So, I was reading a blog post from a conservative who is quite upset about the Obergefell decision and who linked to a few articles from likeminded citizens. One piece, from Hunter Baker, “Erickson, Sullivan, and What ‘Bigots’ Deserve,” stood out to me for its egregiously bad logic:
I think one way I could try to defend opponents of gay marriage from charges of rank bigotry is to examine the moral intuitions of children. In the course of raising mine, I have noticed that they had no underlying matrix of reason by which to understand racism. When they were a little younger, they never talked about a child as being black or white. The racial awareness simply wasn’t there. If I heard them telling a story about a classmate and wanted to know more about the child, I would ask them to describe the child. They would then include a description which might include something like light skin or dark skin, straight or curly hair, tall or short, etc. The implication is that bigotry must be cultivated.
Same-sex marriage is susceptible to a similar analysis. Because of a situation in our extended family, my children became aware of a man who wanted to be with other men instead of women. They simply did not understand why a man would want to share romantic love with another man. The idea violated their concept of what a man is. A man shares romantic/marital love with women rather than men. I learned this about their reasoning before I ever tried to explain things to them or to help them understand it. Just as a child’s natural understanding tilts away from racism, I would suggest that it tilts toward a complementary view of the sexes. In other words, men go with women and women go with men. Just as bigotry must be cultivated, so, too, must the appreciation of same sex pairings. In other words, bigotry is the result of intentional cultural work and so is the appreciation of same sex pairs. Neither is a natural understanding from the child’s point of view. (Please understand that I am not morally equating bigotry with cultural advocacy of gay acceptance. That is not the point.)
Let me see if I have this straight (no pun intended):
- Kids have to be taught to distinguish races and have bigoted attitudes toward them.
- Kids “naturally” understand that same-sex couples can’t or shouldn’t “share romantic/marital love.”
So, I’m sure Mr. Baker would agree that children raised by a same-sex couple would “naturally” be puzzled at the notion that two men could share love and would feel that such love “violated their concept of what a man is.” At the same time, I’m sure he’d also agree that someone raised by members of the Klan would be just as devoid of “racial awareness” as his kids are.
It wouldn’t occur to him that his children don’t see their friends in racial terms because they weren’t taught to see them that way, or that children raised in a conservative religious environment are not free of “intentional cultural work.”
Honestly, do such folks think before typing?