We knew the reaction would be hysterical when the California Supreme Court ruled that gays had the right to marry (each other). We knew we'd see irrationality extraordinaire. But even I was amazed at the histrionic, totally out-of-touch reaction from Dennis Prager. If you thought they couldn't get loopier than the contention that the terrorists pose a worse threat to the US than did the Soviet Union, you are in for a bunch of "you ain't seen nothing yet".
The basic problem Prager and the other opponents of gay marriage have is that they think homosexuality is morally wrong, per se. They may sincerely care about the supposed damage it causes, but that does not motivate their position. And they know that doesn't hold water in modern society, so they try to dress up their objections in a rational cloak of pragmatic concern, hoping no one will notice that the core of their complaint is religious, ie, baseless. Their true colors show in their inability to sustain the argument long enough to make a convincing pragmatic case, similar to what happens to them when they attempt to argue against porn. Their arguments all end up amounting to "allowing porn will lead to more porn", as if such an argument is going to move anyone who doesn't think there is something wrong with porn in the first place. This is why they are so utterly unpersuasive, and why they end up sounding as silly as Prager does. Right out of the chutes he's off in his own little world:
"Nothing imaginable -- leftward or rightward -- would constitute as radical a change in the way society is structured as this redefining of marriage for the first time in history: Not another Prohibition, not government taking over all health care, not changing all public education to private schools, not America leaving the United Nations, not rescinding the income tax and replacing it with a consumption tax. Nothing.
Unless California voters amend the California Constitution or Congress amends the U.S. Constitution, four justices of the California Supreme Court will have changed American society more than any four individuals since Washington, Jefferson, Adams and Madison."
Imagine for a minute you didn't know what Prager was talking about, and what possibilities you'd entertain as being worthy of such a description. A return to slavery perhaps? Maybe elimination of property rights? The invention of small, affordable, private, flying machines? Finding a cure for old age? But allowing people to marry those with matching naughty bits? Change the society more than removing the income tax or reinstating prohibition? What on earth does Prager think is going to occur? Best not to drink your cokes while you read the earth shattering implications Prager envisions for our future. We'll skip over Prager's projections of the supposed arrogance of those who would tell others what is moral, or his amusing astonishment that we don't consider the religions of antiquity relevant in determining the morality of today. We'll also ignore the common red herring of "compassion", which along with phantom problems with people's feelings, are the favorite straw men trotted out by social conservatives when they don't want to honestly deal with what the other side has to say. No, let's get right into the meat of what horrible consequences await us in a pluralistically oriented marriage society:
"Outside of the privacy of their homes, young girls will be discouraged from imagining one day marrying their prince charming -- to do so would be declared 'heterosexist,' morally equivalent to racist. Rather, they will be told to imagine a prince or a princess. Schoolbooks will not be allowed to describe marriage in male-female ways alone. Little girls will be asked by other girls and by teachers if they want one day to marry a man or a woman."
Oh, the HORROR! A little girl will be asked who she wants to marry, and she'll say which it is. This is going to cause society to collapse? The rest of those scenarios are typical projection. People like Prager only see the world two ways: him telling you what to do, or you telling him what to do. The notion that people might be left to make their own choices is anathema to him. Thus he can't see that the message of this ruling is that homosexuals can be who they are. There is nothing here about discouraging heterosexuals from being who they are.
"The sexual confusion that same-sex marriage will create among young people is not fully measurable. Suffice it to say that, contrary to the sexual know-nothings who believe that sexual orientation is fixed from birth and permanent, the fact is that sexual orientation is more of a continuum that ranges from exclusive heterosexuality to exclusive homosexuality."
Classic non sequitor. Prager acts as if sexuality fixed from birth is necessarily binary, and anything on a continuum must be socially constructed. Of course the evidence supporting any of this, as well as his assertion that allowing homosexual marriage will cause sexual confusion, is a big fat goose egg. He's apparently still under the impression that people can be influenced to be gay.
"Much of humanity -- especially females -- can enjoy homosexual sex. It is up to society to channel polymorphous human sexuality into an exclusively heterosexual direction -- until now, accomplished through marriage. But that of course is 'heterosexism,' a bigoted preference for man-woman erotic love, and therefore to be extirpated from society."
Yes Dennis, because that forces some people to deny who they are. And notice the subtle circularity we spoke of earlier. WHY is it up to society to turn homos into heteros? No answer of course. God said it, Prager believes it, and that settles it.
"Any advocacy of man-woman marriage alone will be regarded morally as hate speech, and shortly thereafter it will be deemed so in law."
Yes Dennis, the same way any advocacy of same-race marriage is regarded as hate speech. Again, the threat that this poses to society is? The damage this does to heterosexual marriages is?
"Companies that advertise engagement rings will have to show a man putting a ring on a man's finger -- if they show only women fingers, they will be boycotted just as a company having racist ads would be now. Films that only show man-woman married couples will be regarded as antisocial and as morally irresponsible as films that show people smoking have become."
This is complete claptrap. We allow interracial marriages, but there is no boycotting of ring companies showing same-race couples, ditto for films. Prager is simply making shit up here.
"Traditional Jews and Christians -- i.e. those who believe in a divine scripture -- will be marginalized. Already Catholic groups in Massachusetts have abandoned adoption work since they will only allow a child to be adopted by a married couple as the Bible defines it -- a man and a woman."
It's called freedom of religion Dennis, you should try it sometime. Again, the threat this poses for society is what again?
And in case that isn't all absurd enough, Prager goes where even I could imagine he'd go. He actually thinks allowing gay marriage will, well, you just have to read it to believe it:
"Indeed -- and this is the ultimate goal of many of the same-sex marriage activists -- the terms "male" and "female," "man" and "woman" will gradually lose their significance. They already are. On the intellectual and cultural left, "male" and "female" are deemed social constructs that have little meaning. That is why same-sex marriage advocates argue that children have no need for both a mother and a father -- the sexes are interchangeable. Whatever a father can do a second mother can do. Whatever a mother can do, a second father can do. Genitalia are the only real differences between the sexes, and even they can be switched at will."
While no one is going to claim that the sexes are entirely socially interchangeable, it has been made clear over the last few decades of female equality under the law that many of the differences thought to be intrinsic to men and women turn out to be largely socially constructed. This is not something we needed some California judges to tell us. Prager is lost in a time warp, where only women can be nurturing, and only men can work grimy jobs. And believe it or not, homosexuals have a solid sexual identity as males and females. Allowing homosexual marriage does not magically make us all hermaphrodites.
Now where again is the explanation of what exactly this is going to do to society? How again is it going to so radically change it? Prager has no idea. Every one of his concerns is either 1) a lack of understanding of the difference between allowing something and mandating it, 2) totally dependent on religious assumptions, and 3) based on gross ignorance of the basis of homosexuality and the identities such people have. There is not a shred of science behind anything Prager, or anyone else fighting gay marriage, has to say. They are simply this generation's version of those who resisted the shift from horses to cars, or who thought blacks could never be equal citizens to whites, or that women can't handle the right to vote, or that the slaves couldn't be freed. Time will pass them by, as it did all those groups.