I am now going to ask what appears to me to be a reasonable question. It comes from the deeply ambiguous feelings I have regarding the whole Prop 8 thing in California and similar legislation.
I am pretty fundamentally supportive of the expansion of equal civil rights to all committed, long-term relationships. I believe that allowing for civil gay marriage will likely result in the strengthening of marriage as an institution in America overall. If I was in California, I would be strongly tempted to vote against Prop 8.
But, since I believe our leaders to be inspired (in addition to occasionally being political dinosaurs), I have nagging doubts. The strongest of which centers around the following question: Why, of all the political and social shifts that have occurred in America since the turn of the last century, should this be the only shift that doesn’t fall prey to the law of unintended consequences?
I don’t know if a fear of the unknown is sufficient reason to oppose extending marriage rights to gay couples; I rather doubt it is. But the certainty with which people (myself included) assure doubters that nothing fundamental will change worries me. How do we know this?
There is an argument to be made that it would be worthwhile to wait until the first generation of children born in societies where gay marriage is acceptable have grown. This, too, may seem dinosaurific, but compared to how long it took us to extend rights to African-Americans (in comparison to Europe) waiting 10-15 years is no time. With a shift in understanding as potentially massive as this, caution may not be unwarranted.
Obviously we could, and people have, concocted worst-case scenarios (People will wed their cats! Human/feline hybrids will abound thanks to cloning!), but these are usually thrust forward in cloud of hyperbolic paranoia. What about the effects that aren’t immediately catastrophic (or grotesque)? My request of those who oppose the amendment and of those who support it is that you take a moment and look for realistic, potential, negative consequences. I am curious as to what we could be getting ourselves into.
For the sake of balance, I will offer some realistic, potential, positive consequences. Open harassment of homosexuals for their homosexuality will become less socially acceptable. Gay couples will be able to legally marry and enjoy the benefits thereof. Gay couples will be able to adopt children who otherwise might have to remain in the foster system indefinitely.
ps. I don’t want comments about the personal righteousness of homosexuals or those people who are for or against Prop 8. I don’t think we can avoid a critique of the church’s involvement, but, if it is necessary, don’t be negative. This thread is not the thread in which to hash out your problems with the Primary teacher who yelled at you or other some such.