That's particularly important in that before a large audience, Stewart showed us how it should be done. We who favor and demand equality can get excited, emotional, angry challenging those who want to prevent or remove rights from homosexual couples. Instead, Stewart gently, but steadily, poured acid on the thin surface before him.
Huckabee is the dangerous sort of anti-gay/anti-equality spokesman. His sangfroid and joviality combine into a semblance of reason and compassion. He will speak the nastiest ideas while looking pleasant and speaking calmly, as though his rants were reasonable in their modulation.
Consider some of their exchange as below. This is the heart of it, but do click over to the whole segment, which is under eight minutes.
Huckabee: Even anatomically, the only way we can create the next generation is through a male-female relationship. For 5,000 of recorded human history, that's what marriage has meant.
Stewart: (He noted that Huckabee's time-line went to the Old Testament), where polygamy was the norm, not a heterosexual relationship between two couples (sic; I'm sure he meant people) who choose each other. Marriage has evolved greatly over those 5,000 years from a property arrangement, polygamy. We've redefined it constantly.
(He added that it was only when courts and laws intervened that interracial marriage was legalized here). It strikes me as very convenient to go back to the Bible and say, "Hey, man, we got to look at the way they define marriage."
Huckabee: If we change the definition, we really have to change it to accommodate all lifestyles. There's a difference between the equality of each individual and the equality of what we do, and the sameness of what we do. Marriage is under our law a privilege, not an absolute, divine right.
There's a big difference between a person being black and a person practicing a lifestyle and engaging in a marital relationship...
Stewart: I think the difference is what you believe gay people are and what I do...I'll tell you this, religion is far more of a choice than homosexuality...and talk about a lifestyle choice, that is absolutely a choice. Gay people don't choose to be gay.
I think it's an absolute travesty that people have forced someone who is gay to have to make their case that they deserve the same basic rights as someone else.
You keep talking about, geez, it would be redefining a word and it seems like semantics is cold comfort when it comes to humanity. And especially someone such as yourself who is, I think, an empathetic person.
Huckabee: Words do matter, definitions matter, and I think we have to be very thoughtful before we're going to under an entire social structure. Let's face it, the basic purpose of a marriage is not just to create the next generation but it's to train our replacements and it is in the context of 23 male and 23 female chromosomes coming together at the point of conception to create the next human life.
Stewart did not get into the common fallacies Huckabee iterated, except to point out that over the now clichéd and very false "5,000 years" society has altered the definition and limits of marriage constantly. He also noted that polygamy was the Biblical norm and that marriage was not a sacrament even as an option until 700 or so years ago.
Nor did he get into the silliness about procreation as the basis for sexual and emotional relationships. Precluding the unable and unwilling from marriage would eliminate most straight couples from consideration. In addition, Stewart didn't deal with adoption, medically aided pregnancies and such for either straight or gay couples.
However, in the end, he got to what I call genitalia-based theology. Stewart noted that Huckabee's talk was about sexuality, not theology. Bishops and bigots alike do the parts-fit-together jive to the entertainment and reinforcement of their believers. We who speak out for marriage equality see and hear such nonsense regularly.
Stewart's approach is a good one for us to take to heart and mind. The Huckabees are irrational about this. They use very simple-minded and illogical arguments in the main. Instead of flinging facts back into their emotion, we should keep our focus on key points such as:
- Marriage is not immutable and has constantly evolved for millennia.
- Religion is a lifestyle choice, while sexual orientation almost never is.
- Denying gay couples marriage protects nothing and no one.
- Marriage as an institution has been troubled for many decades. Encouraging loving couples to wed makes sense as well as being humane.
Tags: massmarrier, Jon Stewart, marriage equality, Huckabee, Daily Show