Saturday, July 25, 2015

Anti-Gay Marriage Screed Slammed by Readers and Critics

Heritage Foundation homophobe
If one wants serious writing and journalism, don't expect to find it from some of the favored anti-gay authors of the far right who pontificate as if they were experts - most have zero actual credentials - yet rarely do anything more than regurgitate the same tired arguments and go through numerous contortions trying to hide the reality that their anti-gay animus ultimately traces back to religion and religious based bigotry.  Such seemingly is the case with Heritage Foundation hack Ryan T. Anderson whose new book, Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom is being slammed by critics and readers.  Nonetheless, Anderson will walk away with money from the members of the shrinking anti-gay right who by the book and then use the book to boost his supposed credentials.  Think Progress looks at the panning of Anderson and his book.  Here are highlights:
“Absolutely nothing new here.”
“Ryan T. Anderson’s Checklist of Failed Arguments”
“Nothing new. Not challenging. Not entertaining. Not enlightening.”
“Pointless debate of a settled issue”
“A Tired read full of dog whistles to Anti-Gay bigotry”
“read it if you already agree with the author and just want to read something supporting your view.”

These are all negative reviews of Ryan T. Anderson’s new book, Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom, as found on Amazon. Anderson, a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, has become one of the leading voices in the movement to oppose marriage equality and LGBT rights generally, and he marketed this new book to address what comes after Obergefell, the Supreme Court’s ruling bringing marriage equality to the country. 

Heritage has been concerned about all the negative reviews the book has received from what it dismissed as dishonest “activists and ideologues,” but the reality is that the reviews are right: the book has nothing new to offer, nor is it particularly convincing.

[W]hat is interesting about Truth Overruled is what happens when all of those arguments are juxtaposed so closely. The clear contradictions between them become so much more apparent that in many ways, they debunk themselves. They also reveal the systemic rejection of gay, lesbian, and bi people that persists — however sugarcoated — among social conservatives.

Rather than being an effective manifesto of all the arguments against recognizing same-sex relationships as marriages, it serves as a guide for just how weak this already-lost case is, and why continued fights — including the ongoing struggle over using “religious liberty” to justify anti-gay discrimination — will likely not prevail either.

Anderson constructs an artificial concept of what marriage is. Instead of the familiar religious and civil definitions of marriage, he develops his own hypothetical ideal of “marriage,” an abstract, philosophical notion that supposedly borrows from both the civil and religious definitions. Under the pretense of “natural law,” Anderson assumes that the traits he lays out in his ideal will be so common-sense as to be irrefutable. He makes a point of claiming he is not relying solely on religious tenets, but he simultaneously ignores much of how marriage is actually practiced in culture and the many different ways it is important to people and the government that recognizes it. He conveniently selects concepts that serve his purpose of rejecting same-sex marriage without explicitly sounding anti-gay, but in doing so presents a vision of marriage unrecognizable to just about anybody, and the anti-gay dog whistles prevalent throughout demonstrate just how conservatives constructed it.

Wolfson explained, “with the ruling in the Lawrence v. Texas case, that moral objection or moral disapproval of gay people because of who they are is not a basis for making laws to disadvantage people.” States could no longer say of gay people, “they’re icky,” “they’re scary,” “we don’t like them,” or “we don’t approve of them.” Instead, “They actually had to come up with a neutral-sounding rationale for why states were denying marriage.  . . . . The contrast was evident in the 2013 Windsor case, when opponents of marriage equality were forced to reconcile the “moral disapproval of homosexuality” lawmakers cited as their reasoning for passing the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996.

Anderson relies on slippery slope warnings about polyamory, “monogamish” and open relationships, and short-termed “wedlease” marriages to show the deterioration of his marriage ideal. Of course, none of those are uniquely relevant to the issue of same-sex marriage. They may indeed be growing in popularity, and there may even be legal questions to consider in the future concerning these other kinds of relationships, but they are entirely different issues not informed by sexual orientation.

He fails to mention that Dutch researchers have clarified, “Neither the legalization of same-sex marriage nor the introduction of registered partnership have had significant negative effects on the Dutch different-sex marriage rate in the aggregate.” He makes the same claim about marriage rates dipping in early marriage equality states like Iowa, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire, but leaves out the part about how those states’ marriage rates were declining at virtually the exact same rates before marriage equality arrived as after. Marriage equality actually had no effect.

[C]onservatives have had to find a way to talk about the issue of same-sex marriage without saying much about homosexuality. Try as he might not to, Anderson reveals several assumptions he holds about the inferiority of same-sex relationships — assumptions that might not be apparent at first glance but that are essential to his case against marriage equality. Inherent in his definition of marriage is a concept Anderson refers to at times as the “comprehensive act,” his euphemism for when a man inserts his penis into a woman’s vagina and releases sperm to fertilize her egg. . . . This suggests Anderson knows very little about sex, why anybody has it, how anybody has it, or just how deep, intimate, and meaningful it can be for any couple regardless of their chance of fertilizing an egg and regardless of their gender pairing.

Anderson is not particularly effective at hiding his irrational animus either. He dedicates a whole chapter to “why sexual orientation is not like race.” Taking existing racial and religious discrimination protections for granted, he decries adding sexual orientation and gender identity protections — what he calls “special privileges” — because he believes they will undermine the freedoms of speech and religion for those who oppose LGBT equality. He essentially believes that religious people, which apparently only includes conservatives who share his position and none of the people motivated by faith to support LGBT rights, should have a hecklers’ veto that overrides LGBT people’s basic right to not be fired, evicted, or denied service for who they are. He’s pointing that “special privileges” accusation in the wrong direction. . . . .

Apparently, falling in love with someone and wanting to commit to that person for life and build a family with them is a “selfish desire” — if you’re gay. . . Gays and lesbians should instead be content with “deep friendships,” which he calls “liberating.” . . . chastity is the only option he offers to people with same-sex orientations.

Anderson is insistent that discrimination against LGBT people be allowed to continue. Just this week he railed against the new Equality Act, a comprehensive LGBT nondiscrimination bill just introduced in Congress. These protections “threaten the freedom of citizens, individually and in associations, to affirm their religious or moral convictions — convictions such as that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.”

There's more, but as I said, in the end ALL of Anderson's attacks on equality and non-discrimination trace back to his religious belief that same sex love is a "sin" and his inability to admit that the Catholic Church is wrong on the issue - just as throughout history it has been wrong on many, many issues.   The only thing in Anderson's defense I can say is that, having been raised Catholic, I know too well how badly it f*cks up one's mind.  But a time comes when we all need to grow up and accept logic, reason and modern knowledge over the Church's 13th century "natural law."  Anderson unfortunately refuses to grow up due I can only assume to his own psychological/sexual hang ups.

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