As David Mills notes below, Wendell Berry has recently claimed that opponents of same-sex marriage are necessarily and categorically rejecting a whole class of people. He tells us this kind of “categorical condemnation is the hatred of the mob” and as such is the worst kind of hate.
Now, of course the reflexive condemnation of an entire group of people is unattractive (the fact that he is doing this very thing seems to be lost on Berry). Berry lazily buys into the simple assumption that disagreement with the push for gay marriage must be based in hate. But there are some people who challenge this claim by their sheer existence: gay and lesbian folks who don’t support same-sex marriage.
This week, the world witnessed anywhere from 500,000 to just over a million French citizens take to the cold, winter Parisian streets in protest of, as they stated it, the idea of legally denying children a mother and father through a proposed same-sex marriage law. It was the biggest public demonstration France has seen in decades. Reuters reported that “even homosexuals opposed to gay marriage [came] to protest.”
John D’Emilio, noted professor of history and pioneer in the field of gay and lesbian studies has, as a gay man and leading LGBT theorist, been vocally opposed (shown here and more recently here) to the idea of working for the legalization of same-sex marriage. He contends it is contrary to queer ideals and unjust to gays in other types of relationships. D’Emilio and our French friends are not odd outliers. Here is another and another and another and a few more and one more leading gay voices that assert the passage of same-sex marriage can actually be discriminatory and limiting. Uhm.
If some people can oppose same-sex marriage for reasons other than hate, bigotry and small-mindedness, why can’t others?