Sunday, December 04, 2011

One More Thing . . .

I know I probably shouldn't ask this question . . .

In fact, knowing I had to start with the above phrase should be an indication that I should stop typing now, erase any trace that I even sought to write this, and just get on with my morning.

Still, I'm curious. I've read and heard the following "argument" in a variety of places, and, for the life of me, I can make neither heads nor tails of it. It sounds like a group of words in the English language. When used in other combinations, they do make sense. I could blame Ms. Bachmann, but it isn't just her. In what way does this mean something?
JANE SCHMIDT: One of my main concerns is government support for the LGBT community. So my question is what would you do to protect GSAs in high school and support the LGBT community.

BACHMANN: Well, No. 1, all of us as Americans have the same rights. The same civil rights. And so that's really what government's role is, to protect our civil rights. There shouldn't be any special rights or special set of criteria based upon people's preferences. We all have the same civil rights.

JANE SCHMIDT: Then, why can't same-sex couples get married?

BACHMANN: They can get married, but they abide by the same law as everyone else. They can marry a man if they’re a woman. Or they can marry a woman if they're a man.

JANE SCHMIDT: Why can't a man marry a man?

BACHMANN: Because that's not the law of the land.

JANE SCHMIDT: So heterosexual couples have a privilege.

BACHMANN: No, they have the same opportunity under the law. There is no right to same-sex marriage.
Setting aside the slipperiness of introducing "right" in that last line - I fail to read or hear anyone saying anything about "rights" here or anywhere - this basic "argument" makes so sense to me.

The major premise, I believe, is this: Adults can only marry people of a different gender. The minor premise is, I believe, this, maybe?: Sue wishes to marry Karen. Therefore, obviously: Sue cannot marry Karen. The major premise seems to limit the class of persons who would qualify to have their relationships recognized by the state as "people of a different gender". Sue and Karen, being two women (I'm assuming here, based on the names, unless "Sue" was the character in that Carl Perkins/Johnny Cash song) are therefore prohibited from having their relationship recognized by the state.

Which means, to most folks who understand these things, that straight couples enjoy state-sponsored privileges. The final statement by Bachmann, then, is a throw away. When she denies that straight couples enjoy "a privilege", it seems she either doesn't understand that is what she is, in fact, arguing, or simply denies the reality that straight couples enjoy a privilege.*

The whole way the position Ms. Bachmann holds is presented makes no sense. Gay folk are able to marry, just not the people they want to marry. Wanting to marry the person with whom you wish to spend the rest of one's life is "a special right" for straight people, a position Ms. Bachmann categorically denies.

Honest to God, trying to untie this knot hurts my head. Would someone who understands this explain it in such a way that it makes sense?

*As in so many things, we may not have to choose between stupid and bigoted.

Virtual Tin Cup

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