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10/15/2010

'The wrong side of history' is the only label we need

by Jeremy Hooper

In just the fifth line of his recent commentary for The Washington Post online, law professor Menachem Z. Rosensaft demands that those who are assessing the modern "culture war" climate detach their personal feelings from the realities of the historical record:

Regardless of anyone's religious or moral views on homosexuality, a review of the historical bidding seems to be in order.

And he's absolutely right. Because while modern day opponents of same-sex marriage equality need not be labeled "bigots" or "hatemongers" or part of any other hostile if they choose to embrace reluctance, those who do stop short of supporting this benign fairness undeniably fall -- together, collectively, as one -- on the "no" side of public polling on this issue. Just as those who opposed other forms of equality in the past fell on the "no" side, regardless of their personal motivations. The incontrovertible record is the incontrovertible record.

So Rosensaft goes on to bring up a couple of examples:

While the statistics may be interesting from a sociological perspective, we must not allow our constitutional rights to be determined by Gallup polls or popular referenda. Does anyone doubt that a majority of the good people of Virginia might well have voted to retain the ban on interracial marriage in 1967? Should the Supreme Court have deferred to prejudices that, I suspect, even most of the opponents of same-sex marriage find despicable today?

And what about the invidious 1935 Nuremberg Laws that criminalized both marriages and extramarital intercourse between Jews and Aryans in Nazi Germany? Does the fact that most Germans had no problem with this legislation make it any less reprehensible?

We must never lose sight of the fact that divisive rhetoric and demagoguery have consequences. The delegitimization or demonization of any group threatens our society as a whole.
*SOURCE FOR THIS AND THE ABOVE:
Same-sex marriage is a fundamental right [WaPo]

Again: Rosensaft, the son of two Nazi concentration camp survivors, is not saying that "this thing = that thing." He's not even ascribing negative characteristics on the individuals who sided with discrimination then, or who are subscribing to marriage limitations now. He's simply looking back, as an intellectual study, at the way public polling was used in the past to reject things that we now see as misguided, at best, or downright tragic, at worst. And he's saying that for whatever reason, these things happened on the majority public's watch.

6A00D8341C503453Ef0133Ecc9E7Cd970BBut leave it to Tom McClusky of the uber-homo-rejecting Family Research Council to take these words, put them in a far-right blender, and accuse Mr. Rosensaft of making unfair comparisons:

On the Washington Post web site Menachem Z. Rosensaft, an Adjunct Professor of Law at Cornell Law School and Distinguished Visiting Lecturer at the Syracuse University College of Law, argues for same-sex marriage by first comparing those who support marriage between one man and one woman as racist, a charge ignorant of the history of marriage and of those who support the institution. He then goes further to compare those supporters to Nazis.
...
Yes, calling people racists and Nazis really contributes to the debate. It is shameful he would write such things; it is even more disgraceful that no one at the Washington Post thought it was offensive enough to stop.

Support Marriage Between 1 Man and 1 Woman = Nazi? [FRC's Cloakroom blog]

Sensitive much, Tom?

This is one of the biggest canards of the "pro-family" crowd: To act like they are the poor innocents who are sitting around with perfectly clean hands while everyone around them hurls labels and insults and unfair comparisons there way. It's obvious strategy, meant to foster the parallel canard of painting the gays as "militant." But it's a tactic we will not allow them to get away with! Because we here at G-A-Y challenge FRC every single day of the week, and we never call anyone "bigots." We never delve into the whys that make FRC president Tony Perkins accuse LGBTs of being "held captive by the enemy" or make top FRC official Peter Sprigg seek either the criminalization or exportation of gay people. We don't need to. All we need to do is make note of what is being said and done, what once was said and done, and the fallout that stems from both. Which is primarily what Mr. Rosensaft has done in his piece: Knock the "divisive rhetoric, demagoguery, delegitimization, or demonization" that has cropped up and swayed public polling against certain kinds of marriages, now and throughout history. Like us, he didn't need to call any modern supporter of marital shortsightedness as "Nazi" or a "racist": He simply needed to call them wrong.

***

**Oh, and if we want to talk about shameful WaPo contributions, lets rehash Tony Perkins' recent piece peddling outright junk science and false claims, as if abject fallacy is merely another point of view: And now in undeserved credence news: WaPo gives anti-bullying ink to man who says gays 'are held captive by the enemy' [G-A-Y]

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