost surprised there wasn't a Native American in full tribal dress. I love this Republican version of Rock the Vote. I mean it's seriously hard to get upset anymore when the logic is so ridiculous.

Posted by: UK Chris | Sep 3, 2008 1:28:00 PM

I think that the "religiosity" issue is their Achilles heal, and apparently, so do they. They attempt to have it both ways. The Asian chick attempts to make the claim (read the cue card in front of her) that marriage is NOT a religious issue, and then they have McPherson making exactly the opposite claim. They need to couch it as being non-religious, but they can't.

If there are voters, who are actively studying this issue, I have to believe that this disconnect would raise a big red flag. They would, at least, have to question which one of the two was lying to them. And at that point, the argument is already lost.

Posted by: Dick Mills | Sep 3, 2008 2:15:00 PM

Heh, is it just me or do the people in those videos look like they've been cut out of paper?

Posted by: Ravvie | Sep 4, 2008 5:34:14 AM

Wow, that is the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen. It is just about as valid as the "good person test" that we were getting re-directed to for a while.
-They are trying so hard to be "hip to the youth" hence the tommy lee-look-a-like.

Posted by: PMW | Sep 4, 2008 10:27:34 AM

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