Institutionalized Bigotry and Unintended Consequences

Heather MacDonald seems to accept that marriage equality is inevitable. That won’t stop her from trying to delay it as long as possible with incoherent theories. Several paragraphs into her essay, she writes:

If the black illegitimacy rate were not nearly three times the rate of whites’, I would have few qualms about gay marriage. Or if someone can guarantee that widespread gay marriage would not further erode the expectation among blacks that marriage is the proper context for raising children, I would also not worry. But no one can make that guarantee.

I’m calling bullshit on the first sentence, but it gets worse, so I’ll move on.

Why might it further depress the black marriage rate? There is a logical reason and a visceral reason. First, it sends the signal that marriage is simply about numbers: it is an institution that binds two (for the moment) people who are in love. It erases completely the significance that marriage is THE context in which the children of biological parents should be raised. And there are undoubtedly many other subtle meanings and effects of gay marriage that we cannot even imagine at the moment—which institutional shift is something that conservatives should be most attuned to.

She is not proposing laws to limit marriage to those heterosexual couples who can and will reproduce biologically, so there is no point here other than to deny individuals their rights based on their sexuality. But she can’t say that because she’s trying to appear concerned about society. To sell that facade, she can’t acknowledge that prior concerns about same-sex marriage have already been faced in several states and shown to be nothing but irrationalities.

As for the visceral reason: It is no secret that resistance to homosexuality is highest among the black population (though probably other ethnic minorities are close contenders). I fear that it will be harder than usual to persuade black men of the obligation to marry the mother of their children if the inevitable media saturation coverage associates marriage with homosexuals. Is the availability of homosexual marriage a valid reason to shun the institution? No, but that doesn’t make the reaction any less likely.

She is saying that black men are most likely to be bigoted about gays, a claim she does not support with evidence. It’s possible that it’s true, but she’s asking the reader to accept her premise on nothing more than her dubious claim that “it is no secret.” That is not a basis for restricting civil rights.

She then implies that we should cater to those who are bigots because changing their opinion might be difficult. I’d ask why this is so, but I’m more interested in how it’s relevant? Person A is stupid, thus Person B must be denied? That’s silly. We must reject the suggestion that a bigot’s opinion is pertinent to a discussion about the partnership of two consenting adults.

Worse, she expects us to base our laws on what she fears, not what she can prove. She is the arbiter and provides no evidence to suggest her fears may be realized. I’m not reassured.

Worst, she theorizes that black men may decide that marriage is a gay institution because of the media’s coverage of this cultural shift. She’s throwing out ideas to see what sticks. She is not a serious person.

Link via Radley Balko.

One thought on “Institutionalized Bigotry and Unintended Consequences”

  1. from bad to worse to worst! “She is not a serious person.”
    Spot on. She’s an effing idiot. Another argument she casts as irrefutable, but about which we could probably raise serious doubts, is the proposition that, “[M]arriage is THE context in which the children of biological parents should be raised.”
    (Especially considering that something on the order of 50% of marriages go down in flames.)

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