Gay is the new black is one of the mottos of the movement to redefine marriage to include two people of the same sex.
The likening of the movement for same-sex marriage to the black civil rights struggle is a primary argument of pro same-sex marriage groups. This comparison is a major part of the moral appeal of redefining marriage: Just as there were those who once believed that blacks and whites should not be allowed to be married, the argument goes, there are today equally bigoted individuals who believe that men should not be allowed to marry men and women should not be allowed to marry women.
It is worth noting that the people least impressed with the comparison of the gay struggle to redefine marriage with the black struggle for racial equality are blacks. They voted overwhelmingly for Californias Proposition 8 which amends the California Constitution to define marriage as being the union of a man and a woman.
One reason given is that blacks tend to be socially conservative. But another, less verbalized, reason may well be that blacks find the comparison demeaning and insulting. As well they should.
One has to either be ignorant of segregation laws and the routine humiliations experienced by blacks during the era of Jim Crow, or one has to be callous to black suffering, to equate that to a person not being allowed to marry a person of the same sex. They are not in the same moral universe.
There is in fact no comparison between the situation of gays in America in 2008 and the situation of most black Americans prior to the civil rights era. Gays are fully accepted, and as a group happen to constitute one of the wealthiest in American life. Moreover, not being allowed to marry a person of the same sex is not anti-gay; it is pro-marriage as every civilization has defined it. The fact is that states like California already grant people who wish to live and love a member of the same sex virtually every right that marriage bestows except the word married.
A certain number of gay men will feel better if they can call their partner husband and some lesbians will enjoy calling their partner wife, but society as a whole is not benefitted by such a redefinition of those words. Society as a whole does not benefit by removing, as California did, the words bride and groom from marriage licenses and substituting Partner A and Partner B.
But hoping that the more radical gays and straights of the gay rights movement will ask what benefits society? before what makes some gays feel better? is useless.
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