Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Debate on Same-Sex Marriage

I have been listening to a debate dealing with the issue of same-sex marriage called "Breaking With Radition," found here. Now, I have only gotten about half way through it, but I must say that I have been left with some impressions, some good, and some bad.

On the positive side, I appreciate that Michael Coren, a defender of marriage, was able to effectively communicate that heterosexuals don't corner the market on bigotry and hatred. It is a good thing that we keep homosexuals in proper perspective, by which I mean that we see them as human beings fully capable of the same range of behaviors, positive and negative, as heterosexuals. That they have been greatly discriminated against there can be no debate. Yet we must resist the urge to develop a romanticised vision of homosexuals on that account so that they become inherently more virtuous, their cause inherently more just, than that of heterosexuals who defend marriage. Michael made himself something of a sympathetic figure, and, I think, leveled the rhetorical playing field somewhat in so doing.

On the negative side, I was saddened mainly by two related things. The first was that the proponent for same-sex marriage from the outset ratcheted up the emotional volume of the debate by casting himself and his cause in the victim's role, playing for sympathy, and elevating the role of emotion and denying the proper place of reason in what is already an emotional topic. Such placed Coren immediately in the position not only of having to defend marriage, but also of having to disassociate himself from others who may share his position on the issue of same-sex marriage, but few if any of principles.

The second thing that has disappointed me thus far has been the fact that there have indeed been those present who spoke in a way that fully justified the emotional characterizations that the proponent of same-sex marriage out forth. Now, one might well wonder why I was saddened by this. If one is cynical, then one might conclude that I was saddened to have been, in a sense, "outed," for having seen my camp portrayed in what some consider to be its true light. Those of a fairer frame of mind however might well recognize the truth: that I am saddened because debate ought to be the place where both sides put forth their best arguments, presented by their best representatives. Anything less than this fails to advance the discussion.

Again, I have only listened to about half the debate, so there is yet hope that the event will to some extent be redeemed. I' ill report back when I have finished listening.

1 comment:

Kim said...

I started to listen to the debate too. I only heard about half of it. I still say the Michael Coren is one of the most eloquent speakers that I know. I agree with you that the proponent of same sex marriage did come across as a "victim". Unfortunately that is how most of the gay and lesbian group portray themselves. It does win them sympathy from the "fence sitters" in this issue.
I'm thankful that there are still people that are willing to stand for morality and take their knocks while doing so. I hope to have a spare two hours (yeah right) to listen to the debate in its entirety