Smell That? It’s the Red Herring of ‘Marriage Equality’

March 28, 2013 § Leave a comment


Does something smell fishy about the Human Rights Campaign‘s “Stand For Marriage”? You may be detecting the foul malodor of the red herring. In the arena of rational discourse, a red herring is something that draws attention away from the central issue. The term comes from the practice of using fish to lay a false trail while training hunting dogs. A red herring is a diversion or distraction from the real issue.  And it’s a favored recourse for those standing on a weak argument.

imagesHRC’s recent logo memes voicing support for gay marriage carry on the familiar equal sign theme in an attempt to portray a movement toward equality and freedom. But is this really about “freedom for all“? For “equal rights for all people“? For “diversity of all kinds“? The Human Rights Campaign mission is more specific: “Working for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equal rights.” But this goal is still exclusive and narrow. Even GLBTIQ leaves out 20 other letters.

Don’t be fooled by the red herring. Highjacking the civil rights banner because it worked to solve the legitimate problem of racial segregation 50 years ago, gay marriage is not about universal freedom or marriage equality or the American way. We are already equally free to marry any non-relative of the opposite sex we choose, and merely holding to the established, globally-affirmed, humanity-dependent, definition for marriage cannot possibly be hateful or bigoted. Gay marriage isn’t about that either. It’s about exchanging marriage for some other discriminative thing, something that does the opposite of marriage, something that prohibits human flourishing, weakens the family, endangers the normal development of children, and runs counter to the Creator’s design. And it stinks.

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