The Shunning of Ryan Anderson. . . Is Nothing Unremarkable

In a recent post for The Week, Damon Linker bemoans the swift change of public opinion in favor of same-sex marriage and asks: Do those who favor gay marriage really want to win by stamping out dissent and driving into the wilderness every person who holds a contrary position?

Ignoring the sanctimony dripping from the question, the answer is simple: “if necessary, yes.”

This may hurt, but the process is a normal part of every sociopolitical battle. A recent article in the Atlantic regarding the Baltimore protests following the death of Freddie Gray exposed the frivolity of calls for nonviolence by pointing out that “when nonviolence begins halfway through the war with the aggressor calling time out, it exposes itself as a ruse.”

The same rings true here, except that it might be reworded as “when the call for public discourse begins near the end of the war with the aggressor calling time out, it exposes itself as a ruse.”

There has been no discourse whenever a legislature controlled by an extreme-right majority has passed laws banning same-sex marriage, or otherwise damaging the legal and personal interests of people in same-sex relationships. You can also bet your bottom dollar that those planning a legislative backlash to the inevitable Supreme Court decision in favor of same-sex marriage will be looking for an answer in swift and decisive legislative fiat, not discourse.

There is no “suppression” of anybody’s point of view here because the points of view for and against same-sex marriage have been made ad nauseam. There are no new arguments to be made… all that is left is to make a decision. Still, because social change hurts, the appeals to a slow deliberative process by those who prefer the status quo are nothing more than a euphemism for inertia.

Many of us have personally experienced this resistance to change in the form of comments such as “live your life however you want, but do you have to be so open about it?” These are insidious attacks on the right to self-determination, masked as appeals to reasonableness and civility. What these people are saying is “if I don’t have to see what I don’t like, I can pretend it does not exist and therefore do not have to acknowledge it — let alone think about granting it rights.”

What the author below is complaining about is that the former dominant point of view is now unpopular among all but those in the most extreme end of that side of the political spectrum. Everyone knows that history is written by the victors, but few seem consider that the process is not pleasant for the other side. Still, those who join a political, cultural, or literal war must accept the potential consequences of losing in exchange for the chance to share in the benefits of winning.

Or to put it differently, sure: let’s debate this until we’re all blue in the face, but from the least restrictive position. That is to say, let’s allow same-sex marriage and then debate why it should not be allowed. If this is about changing minds, those who believe that same-sex marriage is ungodly and immoral will have all the time in the world to change the minds of married same-sex couples and everyone else.

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