Opposition to Gay Marriage Equates to “Anti-Gay”?
If someone is opposed to gay marriage, does that automatically mean they are “anti-gay”? At least one gay man thinks the answer is no. Brandon Ambrosino points out that it's not "homophobic" to try and give someone the benefit of the doubt by understanding why they hold to a position. He also thinks it's unfair to "demonize" the millions of people who disagree with gay marriage. In an article for The Atlantic, he explains this further.
As a gay man, I found myself disappointed with this definition—that anyone with any sort of moral reservations about gay marriage is by definition anti-gay… What exactly do we mean when we say ‘anti-gay,’ or ‘homophobic’? Often when I try to understand where my conservative opponents are coming from, my gay friends accuse me of being homophobic. It isn’t homophobic of me to try to understand why someone might be opposed to marriage equality. Giving someone the benefit of the doubt takes courage; dismissing him before considering his argument—well, that seems a bit phobic…. The secular cases being made against gay marriage, as well, often have little to do with any kind of animus towards gay people themselves….
To demonize as anti-gay the millions of Americans currently doing the difficult work of thinking through their convictions is, in my opinion, very troubling…. If my primary ethical obligation to my neighbor is to allow and affirm his moral agency, so long as it does not lead him to commit acts of violence, then what happens when I take away his right to peacefully disagree with me?… We shouldn’t have to resort to trumped up charges of bigotry to explain why opponents of gay marriage are wrong. Calling someone ‘anti-gay’ when his behavior is undeserving of that label doesn’t only end civil discussion – it degrades the foundation that undergirds a democratic, pluralistic society. Though gay rights’ opponents have at times villified us, I hope that we’re able to rise above those tactics.
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Brandon Ambrosino, “Being Against Gay Marriage Doesn’t Make You a Homophobe,” The Atlantic, December 13, 2013, https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/12/being-against-gay-marriage-doesnt-make-you-a-homophobe/282333/.