The slippery slope people were right
Indulge me for a moment while I explain how my thinking on gay rights evolved over a period of about twenty years. As a person with a definite libertarian streak, I have always thought that sexual behavior between consenting adults in private, including the gay kind, is none of my business. It's not that I ever rooted for gay sexual activity. It's just that I could really not care less; it had no impact on my life.
Then, around the turn of the century, some gay people in the Bay Area became more activist around gay rights. A common protest slogan at the time was: "We're here! We're queer! Get used to it!" So the issue for me went from "I don't care because it has no impact on my life" to "should I tolerate sexual expression in public?" Nowadays, there are events in San Francisco like the Folsom Street Fair (an annual event) where attendees perform sexual acts in public, in full view of non-attendee passersby, including children. Say what you want about whether such behavior comports with the general community standards of a place like San Francisco, but I'm not down. Sure, I don't live in San Francisco, but it's a fifteen-minute drive from home.
Fast-forward to now, and the "slippery slope" that some commenters warned about has morphed into a triple-black-diamond ski run. The point is that the people who warned about the slippery slope were right, and the people who dismissed the slippery slope argument with their cries of "For Pete's sake! No one's talking about (gay "marriage," changing genders...fill in the blank)" were wrong — at least on the issue of gay rights.
I don't know whether the "no one's talking about" people are genuine when they say that; my guess is it's a clever diversion to limit discussion to the immediate without consideration of the long-term implications. Either way, I'm not buying it anymore. The only question for me is the next thing that no one's talking about. Legalized pedophilia? Human-robot marriage? Legalized bestiality? It's time for people to take these scenarios seriously while there is still a modicum of community standards resisting such horrors. Because even though some might say "no one's talking about" it, you can sure bet there are some activist people thinking it.
Now, let's move on to gay "marriage." I'm not a fan, though I did have an alternative in mind (too late now), which some of my friends dismissed as unworkable back before Newsom started "marrying" people at City Hall in 2004. Specifically, why is the government in the marriage business in the first place? Wouldn't it be better to convey legal status to couples for purposes of taxation, medical access, etc., through universal civil unions? If it were handled that way, any couple, same-sex or not, could be treated equally under the law, without mixing up the legal side of things with the religious-sociological implications of redefining marriage. People who want to be married, in addition to having their civil union, could have a separate ceremony at church willing to accept them for that purpose. Just a thought, and like I said, it's too late now.
Image: Max Pixel.
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