Richard Mouw, an evangelical who states emphatically that he is not a religious fundamentalist, wrote a Newsweek “My Turn” column on February 9 proclaiming that he voted against marriage equality in California’s Proposition Hate … and then expressing shock and sadness—and tears!—over gay people’s angry reaction after he helped strip us of our equality.
Mouw is a solipsist and an asshole. He reduces our highly justifiable anger to mere “worry” and “anxiety” and thinks that if we all sit down and have a talk—ostensibly to agree that his mythology-driven opinions trump our right to equal representation under the law—we can all live happily together in a “flourishing pluralistic society.”
Mouw also—curiously—implies that he and gay people have an “intimate relationship” and “care deeply about each other” … right before he launches lockstep into the standard litany of laughable arguments against marriage equality: we shouldn’t change the definition of a word, homosexuality is not “normal,” children shouldn’t know about gay people, Christians are the true victims here. He even takes a stab at a couple slippery-slope arguments, the hallmark of intellectual laziness and logical desperation. (Here’s one for you, Richard: If we follow biblical mandates on marriage, then we’ll have to follow biblical mandates on adultery, divorce, reproduction and the subjugation of wives.)
Most impressively, Mouw actually states: “Gays and lesbians have a right to ask me what my sincerely held convictions mean for how they pursue their way of lives.” While I give him points for balls-out impudence, his chosen mythology—sorry, “sincerely held convictions”—have nothing to do with the real world, my life or how I live it. And that “right to ask” goes both ways. Which is why I wrote this response to Newsweek:
If Richard Mouw doesn’t think we deserve the legal and social protections of marriage, that’s his choice. But he can’t rationally expect us to sit down and have a friendly chat with him about it. The dialogue that Mouw purports to want with gay people isn’t like a spirited debate over the existence of a god or the best candidate for a Senate seat. The active denial of marriage equality has real consequences for real families.
We have invested thousands of dollars to approximate the legal protections heterosexual couples take for granted when they get married. And our lawyer informs us there are still uncloseable loopholes in everything we’ve done to protect our home, our relationship and the developmentally disabled adult we’re raising.
Arguments about redefining words and protecting children and silencing Christians are nothing more than misleading distractions thrown into the discussion by people like Mouw who are unwilling to own up to their own prejudices. If Mouw wants a “gentle” dialogue with us, he can start by apologizing for playing the victim after voting to strip gay people of our equality.
Jake and Justin