Here's a berry tiramusa that my mom made yesterday for my dad's birthday -- to sweeten things up after yesterday's post and comments. But I'll get to that later. First, some frivolity for maintaining that careful ratio. How about this: a Laini's Ladies giveaway!
I just got boxes of Ladies in the mail yesterday from the manufacturer -- they include four new "everday" designs and the new Christmas line of 6 designs, in cards, ornaments, and boxed post-it notes. Oh, and gift tags. I love the adorable gift tags. These will be distributed to friends, family, and colleagues, but I will still have leftovers to join the mass that is taking up space in the studio, so I think I need to thin the stash a little! So, if you are interested in receiving a Laini's Ladies shwag pack in the mail, EMAIL ME, and put "SHWAG PLEASE" in the subject line. I will do a drawing or something. (And Enna Isilee, I will already send you one, as a way-belated birthday/thank you for reading package; sorry for the delay!)
So, there's something fun and colorful. And now. . . there are some things I need to say as follow-up to yesterday's post about gay marriage.
First, thanks to the commenters. Thank you to Tone for being a consistent voice of acceptance and an advocate for love. Thank you too to the pro-8 folks who came over to voice their opinion -- it is important we hear from you, and it is courageous to own up to one's beliefs in a potentially hostile environment and not post as "anonymous." Almost everyone stayed within what I would consider to be the bounds of civility, and one who didn't removed her own comment herself. Anyway, there are two main things that I want to address.
1.) What is "discrimination"?
Though I posted the dictionary definition of it yesterday, I still feel compelled to quote Inigo Montoya: "You keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means."
Commenter Afton said, "It seems like the cry of "discrimination" is a little hypocritcal, however, because there is a lot going on in this discussion: namely, the discrimination of people who don't believe the way you do." Commenter Wyman echoed the sentiment: "Laini, the title of your post is: "To discriminate or not to discriminate?" Taken literally, the answer is you chose to DISCRIMINATE, as did virtually all commenters. Not to discriminate, would have been not to post."
And when I followed some other commenters back to their own blogs, where they had posted their own pro-8 opinions, I saw more of this view. So let's clear this up. Am I discriminating against Hwalk by disagreeing with her view of gay marriage? No. Because I am not trying to shape laws to deny her rights. I perfectly accept her right to be anti-gay; I do not accept her right to discriminate against gays. Is it discrimination to speak out against discrimination? No. It is standing up for law and liberty. Is it discrimination for Hwalk to blog or speak against gay rights? No. It's discrimination for her to vote against gay rights. See the difference? In our country, we DO have freedom of speech. Even the KKK can get permits to march. They cannot, however, ban African Americans from schools, commit violent acts, or otherwise perpetrate bigotry. Am I discriminating against the KKK by saying they shouldn't be allowed to burn crosses on people's lawns? No. Would I be discriminating if I said they should not be able to obtain legal permits to march? Yes. Abhorrent as they are, they have a right to express their views -- but not a right to act on them in violation of the rights of others. Are you seeing what I'm saying?
You can THINK what you want. You just can't actively try to prevent others from having equal rights. The Mormon church, as a private entity, can preach what it wants, and its followers can believe what they want. THAT is freedom of religion. What they cannot do is try to force their religious views on other people. That is the opposite of freedom of religion. That is tyranny.
So, it's just nonsense that protecting equal rights is "discrimination against discriminators." One pro-8 blogger wrote:
"If the law stands as it is now (meaning Prop 8 does not pass) it will have consequences. We have seen some of these happen in MA already. For example, religious leaders who speak out against gay marriage have been sued for discrimination and hate crimes. I believe that is an infraction of free speech. It is up to each person to choose their own way of life, which goes for both gay and traditional couples. Just because one holds a traditional view does not mean they should be kept from expressing their own opinions, just as those who do not hold a traditional view."
What of this argument? First of all, I am skeptical of the premise. IF someone sends me links to court cases in which religious leaders in MA have been sued for refusing to officiate gay marriages, I would concede that this violates a church's right to its own beliefs. But from what I have read in language in California same-sex marriage bills, this is very much NOT the intent. From House Bill AB-849:
SEC. 7. Section 403 is added to the Family Code , to read:
No priest, minister, or rabbi of any religious denomination, and no official of any nonprofit religious institution authorized to solemnize marriages, shall be required to solemnize any marriage in violation of his or her right to free exercise of religion guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution or by Section 4 of Article I of the California Constitution.
So basically, I deny the argument. I personally would support the above clause. This issue is not about forcing any church to perform a ceremony against its beliefs. It's about preventing churches from forcing people to abide by their religion. You've got it all turned around backward, discriminators. It's you against the gay community, not the gay community against you.
Which brings me to my second point.
2.) Believe what you want. But WHY do you have to make others live by your beliefs?
Freedom of religion in America also means freedom from religion. What no one who is against gay marriage has yet explained to me is: who are YOU to decide? What jurisdiction does your church have over those who are not its members? Why can you not practice your religion in private? What would happen to America if all churches expected all Americans to follow their own religious practice?
Defend "traditional marriage" by practicing it well yourself.
There's so much more I could say on the issue, but I really need to get back to work. I'll just summarize my response quickly to a few arguments that were brought up yesterday:
1.) To paraphrase: "Marriage is a social institution for the making of babies. Gay couples can not make babies, so they should not be allowed to marry." Really? Which is it, is marriage sanctified by God, or is it a social institution that exists purely for propagation of the species? I hope anyone reading this can see the huge flaws in this argument without my having to point them out. But I will anyway. Lots of married couples cannot or do not have children. My husband and I have been married for over seven years and we do not have children. Does that mean our marriage is invalid?
We know gay couples who are raising their own biological children from previous hetero relationships. We know gay couples who have adopted. We know lesbian couples who have used sperm donors, and gay couples who have used in vitro and a surrogate. We know straight couples who have done all of these things too. Are the straight couples real parents while the gay parents aren't?
My argument yesterday was that marriage is the highest expression of love and commitment one human being can make to another. This comment seeks to redefine marriage as a purely biological arrangement wherein sperm meets egg. Does anyone really think that?
2.) "The nuclear family with a mother and a father is proven to be the best kind of family." Malarkey. Loving same-sex household are wonderful places for children to thrive. Plenty of nuclear families are miserable places for children, and plenty of single parents or even grandparents do tremendous jobs of raising children. It's about the people involved, it's about love and support -- not gender, not age, color, religion or anything else. The assertion that only a man and a woman can raise a child properly, well, it simply does not square with the reality of complex human experience. Y'all need to meet more people.
3.) The "slippery slope" argument, that if we legalize same-sex marriage, then all kinds of loopy marriages are going to rain down on us. Men will marry dogs! Girls will marry their grandmothers! Life will become a pornographic circus of bestial and incestuous marriages! People who make this argument in sincerity evidently equate homosexuality with bestiality and incest, and are likely the same people who believe all gay people are pedophiles, or at the very least, lewd and wildly promiscous. These are vicious stereotypes made in ignorance (and not only ignorance, but a particularly vile brand of smirking self-righteous, willful, hateful ignorance), and shouldn't be dignified with discussion. We are talking about loving adults who are human and not related. Bestiality and incest are both illegal. Homosexuality is not. If you have even the most rudimentary training in critical thinking, you know that the "slippery slope" form of argument is an "informal fallacy." It is faulty reasoning, and is used to manipulate and mislead. The Right loves to use it to instill fear, and this whole "next they'll be trying to marry dogs or their own grandmother" is not worthy of thinking people. Period.
Oh man, I need to wrap this up RIGHT NOW. If you want to leave a comment, I ask that it be civil. If you want to defend Prop 8, please give me a very thoughtful reason why YOUR personal beliefs should govern other people. You don't have to leave a comment, you know. I respect your right to your beliefs. It is just where you try to force them on other people that I have a problem. So, go in peace.