Orson Scott Card on Gay Marriage

John Scalzi recently wrote up a post on the California Ballot initiative to ban newly legalized gay marriages in the state. Those trying to push through a constitutional amendment are angry that the ballot wording will actually reflect the intent of the bill rather than being called something like “the protect marriage from corruption amendment”. They are concerned that if people know what they are actually voting on, they won’t vote for it. They are assholes.

But in the article, John linked to some first class crazy pants ranting from Orson Scott Card, author of “Ender’s Game” and apparently crazy guy. Go ahead and give it a read. I don’t want to hit every point here, but I’ve heard some of these arguments enough that I wanted to address some of them.

To begin with, I should point out, at least in California, the gay marriage decision was handed down by a state supreme court dominated by republican appointees. Card is arguing the same thing that many republicans have been for a while: Constitutionality shouldn’t be a consideration when passing or enforcing laws and that judges should only judge whether or not laws have been broken, not whether laws are valid. This is another way of saying that he wants the legislative and executive branches to have no system of checks and balances.

These judges are making new law without any democratic process; in fact, their decisions are striking down laws enacted by majority vote.

Now, I’m not sure if Card is just playing dumb here, or legitimately doesn’t understand how the three branches of government work. This is one of the things supreme courts do. It’s their job to decide if laws passed through the legislative branches pass constitutional muster. It’s important to note that the US is a republic, not a democracy, though we do have many democratic processes through which policy making happens, it’s built on a foundation of fundamental rights that our founding fathers agreed were inherent in the human condition, not granted by the government. The constitution of the US, and the constitution of the states, among other things, make sure that the government does not infringe on these rights, even if the majority of people want them to. This insures that the tyranny of the majority cannot remove the rights of the few.

Just to be clear, it’s not only hyperbolic, but just factually wrong to state that judges are making new law. The judges are simply stating that these laws are unenforceable given their conflict with the constitution. You know, the document that gives all three governmental branches their authority.

The pretext is that state constitutions require it — but it is absurd to claim that these constitutions require marriage to be defined in ways that were unthinkable through all of human history until the past 15 years. And it is offensive to expect us to believe this obvious fiction.

Again, hard to tell if Card is just dumb, or playing to his base, but let’s assume he’s dumb. He’s of course rolling out the argument that in all of human history, there have never been state sanctioned relationships that included more than one man and one woman. This is at it’s face patently ridiculous, and especially ironic given that the founder of his own religion sought to define marriage as a union between one man and many women, but I digress. People have been around a while. 150k – 200k years by current estimates. Marriage as far as I have been able to research has a lifespan measured in thousands of years, maybe tens if you really stretch the definition. Most research shows that humans have spent the vast majority of their time in small peer groups with communal rather than exclusive monogamous relationships. Marriage is still pretty new, and as Card himself points out, it’s never really worked all that well.

But anyway, this decision is not about “re-defining” marriage. more hyperbole BTW. It’s actually about equal rights. California at least, recognized that marriage is a right recognized by the state, and therefore cannot be denied to some simply on the basis of sexual orientation.

We already know where these decisions lead. We have seen it with the court decisions legalizing abortion. At first, it was only early abortions; within a few years, though, any abortion up to the killing of a viable baby in mid-birth was made legal.

Slippery slope arguments are lame as hell, but I’m actually pretty curious where Card thinks this will go. Is he concerned that people will want to marry goats? Where does the slope go from here?

FWIW, only 1.4% of abortions are performed at or beyond 21 weeks (which may be considered viable). We’re talking just over 1k per year. This clearly indicates the end of the world is near.

How dangerous is this, politically? Please remember that for the mildest of comments critical of the political agenda of homosexual activists, I have been called a “homophobe” for years.

Well, I guess that depends on what you consider mild. Anyway, George Weinberg, the guy who coined the term described it thusly:

a phobia about homosexuals….It was a fear of homosexuals which seemed to be associated with a fear of contagion, a fear of reducing the things one fought for—home and family. It was a religious fear and it had led to great brutality as fear always does.

I think it’s pretty clear that the fear Card expresses around homosexuals fits this definition pretty cleanly. While his particular fear hasn’t lead to violence, that doesn’t mean it’s not there.

This characterization of gay activism as a political agenda seeks to put it in the same ballpark as any other game played in Washington to jockey for status, money or power. It denies the reality that what gay people are struggling for is equal treatment under the law. It is in every way a civil rights movement though I know Card hates that comparison.

Remember how rapidly gay marriage has become a requirement. When gay rights were being enforced by the courts back in the ’70s and ’80s, we were repeatedly told by all the proponents of gay rights that they would never attempt to legalize gay marriage.

Okay, so 20 or 30 years is the blink of an eye. Sure. But I’m curious about which “gay rights” Card is referring to here. Are we talking about the right to be in a relationship with the person you love? The right to not be beat to death for simply being gay? The right to not be fired from your job for your orientation? You mean human rights? Card here clearly resents that fact that gay people share some of the same human rights he enjoys, resents the fact that they fought for them, and resents that they are asking for more. How dare these uppity gays ask for more after all we’ve given them.

Here’s the irony: There is no branch of government with the authority to redefine marriage. Marriage is older than government. Its meaning is universal: It is the permanent or semipermanent bond between a man and a woman, establishing responsibilities between the couple and any children that ensue.

More idiotic spouting here. The meaning of marriage is clearly not universal, never has been. Arguing that systems of governance are predated by his version of monogamous marriage is complete fantasy and unsupported by any anthropology or sociology I know of. Semipermanent. Nice way to undermine your whole argument dickweed.

One would clearly question who exactly Card believes does have the authority to define and redefine marriage. Presumable Card believes only God does, but that’s not his argument here. His argument is that tradition should be the sole criteria for that definition. Oh and when he says tradition, he means specifically western christian tradition of the last 100 years or so.

If the government passed a law declaring that grey was now green, and asphalt was specifically designated as a botanical organism, would that make all our streets into “greenery” and all our parking lots into “parks”?

This is first class ass-clownery here, so take note. What he’s doing here is comparing the inherent properties of matter to the transient characteristics of a social contract. Fantastic.

That many individuals suffer from sex-role dysfunctions does not change the fact that only heterosexual mating can result in families where a father and a mother collaborate in rearing children that share a genetic contribution from both parents.

So what? Card here is forming a hard association between marriage, breeding and child rearing, all of which can be mutually exclusive.

Some marriages are better than others; some fail utterly because of the malfeasance of one or both of the partners.

Or maybe, you know, because monogamy is a bad reproductive strategy that we are predisposed against, but forced into through sociological conditioning, and that conditioning often fails. But hey. Whatever.

We need the same public protection of marriage that we have of property. If we did not all agree that people continue to own things that are not in their immediate possession, then you could not reasonably expect to come home and find your house unoccupied. We agree, by law, to make it a crime to take what belongs to others — even when you need it more than they do. Every aspect of our lives is affected by this, and not for a moment could a society exist that did not protect the right of property.

Of course, here again Card exposes his ignorance of how humans have lived for the majority of their existence, i.e. with no personal property protections. Both the idea of personal property and laws protecting it are very recent inventions and societies existed long before they did. Albeit not very large ones.

Husbands need to have the whole society agree that when they marry, their wives are off limits to all other males. He has a right to trust that all his wife’s children would be his.Wives need to have the whole society agree that when they marry, their husband is off limits to all other females. All of his protection and earning power will be devoted to her and her children, and will not be divided with other women and their children.

Here is the dark heart of Card’s conception of marriage. Women and children are things to be possessed and controlled, for your exclusive use. This is actually as far as anyone can tell, the actual reason for marriage in the first place. It was a property deal long before it was a mutual loving relationship between a man and a woman.

These two premises are so basic that they preexist any known government. In most societies through history, failure to live up to these commitments has led to extreme social sanctions — even, in many cases, death.

Again, this is simply bullshit. For the majority of human history we functioned just like most social mammals. Alpha males attracted the most attractive mates and bred with them, drifting from female to female. Beta males if they could secure mates at all usually did so with the consent of the alpha with less attractive females, or had to fight to become the alpha, or try to take the females away from the alpha where he couldn’t kill them for doing so. Monogamy is rare among mammals, and it’s rare among humans even today. The rate of children sired by fathers who are not the married spouse is insanely high.

A vast number of unmarried men and women have such contempt for marriage that they share bed and home without asking for any formal recognition by society.

I am one of these people, and it’s not contempt for marriage, it’s that it’s simply an antiquated idea for managing relationships.

In an era when birth control and abortion make childbearing completely optional, the number of out-of-wedlock births shows the contempt that many women have for marriage. Yet most of these single mothers still demand that the man they chose not to marry before having sex with him provide financial support for them and their children — while denying the man any of the rights and protections of marriage.

I love how Card words this: “the man they chose not to marry before having sex” instead of “chose to have sex with but not to marry”. Clearly the onus of both the contraceptive decision and the marriage decision are entirely on the shoulders of those irresponsible women. I’m sure every one of those potential fathers would have loved to have married these women, if only they were allowed, but these bitches said no. And I’m sure all of these guys were fine upstanding people who any woman would be proud to marry.

Again, breeding and bonding are separate events with separate criteria for acceptability in partners. People choose to have children with people who they may choose not to marry. Males who display attributes desirable for breeding often do not display attributes favorable for successful child rearing. But yeah, women are bitches. It’s cool.

Card is making an implicit statement here: a man’s money buys him access to his children, a say in how they are raised, and presumably ongoing sexual access to his wife. If those things are taken away, the woman shouldn’t get any money. Classy. Men apparently have no obligation if they have no access. I’m guessing that Card feels like husbands should loose access to sex and their children if they loose their jobs and wives have to work. I’m sure he would consider this fair.

Men routinely discard wives and children to follow the nearly universal male biological desire for diversity in mating. Adultery is now openly expected of men, even if faithful wives deplore it.

Like I said earlier, Men get a lot of shit for cheating, but women are right up there with the guys. It’s just far less reported. Guess what? Monogamy sucks.

Because when government is the enemy of marriage, then the people who are actually creating successful marriages have no choice but to change governments, by whatever means is made possible or necessary.

Let me know when the 15% of americans who are really involved in true monogamous long-term marriages and have never had a divorce, start buying tanks.

Society gains no benefit whatsoever (except for a momentary warm feeling about how “fair” and “compassionate” we are) from renaming homosexual liaisons and friendships as marriage.

This, I can imagine, is one of the reasons people rightly call Card a homophobe. Those silly gays can’t possibly have genuine committed, loving relationships like we claim we have. They just have liaisons and friendships. I think the gay juice in their brains makes them incapable of feeling real human emotions like us upstanding, god fearing, christian white people do.

It’s about grandchildren. That’s what all life is about. It’s not enough just to spawn — your offspring must grow up in circumstances that will maximize their reproductive opportunities.

How exactly does gay marriage affect the reproductive chances of the offspring of hetro couples? What circumstances does gay marriage bring about that minimizes their reproductive opportunities? Oh, right. Your kids with catch the gay.

If America becomes a place where our children are taken from us by law and forced to attend schools where they are taught that cohabitation is as good as marriage, that motherhood doesn’t require a husband or father, and that homosexuality is as valid a choice as heterosexuality for their future lives, then why in the world should married people continue to accept the authority of such a government?

In case you missed it, we’ve moved from hating gay people to hating liberals here. Just thought you’d want the heads up. Oh and being gay is a choice. Thought I’d slip that in there.

Biological imperatives trump laws. American government cannot fight against marriage and hope to endure. If the Constitution is defined in such a way as to destroy the privileged position of marriage, it is that insane Constitution, not marriage, that will die.

And we’ve reached the end of this ass-tastic screed. Clearly, Card is fucking crazy. As he himself argued earlier, we make rules and laws to counteract biological imperatives that break down social harmony, like say, humping every chick you see regardless of her consent. They clearly do not trump law as evidenced by every rapist who has served a jail term.

Card has done a careful job of positioning marriage as an immutable, unchanging social edifice that is built into both our genetic structure and into the evolutionary heritage of man, encompassing breeding, bonding and child-rearing. Its rightness is unquestionable, despite its abject failure to deliver any of those three items on a consistent basis among couples, or social groups.

Letting those dirty, deviant gays in on the marriage party would not only be an affront to those who take marriage seriously, but an affront to society, nature and God.

Anyone who has actually taken a hard look at marriage, its history, its outcomes and its ever changing role in our society would instantly know this whole article is a terrific pile of shit. How Card could deliver it with a straight face is beyond me.

It’s hard for me to tell if Card seriously believes this stuff, but from some investigation I’ve done, it looks like yep, he really does. Had he not wondered off into the whole “Let’s overthrow the government if they do this gay thing” diatribe, I would just write this off as normal christian right-wing gay bashing, but this is taking it to a whole different level.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *