Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

RNC statements prove GOP stance on same-sex marriage outdated, out of touch

Last week’s Republican National Convention accomplished two things for conservatives: it allowed them to throw a pep rally for the long-presumptive nominee Mitt Romney, and more importantly, served as a grand unveiling of the official party platform. Since the platform can be easily lost in the shuffle for voters, I want to focus here on one key issue addressed by the platform: same-sex marriage.

“Preserving and Protecting Traditional Marriage” is the very first issue addressed in the document “Renewing American Values” and it is important to evaluate each of the claims made here so voters understand how the Republican leadership views same-sex marriage. Let us go through the key tenets piece by piece.

“The institution of marriage is the foundation of civil society.”

With this introduction, the party rightfully acknowledges that marriage in our society represents the highest public recognition of personal integrity. By denying it to same-sex couples, I would argue we are committing the most public affront possible to their social equality.

“It has been proven by both experience and endless social science studies that traditional marriage is best for children.”

On the contrary, most credible social science studies have shown this to be a complete fallacy. This year, the California Perry v. Brown case held that banning same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. A large foundation for that ruling was the amicus brief presented to the court by the American Psychological Association, which stated: “There is no scientific basis concluding that gay and lesbian parents are any less fit or capable than heterosexual parents, or that their children are any less psychologically healthy and well adjusted.” That statement leaves very little open to interpretation. The APA’s claims are supported by both common sense and similar sentiments expressed in “endless” other social studies. But why would the Republicans let the facts get in the way of their agenda?

“The future of marriage affects freedom.”

I’m not even going to touch this one. What better way to preserve freedom than stripping the legal marital rights of millions of American citizens?

“The lack of family formation not only leads to more government costs, but also to more government control over the lives of its citizens.”

This seems to be a weakly supported economic assumption at best and a thinly veiled homophobic assault at worst. By “family formation,” I assume they’re talking about procreation. Unfortunately for their logic, procreation has ceased to provide the basis for marriage in the Western world for decades now, even though the bible-thumpers maintain otherwise. What about straight couples who are either infertile or choose, for whatever reason, that they don’t want kids? Should they be allowed to marry?

It’s also ironic to me that Republicans are seeking to encourage “family formation” (which includes adoption) by forbidding roughly 4 percent of the national population to legally start families. I agree that more government control over the lives of citizens is a dangerous thing. Why then should we concede to government the power to publicly deny the very private love that same-sex couples share?

“We embrace the principle that all Americans should be treated with respect and dignity.”

This inevitably inconclusive blanket statement essentially tries to distract you from the fact that everything they just said flies in the face of morality, the Constitution and common sense. The Republicans claim they defend “traditional” marriage. In this context, “tradition” is a euphemism for self-serving bigotry. “Separate but equal” schools were “traditional.” The woman’s domestic sphere was “traditional.” Sometimes, things aren’t ethically or legally legitimate just because we have been in the habit of doing them for years.

It is time to recognize marriage not as a theological entity, but a secular, civil and legal contract that bestows emotional, financial and psychological benefits on the parties involved. When viewed in this light, heterosexuals and homosexuals do not differ.

I’m currently a registered Republican, but the extreme right-wingers in the party are doing their best to alienate me and everyone else who isn’t an evangelical “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” ideologue. It’s disappointing, illogical and bad politics. The developing conscience of American public opinion is turning forcefully in favor of same-sex marriage, and modern Republicans risk being likened by history to the tragically segregationist Dixiecrats in waging this battle.

Henry Downes is a sophomore majoring in economics. His column runs on Tuesdays.

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