Tuesday, November 23, 2010

reframe the debate

Progressives constantly lose the battle to frame the debate. Hell, even the term "progressive" is one that was coined because conservatives had made "liberal" a dirty word, so we started calling ourselves progressives. It's really not a new thing, that's why on the liberal side, the terms used in the abortion debate are "pro choice vs. anti choice" and "pro life vs. pro abortion" on the conservative side.

Anyone following the debate about equality for gays and lesbians has seen this on numerous fronts. This is the reason we have a debate about "gay marriage" instead of about "marriage equality". It is the reason we continue to allow people to refer to heterosexuals being married as "traditional marriage". If I were to frame the debate, I would use the terms "marriage equality vs. exclusionary marriage". Why? Because that's what foes of inclusion are arguing for. They're not arguing to "protect" anything, they're simply arguing to keep group X from enjoying the benefits of it.

Look, for example, at the National Organization for Marriage, whose sole purpose is to PREVENT people from being married. They are actively raising millions of dollars to spend in Illinois to exclude a group from being married. In their press release, they write,
This dangerous bill would create same-sex marriage by another name – extending to same-sex couples all ‘the same legal obligations, responsibilities, protections, and benefits of marriage.
I don't even need to point out how it is the OPPOSITE of dangerous to push people into relationships where they have "obligations, responsibilities, protections and benefits"...hell, there was a time when Conservatives actually believed those things were GOOD for people. So it's a group entirely devoted to excluding people from obligation and responsibility, but it's called the "National Organization FOR Marriage"...explain that one to me?

So, you see, it is all about how we frame it. So, from now on, I won't discuss "gay marriage". I'll only discuss "marriage" or "marriage equality" or, if I'm feeling particularly angry, I'll refer to "exclusionary marriage". Feel free to join me.

On a semi-related note, conservative Catholics are jumping through their collective asses right now to run damage control on the Pope's statement that a person is less morally wrong using a condom when having sex if he has AIDS than not using one.

Of course this seems obvious to the rest of us, but that's because the rest of us, who aren't still living with 15th century sexual morality, aren't the ones trying to fit a square peg into a...hell, a round hole doesn't even get across the absurdity of claiming condoms are immoral and SPREAD AIDS. Maybe...a square peg into a dime-slot machine?


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