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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Mike Huckabee on GLBT

Well, this isn’t the first time I’ve heard Mike Huckabee referring to gay marriage as equivalent to incest or polygamy, but now I have an article to tear apart piece by piece with every quote noted. And apparently he’s a potential candidate in people’s eyes for the GOP in 2012, out of 193%, I might add. (Yeah, apparently Fox News has special math skills)

But let’s focus on his rhetoric for why gay couples shouldn’t adopt and why we shouldn’t give fair and equal treatment on the great “tradition” of marriage. He replies to why gay couples shouldn’t adopt that “children aren’t puppies”. Well, I’m glad he knows the difference, but I fail to see what the point of such an obvious distinction is. He’s making more equivocations by the second; now all gay couples are like kids who want a pet and don’t realize the responsibilities. I can’t speak for any gay couples, but I seriously doubt they’re so immature that they’d just want a kid to fit in, though some might think that’s a reason these days. Though his quote might also indicate he thinks that gay couples would treat a child like a pet, which is equally silly. But I guess he’s mostly afraid they might “turn” the kid to *gasp* homosexuality. As if that’s more than a drop in the water in the long run.

He then proceeds to suggest that not every group’s interests should be accommodated. Initially this is something I might agree with until he qualifies this by saying that we should only accommodate groups that are in what he calls “the ideal”. Now I can’t imagine what he means by that, but I’d have to guess Protestant straight middle/upper class conservatives. But why would he want that? That sounds suspiciously elitist in that he just wants representation of only the groups that he thinks are worthy of it. But couples that just want to adopt kids but happen to be two men or two women in a committed relationship are not in his “ideal”. He only wants majorities, not any pesky minority he’d have to support. The bigger problem here is that he assumes accommodating someone equates to agreeing with them. I can accommodate the practice of praying before Congress meets and the Christian majority’s very existence (in the form of churches getting tax exempt status for instance) to an extent, but that does not mean I agree with them or am in line with them on many policy issues. Similarly, Huckabee doesn’t have to agree with gay marriage, but if he supports any conservative values, such as the limits on the government to not legislate morality for the country, then he will have to swallow his pride and accept that gays eventually will adopt, if only because less and less people are intolerant of them. Incest and polygamy are on a road I won’t discuss here, since my primary focus is on the man’s bigotry towards what is demonstrably a harmless group with few ill effects on society.

He asks an obviously rhetorical question about gay marriage in the vein of "Why do you get to choose that two men are OK but one man and three women aren't OK?" Well, first off, something being OK doesn’t mean it has to be the majority practice. Not everyone practices missionary position only, and just because there are people that are so sheltered they only perform one sex position doesn’t mean that they’re not OK; they’re just different. And likewise with gay and lesbian couples: they have sex in different ways (and like some straight couples, don’t even view sex as necessary to their relationship) but that doesn’t suggest they’re not ok; again, they’re just different.

He then shifts the burden of proof on gay marriage activists to prove gay marriage is successful, while apparently just begging the question from the start that it doesn’t matter, since they’re not the same as straight marriage. "I don't have to prove that marriage is a man and a woman in a relationship for life," he said. "They have to prove that two men can have an equally definable relationship called marriage, and somehow that that can mean the same thing.” There’s just 2 problems here: 1) Yes you do have to prove marriage is only a man and a woman in a relationship for life, because you make a positive claim requiring proof and clearly marriage wasn’t always the case even in so called Biblical times (the woman was for all intents and purposes property in the time of Abraham for instance) and 2) They could prove it if you stopped purposely sabotaging any attempt they have by automatically judging any deviance as failure from the start. Just because a gay couple is not as popular with people doesn’t mean it can’t work in both principle and practice. Continuing to perpetuate the idea that any abnormality justifies exclusion is only further alienating people that can’t always change what makes them abnormal in people’s eyes (including what sex they are aroused by). Sometimes people just have to look past the surface.

He notes that the country should not "legitimize immorality," although frankly legalizing rape or murder is hardly something any self respecting legislator would do. Gay marriage is hardly agreed to be immoral, thus it is not something that can be presumed to be such. If you interpret a sacred text to say otherwise about gay marriage or homosexual behavior, it does not give you the right to say the country should follow your group, even if it’s in the majority. Otherwise I’d probably be scared for my life since they’d have legislated some policy that suggests I’m less than human because I don’t have any belief in God or have abandoned my church and as an apostate deserve death or exile.

I don’t even need to quote him saying homosexuality is aberrant, unnatural and sinful since that already presumes too many things from the start about how psychology, biology and ethics work. The last thing he says that I’ll quote is suggesting that the government should isolate AIDS patients from the general public to quarantine "carriers of this plague." So then why don’t we just put away everyone that’s HIV positive too if you really don’t like AIDS and believe it’s some sort of “gay disease”? But he’d find out it’s not a gay only disease even if he got his wish to ostracize AIDS patients from the public. Not to mention AIDS isn’t even remotely like the plague. The plague was transmitted through fleas and is bacterial, while AIDS is transmitted through mainly bodily fluid contact and is viral. Please do a little research on immunology before you start suggesting that AIDS is going to kill the world, Huckabee, when it isn’t.

As frustrating as this is, it is something of a relief to find that fewer people seem to agree with Huckabee’s ideas in practice, even if they agree that homosexuality is somehow “bad” or “wrong”. The notion of seeing GLBT people as irreparably damaged or so deviant that they can’t be considered as equals of other individuals in society disgusts me. The fact that I spent time probably every day of the week with GLBT individuals in college made me realize that there is very little different about us in terms of humanity. To bring up the Aristotelian distinction, it is only in accident that we are different, not in essence. We both suffer loss, we both feel happiness and we both seek purpose, all part of the human nature. But I (to my knowledge) only get off on the opposite sex, and they either get off on the same sex or both sexes. And that difference doesn’t bother me, because of one obvious reason: it doesn’t affect my sexuality as to what theirs is. They want tolerance and understanding, not bigotry or willful ignorance, which is little different than stupidity. So if you have a Gay Straight Alliance or some similar group at your high school, college or in your community, go to a meeting. Just talk with them, no preconceptions, just talk with them as a fellow person. Maybe you’ll see things you didn’t think were there before. Until next time, Namaste and Aloha.

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