Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Michael Medved Wants Special Rights For Heterosexuals

I can understand the impulse behind wanting to protect the traditional institution of marriage, even though I may disagree with those arguments. What I can't understand is the utter foolishness and complete lack of logic behind this Michael Medved rant against gay marriage at

But the advocates of same-sex matrimony fail to explain why the institutions and practices which they believe will work so well in solidifying relationships in their community have failed to function with similar effectiveness for heterosexuals. Gay rights advocates find themselves in the odd position of arguing that legally sanctioned marriage will work better at improving and enhancing homosexual intimacy than it has in strengthening the straight partnerships for which it was designed. In fact, champions of marital redefinition love citing the baleful example of Britney Spears, asking why the pop star should be entitled to two brief, failed, ill-considered marriages, while more responsible and mature gay people can’t win approval for even one. Critics of the status quo also deride those of us who say we’re trying to defend traditional marriage –pointing out that the high divorce and infidelity rate makes it questionable whether this old concept of matrimony is even worth defending.

Yet these same gay rights activists continue to claim that the same institution that has failed to uplift or preserve the relationships of so many heterosexuals, will work magically to enrich the lives of gays. The assumption behind these contradictory arguments seems to be that homosexual relationships are somehow inherently more worthy, conscious, generous, mature and capable of refinement by marital institutions than their unthinking, straight equivalents.

The argument about "special rights" for gay people has always struck me as facetious. I think there's a lot to be said on both sides of the debate about whether we should treat sexual orientation the same way we treat race, but even if we were to treat sexual orientation the same way we treat race, this is not an argument for "special rights." Medved completely misses the point behind two entirely separate arguments. The "failed celebrity marriage" argument is made to point out the hypocrisy of a system that allows heterosexuals to marry for flippant reasons and prevents those in committed homosexual relationships from being married. The other argument, that marriage would foster greater commitment and responsibility in homosexual relationships is basically a conservative argument for gay marriage.

The two points are not contradictory. Marriage can be an institution that fosters greater commitment on the part of some people while being an institution that is abused by other people. No one is trying to say that gay relationships are better than straight relationships, or visa versa- oh wait, some people are. Michael Medved and his ilk constantly pontificate that straight relationships are superior to gay relationships. Maybe Michael Medved should think about who he really wants to leave in the position of "special rights."


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