Slash and Gay Rights
Originally posted Feb 2, 2004:
Recently, in a post that is now deleted, someone on my friends list stated that even though she was a slasher she could not support gay marriage. I was going to respond to her on her original post but my reply got so long I decided to do it here instead. Let me just state right off the bat that I'm making this public for a while because I welcome discussion of this topic, and I really want not only the person to whom this post was initially addressed, but everybody who reads this who might be opposed to gay marriage, to see it not as an attack, but as an earnest exhortation to think and rethink and reconsider your position.
The original poster's entry was basically, 'I read and write slash, but I can't support gay marriage--I believe it's something ordained by God.' Also, the poster went on to say in a thread that they weren't sure how slash fit into their entire belief system and that they might stop reading it.
This particular stance offends me *deeply*.
I'm even more offended by all the people that are saying, "I'm proud of anyone who says this for having the guts to say what you believe." I mean, sure, it'd be okay if you voiced your opinion amid a crowd of angry people who felt different from you. You could do that and I'd cheer for you, right on, defend to the death your right to say it, blah blah blah.
But this is different from that--my reaction to this post is different from that.
Because you-- you... you WRITE SLASH.
it is one thing to say "I appreciate Vladimir Nabokov's work Lolita
for its literary elements; but I would never condone adult/child relationships, as I find them morally offensive."
It is *not* the same thing to say, "Even though I write about gay relationships and read about gay relationships, even though I have a community of people who write about gay relationships on my friends list, even though I spend a good deal of time co-existing and communing with people who write about gay relationships, the very idea of socially legitimizing gay relationships offends me."
Saying that openly is NOT something to be proud of. I'm sorry. Saying that openly makes you a hypocrite
. One step above a coward, to be sure, but a hypocrite.
You are a hypocrite for making this statement. You are a hypocrite because you say that gay marriage goes against everything you believe in, but yet you regularly read and write about gay relationships in a context in which they are held as equal to heterosexual relationships, a context in which they are typically morally unchallenged and societally approved.
If you're really unsure about how writing slash fits in with your personal principles, then this is not yet the time for you to take a moral stance on this position. This is the time for you to be using your brain, to be exercising your mind, to be thinking about all sides of the issue. This is not the time for you to be focusing about your own
level of discomfort because, oh, no, God hates fags, but yet you really like to read about two men getting it on, so what does that make you?
I realise I'm coming across as extremely harsh here, but I can't help it. I have fought my whole life, ever since I was in high school, to come to terms with my personal beliefs about homosexuality, while dealing with my own strongly-held religious beliefs, which directly contradicted them. It has been a long and hard and difficult process and I fight it every day with my parents, still, to try and get them to see how important the issue of gay rights is to me. I say this as someone who has thought of herself as completely straight until only very recently. I say this as someone who is officially a member of the Southern Baptist Convention. Officially a once-saved always-saved Christian.
My heart breaks for anyone who truly feels this way, that they can't support gay marriages because of moral issues--and even more for anyone who feels that way *while* reading and writing slash. I *know* how troubling it must be to be in that position.
But I'm sorry, I have been there myself, and I have NO SYMPATHY for anyone who is in that position who tries to fall back on their personal moral issue as the bottom line. Anyone who ends their part of this argument with "I'm sorry, it's how i feel" is taking the coward's way out. A coward is one who lets someone else, be it a Bible or a preacher or their mother or father or their society or their community, tell them that it's alright to infringe upon someone else's right to be happy. And by opposing the right of two people to have the same constitutional rights enjoyed by another sector of American society, that is what you're doing. You're infringing upon someone else's right to be happy. And I don't care how many people in America think it's okay to do that, it's shameful, and it's cowardice, and it's wrong.
Let me put it this way. Say you're that person who reads and writes slash but doesn't feel morally comfortable with it. You have a constitutional right, granted to you by the 9th Amendment, to read slash. You have a right to read and write slash, all the slash you want, even though you think it's a sin and you might be going to hell for it and you have a feeling that it's probably wrong.
With me so far? Good. Okay. Now. The fact that you have the constitutional right to read and write slash is not something you have to accept
. It's not something you have to come to terms with or deal with or learn to feel good about. You have
it. It is there, in existence, it is a right granted to you by LAW, by the Constitution of the United States.
It doesn't matter HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT IT. It doesn't matter how much of a SIN you think it may be on any given day. It doesn't matter if you wind up blazing in hell
for reading my Harry/Draco NC-17 slash fic, because you know what? While you're alive, you have a constitutional right to do it. Period.
"Amendment IX. The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."
End of story.
Now. Apply that concept to gay marriage.
It doesn't matter *how* you feel about gay marriage. It doesn't matter what you *believe* about gay marriage, any more than what you *believe* about your own sundry guilty-pleasure forays into slash reading. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO DO IT UNDER THE LAW. That is *all* that matters. According to the constitution
of the united states, gay marriage is as much of an individual right retained by individual American citizens as is your right to read gay fanfic. No matter how you slice it, anything that takes away the right of people to do what they want, so long as they aren't infringing upon the rights of anyone else, is--wait for it-- UNCONSTITUTIONAL.
Aha, you say--but gay marriage *is* infringing upon my right to live as a morally upright person in a morally upright society.
You know what?
I am *deeply* offended by the hypocrisy inherent in writing about gay relationships but not supporting healthy gay relationships in reality. I am deeply
hurt and upset, if you can't tell already, that my fanfiction is being read and enjoyed by someone who is willfully misunderstanding everything that my fics are meant to promote, everything that they are meant to be in support of. Anyone who enjoys my fiction but who doesn't support gay marriage is diametrically opposed to every basic fundamental reason behind why I write. It offends me and bothers me more than I can say.
But you know what?
You won't *infringe* upon me by speaking out against gay marriage. You can anger me and upset me, but you'll have done nothing *to* me. You'll have done nothing to hinder my own chance at happiness, and you'll have done nothing to impose upon my own
personal set of beliefs. Sure, I think that anyone who feels that way is doing a tremendous amount of harm to themselves
by not choosing to think more about this issue, instead of retreating behind the possible immorality of the fact that they read slash. But if you do that then you haven't hurt *me* at all. You've offended my beliefs
, and that's all.
And as hurt and as angry and as offended as I am, I recognize that, regardless of the hypocrisy of someone who writes slash but opposes gay marriage, that position is their right to hold. Their god-given, legally-upheld, right.
Do you see? Do you understand?
As long as one person's individual choices do not physically impede another person's freedom to act in whatever way suits them best and allows them to have life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, then no one's
personal rights are being infringed upon.
Legally, everyone is already
entitled to marry. The laws that have kept gay men and women from marrying all these years? News flash for you--those laws have always
been unconstitutional, just like segregation and miscegenation laws were unconstitutional. We've fixed that. Now we have to fix this. Because the laws preventing gay men and women from having equal rights as citizens alongside straight men and women have always
Why have they always been unconstitutional?
In order for something to be unconstitutional, it has to infringe upon someone else's right to three things: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The only way you could possibly argue under the law that a gay marriage infringed upon someone else's rights to those three things was if the state of gay marriage led to a predominant situation in which the majority of married gay people, after they were married, began to go out and do things to directly hurt other people. And by *hurting* other people I mean things like drunk driving and committing armed robbery for drug money, which is why drunk driving and drug use are illegal. That
is what infringing on someone else's rights means. Infringing on someone else's rights is not two men kissing in public in front of your shocked old Christian grandmother.
The state of being in a gay marriage is not a mentally impaired state, along the lines of being on heavy drugs. The state of being in a gay marriage is not a physically impaired state along the lines of being heavily drunk. The state of being in a gay marriage is exactly equivalent to the state of being in a heterosexual marriage.
Under the law, the law as it already is
according to the Bill of Rights, if a heterosexual relationship isn't infringing upon my right to be single, then neither is a homosexual relationship going to infringe upon your right to be married to someone of the opposite sex.
There is no way in the world you can logically come out in favor of marriage as a God-given state unless you also believe that marriage should not be a state-sanctioned unit in any way. Because ultimately, your logic is doomed to fail. You cannot come up with any viable argument that homosexual marriage infringes upon someone else's constitutional rights. There literally is none
. Nada. Nothing whatsoever beyond warped generalizations and false stereotypes, just as the miscegenation and segregation laws were founded on warped generalizations and false stereotypes.
Just as there is no
possible argument that could stand under American law that says that your right to read stories about gay people violates anyone else's right to do anything at all, ever
-- god, i mean, sweet, think about it. Just think
about it. Just as there is no possible argument on this wide wide earth that can revoke your legal right to read slash in America...
...there is no possible argument on this wide, wide earth that can ultimately stand against the basic god-given right of two people to get married if they want to. period. no matter how morally ambiguous it may look or feel to you. Ultimately, how you feel about it doesn't matter a damn thing.
ultimately, how 55% of the American population may feel about it doesn't matter a damn thing.
ultimately, all that matters is that men and women have a constitutional right to get married to whoever they damn well feel like. they have it, they have always
had it, and until the day comes when all current articles to the constitution are destroyed and erased completely from our collective memory and all our history books, they will always have it. it is inherent in the concept of equality
. your moral beliefs cannot touch it. pure and simple.
One last thing. If you're still trying to rally behind the idea that separate is equal: sorry. wrong again.
I wish nothing but the best to everyone dealing with this issue and wondering about what it means for them, I really really do. If anyone ever wants to discuss this, you can reach me on email or on YM, way_fairer. I would love to talk to you about this. I would love to refute every argument opposing gay marriage that anyone could make -- I would love to talk to every single one of you, until you understand that civil rights for all Americans are not something that we decide to grant
according to the whim of the moral majority of this country; civil rights are inherent
to every American. They are something that we are all born
with. A person's right to choose who they marry is as fundamental as their right to decide where they live, where they go to school, where they go to church, to what or whom they choose to pray every day. The law grants protection to the individual for all of those other rights. How on earth can the law suddenly be altered, purely at the wish of a quixotic conservative president who is 'deeply troubled' by the whole idea (the way you're bothered by your slash-reading), to deny an individual the right to marry?
It not only defies basic civil rights, it defies basic logic, basic common sense.
And it's wrong, it is as wrong in the eyes of the law as you think homosexual marriage is wrong in the eyes of God.
But this is America. And thank heaven, we don't all have to defer to the same god.
Just to the same constitution.
The constitution that says that people can marry whoever they like.
End of story.
End of rant.